Our apologies for the delay, but welcome autumn! Our game plan for the month of September was to at least have four blogs published for your enjoyment, so naturally it's the end of the month and this is only the second. We have achieved some other cool goals though! We are speaking to REAL people about projects and our social platforms are receiving more views. We didn't hit the "nail on the head" with everything, but it's a whole-lot better to be working productively with new clients and networking with others, than to have none of the above.
A Common Creative Dilemma.
Once we published our first blog post, I turned to social media to join groups and forums. After a long sharing and re-sharing parade, and 20+ posts of blog-related content popping up on my feed, something else (thank the Gods) caught my eye. From a page I've been following for years, one of my favorite cosplay fashion designers turned to her fans for some help.
To clarify, I'm that weird Facebook lurker and "like" pretty much anything I find attractive or looking for a follow-up. For some reason I felt the urge to give my two-cents. So, I supplied merge personal and business brands. (Ironically, I saw a friend of mine who posted and said the complete opposite!)
The following morning, I "woke-up" to this notification.
Once I read this, I made the quick decision to offer my services (even though she is located outside of the States) and went forth in a private message.
In short, I told her a little about myself and backed up my argument for merging, especially for creatives. Additionally, I responded to another fan's comment that voted she should keep her brands separate due to the increase in political commentary, that if she made public for personal agendas it could possibly be the end of her reputation.
Short while later, she responded back to me and thanked me for reaching out and expressing myself. She talked about the struggle of running a business, managing social platforms (and the guilt of not sharing as much), and how she likes to "keep it clean." To wrap up the conversation, I pointed her in the direction of other creative accounts on Instagram and how they incorporate their personal and professional brands.
A few days later, a fellow blogger shared her concern with keeping her life personal and branching out to other platforms so she wouldn't be as quickly recognized.
How do you even make such a complex decision?
Down to Business.
To start, what's a brand? Well, that's a common definition to know...right? But once that's defined, what's the difference between a personal brand and a business brand? Let's clarify these three definitions first:
2) Business Brand
- How the company perceives itself, like a personality.
- For example, popular Florida theme parks target families; a sneaker corporation caters to athletes; and so on.
- This can also be considered, in my personal opinion, a "brand image."
3) Personal Brand
- "the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands."
- According to Wikipedia, "[p]ersonal branding is essentially the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mid of others about an individual, group, or organization."
- John Rampton also has a fantastic guideline when it comes to personal branding.
Using 35mm. as an example.
We're creative. We love movies and are big DIY-ers. We're trying to build an inventory of contacts and forge relationships. Increase our portfolios and experiment. We have both had a lot of heartbreak and worrisome moments this past year and we're trying to move into a positive direction.
35mm. is a newly dedicated category of our lives now.
Taking the spotlight off us, go check out some Etsy stores. No really, go look. When you visit a store, what does the shop look like? Do they have a decent description? Understandable policy guidelines? An owner's biography? How are their sales and review rates? If you go to a mom-and-pop store on the corner of a Main Street, it's most likely guaranteed they know the locals in the neighborhood. Aside from a brick-and-mortar location versus on online e-commerce shop, there's not a whole ton-a opposites when you don't break down the technical details.
It's all in the branding.
Why it's important to fix your life.
A friend of mine and the founder of The Geek Initiative is pretty much THE example who I know formally to merge her professional and personal brands. Tara makes a lot of terrific points about brand overlapping, finding a middle ground, and enjoying the ride!
The main differences between Tara and I when it comes to our branding styles and experience levels is that she has many, many contacts and I don't. She's been working for over ten years, while I graduated a few months ago. She's very open and willing to share opinions on a variety of matters and I'm not. All of these things are perfectly fine! That's what makes you you.
Over the past few years, I've watched Tara change merge her brands over time. When I met her, I didn't really have a "personal" brand. I always was able to get a job and I am persuasive, but at the time, I didn't have a reel, a portfolio, or any idea how I wanted to present myself other than I was a good worker that produced quality work.
My time at The Geek Initiative accidentally gave me the "voice" with my online presence, which cascaded into my real-world persona. One of the biggest mistakes I made when I was in grad school (and completing my Bachelors) was that I didn't take any time to develop or even think about how I wanted to really present myself. I look back and I see myself as "all talk" and no true direction. The only truths I knew at that point was I wanted to have my own style and not be boring (honestly, my worst fear), network, and do something creative.
When you apply for a job, you have a resume and a cover letter. So does everyone else. What's better than yours over the person who may actually get the job? Did they reflect their style into their resume with colors, a photo, and an interesting layout or did they go more minimal than you?
Not to pick on you, but you already have a personal brand when you present yourself for a job and when you meet your neighbor for the first time. When I look at personal and professional branding for entrepreneurs, large companies, and politicians, I don't see black or white.
Take Marcus Lemonis' brand for a moment. A highly successful entrepreneur and investor with his own show called The Profit. He promotes healthy lifestyles, community engagement, and charities through all the companies. Now look at Lady Gaga, a fashionista pop-singer who mimics her wardrobe after the music she produces when a new album is released.
To side bar (with a point), a commonality trait for those working in Hollywood are not afraid to voice the causes they admire and more than ever recently, politics. I think that's a great big turn-off because there is going to be a loss of brand loyalty (hypothetically, to you) and essentially loss of revenue. Plus, if your products and services have nothing to do with certain topics, why are you really taking the time to hurt yourself? More recently, Marcus received a lot of backlash from his fans before "Marijuana Millions" aired and addressed the issue on social everyday. It was a big risk, but well worth taking in the end.
My goal is not to push you into a direction of you need to merge your brands, but some food-for-thought from both ends of the argument. Now take a moment and ask yourself, who are you?
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