Branding is a huge buzzword in Hollywood. Haven’t you heard? It is a must for any actor or actress but it can be a difficult thing to grasp. Your brand must be succinct, relatable and easily digestible but you also have to stand out from everyone else with the same brand in order to be selected as the person for the job. I have learned recently that it is a blessing and a curse to be a cute, 20 something brunette that everyone wants to take home to meet their mom. How do I stand out from the crowd with a brand that is so clichéd, so castable, yet so common in this industry?
I was discussing this dilemma with a dear friend and I said as a joke, “I wish I could tattoo ‘I work really really hard’ on my forehead, but that isn’t a brand.” Or is it? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that “I work hard” isn’t a brand but it IS a key part of my personality, and all the things I do to show my work ethic ARE an integral part of my brand. To be honest, a strong work ethic should be a part of all actors’ daily lives but as a type-A, organized, super nice gal, these aspects of my brand actually help define me. Maybe some of these aspects of my brand could be integrated into your brand too!
- I always show up on time to all auditions and meetings
– To me, showing up on time is a sign of respect. Whether it is a friend, client, agent, or casting director, I think first impressions are hugely important and showing up on time illustrates that you respect them taking the time to meet you.
- I always write hand written thank you notes
– My grandma is a real old-fashioned lady. She is actually amazing at her ipad and computers, but she instilled in me the importance of hand written notes, setting a table properly, and using correct grammar (I think I failed on that front). Writing thank you notes is a dying art but I still think it is special to send someone a note through snail mail to show that you took the time to choose a card, write it out, address it, etc. Of course, this is part of my brand! If I was a techy chick out of “Halt and Catch Fire” then writing flowery hand written notes wouldn’t really fit, so remember to ask yourself, “Is this apart of my brand?”
- I smile at random people on the street
– When I was a kid I dreamed of living in a town like Stars Hollow (“Gilmore Girls”) where everyone is friendly and knows each other. Today, living in great ‘ol LA, I try to keep my dream alive by smiling at random people in the street. It is always fun to see who smiles back and gives me a jolt of energy to think that I brought a little bit of happiness to someone else’ day. Try it!
- I love bringing cookies or other goodies to set
– Disclaimer: I obviously don’t do this when I am headed to a big network set, but on small sets or films with people I know, I love making cookies the night before and bringing them to set. It is just an outward expression of the fact that I am happy to be there and excited to work with the people around me!
- At social gatherings I make an effort to meet 3 new people before I leave
– This is something I have trained myself in. I am actually a very introverted person but I have learned that I meet amazing people when I put myself out there, so I try to strike up random conversations with others at the party. Again, very much apart of my brand as a chipper, friendly, girl-next door.
Those five things above seem like a random way to express my work ethic, but they all fit with my brand as a cute girl-next door, and will help me stand out from the crowd in the long run. Even though I won’t get a tattoo that says “I work hard,” I am able to show this aspect of my brand in my daily activities and the fact that I keep showing up in my own way: in this town, for this career that I love. My brand is no longer separated from who I am, it is just a part of me.
As you continue your path in 2016, what aspects of yourself are a part of your brand? Are there things you could do to more clearly showcase your strengths? Whatever your brand, embrace it, develop it, and integrate it into your daily life until you no longer need to tattoo it on your head, because it just becomes a part of you!