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An Introduction into Personal Branding for South African Creatives: Part One

Updated: Jun 20, 2021

Just 10 years ago, personal branding was something reserved for celebrities, speakers, authors and other public-facing professionals who had full P.R teams behind them, but the Internet and social media have completely flipped that upside down. In our digital age, we ALL have a personal brand - whether you know it or not.

With this in mind, we’ll introduce you to the world of personal branding by sharing WHAT personal branding is and WHY it’s important. In part two of this article, we will introduce you to five things that you should consider when building your brand.

What is Personal Branding?

A great definition of personal branding comes from the 1999 book “Be your own brand” where the authors describe personal branding as “a perception or emotion, maintained by somebody other than you, that describes the total experience of having a relationship with you.”

This definition tells us that everything about you forms part of your personal brand. From the way you talk, dress and present yourself - to the visual aesthetic portrayed and messages shared on your website or social media.

When someone Googles your name or lands on your Instagram, LinkedIn or Facebook page – the impression they get of you after quickly looking at your account or search results, IS your personal brand.

Founder and CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bazos, is famously known for saying “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room” and we couldn’t agree more.

Why is Personal Branding so important?

The freelancing community is bigger than ever in South Africa, which means that you’re competing with thousands of peers who are also DJs, photographers, graffiti artists, and writers - your personal brand is what sets you apart from the competition.

For example, when shopping for toothpaste, chances are you have a specific go-to brand, even though they all do the same thing. The concept of personal branding works in the same way - you need to think of yourself and your art as a product that needs packaging.

Furthermore, with the creative industries now becoming more and more about what you stand for, your beliefs, your values and what you can offer that nobody else can. A good personal brand will help you find a way to package and portray these messages.

It also gives your audience (which includes potential clients and employers) the ability to trust you, and it can position you as an authority or thought-leader in your industry.

Now that you have a better understanding of the WHAT a personal brand is, and WHY you should care about developing your brand, keep an eye out on our social media for part two of our Introduction Into Personal Branding where we’ll give you 5 guidelines that you can follow in order to build your brand. Alternatively, you can check out Episode 2 of The Creators Guide where we cover this exact topic in depth.

The Creators Guide – South Africa’s guide to doing business in the creative industries.

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