I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Cory Sparks on the topic of branding and relationship management. He is the regional director of urban promotions at epic records, and has over 14 years of experience in media, promotions, and entertainment marketing.
During our discussion we covered things like owning your personal brand, embracing making mistakes, as well as collaborating with other creatives to further your career.
Because he dropped so many gems, I felt it would be more beneficial to discuss them in chunks, rather than overload one post. So for the next three week I will be sharing information on personal brands and ways to implement them in creative endeavors.
What/Who is a brand and why you need one.
“Your name is all you have.”
A brand has been explained to me as being a persona or identity that is either for personal use or for a business. It is a way to say who you are and what your business is about without speaking, in the form of a name, design, or symbol.
Your brand isn’t just a list of characteristics you throw around to describe yourself. It reflects from your website and your social media, to your products and interactions,whether it’s face to face on online, with others. In a much simpler way, your brand is nothing more than your reputation and how others perceive you.
An important attribute of a brand is consistency. For example, if you say your brand is to inspire and empower a group of people, then show this, don’t just slap it in your bio. Provide content like quotes, positive and relatable images, articles by known thought leaders, etc. Things like this reinforce your core values (guiding principles for how a brand acts and behaves) of your brand and helps consumers understand who you (the brand) are.
“Always keep your name out there, not to be popular,
but to generate income off your [my] name.”
Brands are important because they are ultimately the bridge that links your vision, purpose, and/or skill set with potential customers and business partners. As a creative/entrepreneur, you want to be sure that you are communicating clearly to your audiences about what you represent.
Ask yourself when it comes to your business/personal brand:
What do you represent?
What do you want to be known for?
Who are your main supporters?
Why do they like your work?
What are you actually known for?
Is your reputation reflective of your brand?
Why or why not?
The answers to these questions will indicate whether you have a strong brand or a weak brand. Once you understand this concept, you can move forward with finding ways to either strengthen your brand or to continue brand management.
We are in an age where genuine connectivity and imagery is everything. At the end of the day, we all want to be able to say that we present ourselves in the best light possible. To go to events and meetings and not have to work as hard because our brand will speak volumes before we can even say “hello”. And it all starts with that spark, the unique quality that make you, you. So make a list of all the skills you have to offer, the things that you do better than most, the things that fuel your passions, and actively reflect this in what you do.
Bri Simpson is a Creative Writer for AB+L Radio. Check out her website for more of her work.