Personal Branding: how would you describe your Ideal You

  • Pro SVS OG

    My morning random „internet black-hole“ today brought me to a page discussing personal branding - a topic that is getting more and more interesting for me as I plan a major makeover of my social media strategy.
    I find myself struggling with the concept while recognizing its value....
    The article mentioned that the core of a personal brand - the one thing that needs to be sorted out before everything else - is an anchor statement. This is one sentence that describes what you want your career/business to be about. It communicates what „ideal-you“ wants to be seen as. It should be partly aspirational, but also reflect how you wish to be perceived right now.

    This is really hard to do for me....I’m going to think about it for a few days and see if anything comes out that feels right.
    But meanwhile I can ask other artists:

    What would be your anchor statement? How would you use it to shape the way you market yourself?

  • Hi @smceccarelli

    I think think that is a great thing to think about and important as well.

    For me, It's about creating inspirational images/stories that show why the world is beautiful (but also cruel at times), re-connecting the world to nature, dealing with values in life and creating stuff that will generate emotions like love, nostalgia, appreciation etc..

    So that's it... I am very very very far from that. Partially because I need to affirm myself in this sort of thinking as well - My whole teen years were all about the exact opposite. But I look at it as long life pursuit so there's time (at least some :D)

    I am very interested in what everybody else here has as their anchor statement (if you have and if not I am very much encouraging you to think about it!! 🙂 )

  • SVS OG

    I like how you are always on the frontiers of learning! I don't know yet what my statement would be, but I'll take a stab at it for the sake of my own growth: I am trying to convey the beauty of life, both its enthusiasm and its poignance, through specificity.

    Although I'm not yet as successful as I'd like to be in conveying this, one thing I've noticed about myself is that I have never drawn generic children, even when I was very young. They always have a story and my goal (however distant) is to be able to convey that story effectively down to the last, unexpected detail. This is part of what interests me in book illustration.

    Gee, I just this minute realized how well this fits with my Instagram tagline: "American in Italy. Observer of the differences. Illustrator."

    Is that even the kind of thing you are looking for? Sorry that you're not getting a professional answer from me, but maybe someone else will have one.

  • Pro

    That's a hard one! I will have to think about this for a few days as well... But for right now, the first thing that pops through my mind is something like: I am creating cute and colorful illustrations to entertain children and their parents through children's books and children decor.
    I am a little jealous of @Jonas-Zavacky and @LauraA 's deep and thoughtful answers about the beauty and cruelty of life, but if I'm to be honest and true to myself I have never really aimed for that kind of complexity myself, subconsciously or consciously. What I am doing and aim to do in the future is really just fun, colorful, light, cute, amusing 🙂

  • SVS OG

    In a roundabout way, you’re reminding me of a book I recently listened to, “Find Your Why,” companion to Simon Sineks “Start With Why.” You might have watched his Ted talk where he repeats periodically, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy Why you do it.”

    So after listening to that book I was trying to think of my Why, and it I’m still refining it. What I have so far is, “to help others see the world in new and different ways, so they can understand themselves and each other more deeply.” I feel that applies to the kind of stories and concepts I like to illustrate, as well as to my goal of teaching drawing, and even to my role as a mom.

    Not exactly what you were asking, but maybe a little bit related? 😊

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  • Moderator

    I, also, have been struggling with the concept of branding. I’m not exactly positive what people want when they say “what is your brand?” I know who I am and I know what I want to do, so I think, Is that branding? I see people on social media talking about their “brands” or “finding their brands” and it’s like this invisible thing that I worry I may be too shallow to see. I like to make people feel. Smile, laugh, empathize. If I can do that with my art then I feel successful.

    I have begun a new “art path” this year with my dream of being an illustrator for children so I would like to add that if I can get a child to think, behave, react a certain way about their immediate universe then that also would be a success.
    How do you put a label on that? And is branding even a label? Or is it more a mission statement?
    Is it a verbal image of who you are or who you want to be? It makes me mentally claustrophobic, thinking about it.

    On a scale of one to crazy, I am a penguin. 😜

    I will be following this thread for insight. Please turn a light on. 😳

  • SVS OG

    I have noticed this a lot lately and I think the tighter the brand is the better for you. Because they no exactly who you are. Personally I am branding myself now on youtube as a "Landscape wet on wet painter."

    Not easy to box yourself in but it will come across as a speciality I think. 🙂

  • I love these answers from everyone! I tend to lean more towards a simple, direct statement. Admittedly, I struggled a lot to come up with a suitable anchor statement. The problem is that I love comic books, so my art is somewhat influenced by this type of art; however, as an illustrator who does lots of family portraits, I haven't yet been able to successfully incorporate this style into my work (outside of the occasional fanart drawing).

    With that being said, I think my anchor statement needs to reflect the type of work I want to pursue (children's illustrations) and the type of work I am commissioned for (fun, light-hearted family portraits). I guess my anchor statement would be, "I create light-hearted illustrations that bring joy to families. "

    Still not entirely happy with my anchor statement, and I believe it's because I'm still developing and finding my path. However, it feels good to think about this topic and to find something more specific to strive towards.

  • Pro SVS OG

    Such awesome replies!! Still struggling myself.
    Yesterday my son opened Floca`s „Moonshot“ for the first time, landed on the page with the Saturn V takeoff and said „Wow!“. And I thought, that´s it: my work is about kids opening a book and saying „Wow!“.
    Yet, that doesn’t fully describe what I want my career to be about, because I’m interested in so many other things and I want to work in other aspects of illustration too...but it´s a lot better of how I previously introduced myself, which was something like „I used to be a scientist but now I work in Children’s illustration..oh, and I also art-direct editorial illustration for a big corp...“

    The article that started this discussion stated that you can be as multifaceted as you want, but the face you present to the social media world (for self-promotion) should be just one: choose the one and stick to it. That´s what so difficult for me, I believe. I’m not sure which one is the „one“ I want to promote...

  • SVS OG

    @smceccarelli you could aim for character design then your still kinda open.

  • SVS OG

    I'm an amateur and have the luxury of not having to come up with a brand but the question still feels relevant because I still ask myself, "Why am I spending so much time and money on this? And why post stuff if I'm just doing it for the personal fun of creating?" The best I've come up with so far is that I want to capture the beauty and joy of the world that I experience in order to share that with others. (My efforts at watercolor and landscape painting are more on the beauty side and the children's illustration more on the joy side but the paintings that I've done that I like the most manage to capture both in the same painting.)

    As I said, that's more of a philosophical statement than a branding statement that can quickly summarize one's work for people who might employ you, but even as an amateur, I would like to get beyond the "Hey, I can draw a person who looks human" stage and get to the "I'm painting this to communicate this idea/view/feeling," stage and I think moving to that stage requires knowing one's brand, so to speak.

  • SVS OG

    @jason-bowen An example of successfully boxing yourself in:

    I have a friend who started their own graphic design company, and later refined it so they market themselves as a branding company for craft brewers - beer logos, labels, packaging, etc. They are seen as niche but get a lot of business within that niche because they are seen as specialized!

  • @smceccarelli said in Personal Branding: how would you describe your Ideal You:

    That´s what so difficult for me, I believe. I’m not sure which one is the „one“ I want to promote...

    I feel your pain! I feel a little like a doctor being forced to pick a specialty (yes, but do I really LOVE the ear/nose/throat enough to work with it the rest of my life?).

    I'm gonna have to think about this and come up with a statement of my own. Maybe it'll help me make the leap in a certain direction 🙂

  • SVS Team SVS OG

    I have always said "Creativity is my Passion" and with that I do anything I want as long as its creative 🙂

  • SVS OG

    @carriecopa haha thats great. You tell yourself you should be open to other things within art but I think that should be an under thought if the option comes up... maybe? haha

  • Thanks, Simona, Your question has given me a lot to think about and also to realize what a poor job I have been doing at communicating who I am and why I am asking someone to spend time to look at my work. But after thinking about this for a while, it seems logical to me that my personal branding must also include those qualities that will appeal to the person or persons willing to trade their cash for my product/services. In my case, that is an agent or art director who has found my work somehow and has paused to take a look. I would think my “anchor statement” doesn’t need to just include the type of illustrations I do or want to do. My portfolio has gotten their attention. I need to provide the information that is music to their ears. What would I like for an art director to tell another art director about his or her experience with me? Seems to me those things should be in my anchor statement. Maybe something like dependable, able to meet deadlines, mature, easy to work with, accomplished, and maybe something like “the most patient and understanding dude I ever worked with.” An example? “An accomplished illustrator that communicates well, who understands you are in charge, but one who is not timid in expressing ideas, an illustrator who will give you more than you expected.” Just thinking out loud.

  • I want to bring a smile to those that look at my illustrations. The real world is such a heavy place, and anything to bring a little joy is what I want to put out to others. I like to illustrate things from life but with a fun/humorous/sweet twist.

    My statement would be something like: "Illustrations that lighten reality."

  • hehe, something I can help with.

    Firstly, we all know personal branding is important (so we've been told)...but why?

    Before you start to reach out to people and tell them why you are worth hiring/buying from, you need to be clear who you are:

    • What makes you and your work unique?
    • What value do you bring to the world?
    • Why should the right people care?

    This message should be clear, and it needs to be consistent. Whether its

    • On your website
    • Within your social accounts
    • Any books and prints you make
    • Any conventions you attend
    • Any interviews you give
    • When you reach out to people

    When coming up with your personal brand you want to be able to make it as easy as possible for the rest of the world to spread your work. For your work to spread, your personal brand needs to be Remarkable. That is people need to be able to remark on your work/brand. IE. 'Worth telling others about.'

    A personal brand is designed to make it as easy as possible for other people to describe what you do. People are going to talk about what you do anyway, however, if you aren't clear in your message, they will get it wrong, half right, or wont get it at all.

    If you aren't clear on what you do and what makes you unique, how do you expect others to?

    So in short, the way you should think of a personal brand is:

    • What people say about you and your work when you are not around
    • What people can expect from your professionally
    • What people come to know you for.

    The reason people say "create an anchor statement" is one sentence is easier to remember (and share) than a whole convoluted story.

    So how do you come up with all this. Here are some things you should ask yourself:

    • What is your background? List unique professional talents, insights, defining moments in your life, what you respect in others, unique perspectives you have, expertise, what people come to you for advice about.

    • What are your values? List core values, what you are passionate about, beliefs, loves, hates, character traits that are important to you, what you stand for

    • What is your body of work? List what you have already created, what you are proud of, what you have learnt, stories/messages you want to tell, themes/genres etc that show up, what do fans know that are going to get, what fans will never find, unique attributes, why they should seek you out over others

    • What is your legacy? List what people can be sure of when they hire you, why you want to be known for, your impact on audiences, unique value, where you want to be in five years.

    Go through all these and write and go into as much detail as possible. Start to look for patterns and repititions in what you write. List down the patterns and repetitions. What are the themes of the repititions and patterns. What is consistent throughout what you have written?

    Hone all this down till you have a small group of words and phrases that sum you up. Bring it all together to create a susinct sentence that you want other people to use to describe your and your work.

    How does it feel to you? Does it feel right? If you think there is something missing, then go back and fine tune things. Once you are happy with it (or if you are a perfectionist - 90% happy with it) then you are done. You have your "anchor statement". Your personal brand in a nutshell 🙂

  • I wonder if at first it's like finding your style - first you just do the thing and post and then go back and reflect on your posts to see what's coming forward naturally - and then work to punch those small things forward.
    But a lot of you here are tried and true illustrators, so it's a different game for you :p or is it? It sounds like a nice wine night to go and sift through old work and posts to see what personality is coming out and to try and verbalized it - or a fun art friend day where you both examine each other's work and talk about the themes you see - man, art friends are the best - looking at you @burvantill 😉
    I would LOVE to hear @Will-Terry @Lee-White @davidhohn and @Jake-Parker 's "elevator pitches."

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