When scrolling through social media it is easy to become jaded and suspicious; was that photo edited? Are they really enjoying that sponsored drink? Are those people even friends? In an age of digital manipulation, honesty can be hard to find. If you are committed to authenticity in your branding then be prepared to look at your content through a different lense.
What is Branding?
Acting is a business and you are your product. Just like any other product, you need to be aware of how you come across and how to market yourself in the industry. Your ‘brand’ is your unique identity and how it appears in the world. For example Coca-Cola is a brand of cola, as is Pepsi. They have different logos, marketing materials, flavours and brand identity. There are different associations and you probably have different feelings depending on your brand loyalty.
Just as there are different brands of cola, there are many different brands of actor. Your job is to create a unique brand based upon you. Tom Hanks is his own brand, you could associate various words with his name and it creates an image and a reaction in your mind. You are not Tom Hanks and never will be, so there is no point trying to emulate his brand. Likewise Beyonce is so iconic she doesn’t even need to use her full name to be recognised.
Creating your brand is about distilling your identity into its most unique and impactful elements. Many people might have studied at the same school as you, or sat the same exams – but can they all ride a unicycle? Do they have your nose? Have they got your family history? Probably not. The key to branding authentically is to ensure that whatever you decide your brand is, it is truthful to your identity.
Some elements of your brand may be predetermined, the rest needs to be a distilled version of what you consider to be the most important, distinct elements of your personality. Pick three to five words or phrases that you feel best summarize who you are (considering all we have stated regarding authenticity).
These might be:
It could literally be anything that you feel connects to who you are as an actor and as a person. You want to stand out from a crowd, and remain true to who you are.
Once you have decided on your brand, consider curating your content and marketing materials. Do your headshots reflect you? What about your showreel? Social media feeds? You are the author of your own authenticity and cohesion is important. If you have been honest with yourself about the elements you have chosen to identify you, then remaining authentic should not be a chore.
Before you post or create content for yourself, consider the following:
- Is this true to my brand identity?
- Is this something I want others to associate with me?
- Is this something that I feel proud of and would stand by?
- Is this an honest reflection of me?
If you can answer yes to the above, then it is a good sign that what you are creating can be considered both authentic and on brand.
This holds true beyond your social media or marketing materials – it extends into the audition room or virtual meeting as well. You can ask the same questions about:
- Your appearance (clothes, haircut etc)
- The opinions you express
- The conversations you have
Is what the Casting Directors see in the room a clear and concise impression of who you are? If it is, you are more likely to stand out and to be considered authentic.