An Introduction to Navigating Your Creator Brand
By Taylor Vogt
There are a couple of essentials to becoming a creator with a brand. You are your brand, as far as the consumer and investor communities are concerned, and you have to own that brand from the outset of your project into times of stability as your solidify your product in the marketplace. From the moment you announce your product you have to keep in mind that your audience is constantly judging you based on the actions that you take and determining in real time whether they will support your product or project, or not. There are three basics for you to take your idea or project which allows you to go from passion project to an income-based business or initiative. You have to know; your product, your audience andyour expectations for your product.
The first aspect of your brand, and arguably the most important, is whatever your product is. Your product if what you’re trying to sell, whether it’s a (web)comic, animation, video game or live action series. You are bound by the actions you take in creating it, once it is released. You want to avoid going back and changing anything about the core foundation of your product after you release it, so as you won’t confuse those who are supporting your work. No matter what your product is you need to believe in it. If you don’t and you go into marketing and promotion for it without your heart in it you are far more likely to fail.
Love your product and you will fight all the harder to make it a reality. Research every aspect of your product so that you’ll be able to tell people exactly what they need to hear to invest their own money into your efforts. A wise idea would be to research your competition before you finalize your product. Know them almost as well as you know your product. Learn from their mistakes and figure out ways to improve on your product. You are entering the marketplace, and do not fool yourself in thinking you will not have that competition looking for ways to usurp your efforts.
Once you know what your product is, understanding your audience comes next. The starving artist of yesteryear could have used a lot of the resources we have available to us today. Different mediums for finding an audience are best for different projects. Twitter is great for video game developers. Tumblr is great for webcomic artists. Instagram and Youtube are great for showing your progress on an animation. Facebook is a good foundation for collecting your most loyal followers in a page or group, facilitating lasting discussion.
Discord is great for communicating with potential allies and fans in real time, but you have to mind the rules of the chat. Facebook groups for the industry you’re involved are a great way to build your social network, and you can then point people in the direction of your work once they’re friends. Facebook is very finnicky though, especially for brands as opposed to the individual. Twitter can help you create a presence online, gain followers for your brand who will help promote you, and create an opportunity to communicate directly with your audience. Social media is great, but in person networking should not be overlooked.
The issue is that not every geek professional community is like New York or California, where there is a legitimate season for conventions where you can go and make allies and fans in person. This is written under the pretense you do not have a lot of expendable resources, so focus on creating an online audience before you worry about your physical presence at conventions.
Finally, you have to look to the future and anticipate where you want your brand to do. This really comes down to what you really want out of your product. This is a very individual level aspect to building the brand. There is no cookie cutter model through which you can neatly slide into and find your niche. The spectrum is broad, from people who create products for the public domain to those who see themselves turning their product into a company to grow. What is certain is that you should have a personal understanding of where you want to go with your product at the outset, even if it’s a rough idea of what you would like. When you’re reading a map there is always a beginning and ending point, and you need to traverse the wilderness of the marketplace to get to whatever end point you desire.