Intro to personal branding

As actors we are our own small businesses, we are in charge of our careers, their direction and inevitably their success and failure. Many people will probably disagree with that statement “The industry is luck” or “Right place, right time,” but isn’t it nicer to think that you have some control over what is happening, rather than being a bottle tossed around at the whim of the industry. I think that taking some ownership and responsibility for your career and being proactive about its direction is incredibly powerful. We have advisors, agents and mentors, but the final say is up to you. Just simply for your peace of mind, your career can live and die by your own decisions.

One of the first steps in this process is personal branding. We will go into more details on how to communicate your brand in future posts, but this is an introduction to personal branding for actors and will hopefully give you just a few things to think about with your own career.

A brand is a set of perceptions that enter peoples minds when they think of a product or service, (an initial reaction). It can stimulate positive or negative connotations depending on how well the companies branding is succeeding. The aim is for a brand to represent how the company would like to be portrayed. This is where we hope to end up.

For personal branding it can be broken down to:

  • How do you see yourself?
  • How do others see you?
  • Where are the differences?
  • How do you communicate this?

Why is it important to actors? First and foremost it help you to work out what roles you will be considered for, and work towards them. Secondly if it turns out your idea of yourself is vastly different to everyone else’s then you need to sit down and analyse why this is.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to choose a personality and stick to it, or you can’t be yourself, or that you have to be always ‘on’. It is about considering how you are seen and aiming to keep it consistent. Do your headshots match your personality? Are your favourite audition songs supporting your brand? Do casting directors see what you are aiming for? If not you either have to MAKE them change their minds, or align more closely with what they are seeing.

Consider this situation: you really want a role that is coming up for audition, a young, charming romantic lead. You believe your skills are perfect for this role. If you have managed to exude young, charming and romantic ‘leadishness’ every time you have met the director in the past whether at an audition, or at an opening night they will already have a positive feeling when you walk into the room. It is still up to you to prove your skill, but you are in a much stronger position.

Thats all for now, hope this leaves you with a little something to think about. Would love to hear any comments people might have.