“Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is specifically your own.” – Bruce Lee

I have always been very apprehensive about paying much attention to branding because I  thought it would limit me as a performer. Plus, I thought it was a process for farmers to know which cattle were their own. Yes, it is. But there is more and  I promise to get to the bottom of this idea of personal branding.

Many actors use personal branding to sell themselves as the typical “dad” or the “lonely housewife” or whatever stereotypical characters get used over and over in TV commercials and for parts in movies. This particular use of branding leaves me unexcited and not interested. Then there are the big mega companies and super stars like Apple and Lady Gaga who have poured millions of dollars into creating and developing their brands to reach the masses on such a huge level that I cannot even relate.

I have spent the past few weeks exploring the meaning of personal branding and how it can be used to the advantage of the independent performing artist (IPA). My question in this journey to discover better business practice is always how can the IPA use this to have a thriving career? How can personal branding play a significant role in the business of the IPA?

What I have discovered is that personal branding, if practiced in the right way, can be one of the most powerful ingredients in becoming a thriving IPA. It has become one-third of what I’m calling THE FOUNDATION. THE FOUNDATION is a set of business practices for IPAs, which includes your personal BRAND, your DREAM SCHEME and your AUDIENCE. In this post I will focus on the many ways to develop your personal BRAND.

How do others perceive you? This is really where your personal brand lives. It lives in the minds and hearts of your audience. Our personal brand is so out of our control and in our control at the same time that I am now completely in love with this crazy concept. Personal branding is so many things all at once. It’s a gut feeling that people get when they see your image. It’s a message that you send when you speak or write. It’s your signature. It’s consistency, confidence, passion and action. Branding is what makes your audience loyal. 

Your personal brand can be your mission or your promise. YOUR PROMISE!

There is no better example of promise in a brand than this guy…

The Count 

Count Von Count, better known as The Count! Yes, he’s a Sesame Street puppet. Just think about it, The Count always has a clear and consistent MISSION of educating children. Specifically, teaching children the basic principles of math. Counting!! His PROMISE is to count whatever is around him. He never lets us down does he? He’s funny and often sings clever songs. He has PURPOSE, passion and he always takes action no matter what the cost. Remember that episode when he wouldn’t let Ernie answer the phone because he had to count the rings? Now that was PASSION! We know this guy. He owns counting. We can’t wait to see how he’s going to do it next and we buy into it every time. Okay, maybe it’s just me.

Your personal brand is NOT your logo, your name, your website or your product. Your personal brand is how you use all of those tools to consistently and emotionally connect with your audience. Your  personal brand is your TRUTH. Developing your personal brand plays a huge role in the business of being a thriving IPA. Your personal brand will inform how you create, communicate and trade your talent in the world. The bottom line is that when branding is done well and reflects your own unique set of values it confirms your credibility. Credibility leads to possibility. Possibility leads to your wildest dreams.

With a better understanding of what personal branding can be, I now feel that I can identify the things that I think are missing in the world and develop my personal brand to fill that empty space. Personal branding can actually help me be the change that I want to see. This is a true game-changer for me. This idea gives me creative energy. I hope it does the same for you.

START NOW.  An excellent way to begin developing your personal brand is to get a clear understanding of why you are doing what you do as an artist. Your why can be your personal brand and it is what will attract your audience to your work. Start with your WHY. What is your why?

Below is a list of additional questions that you can choose from to start exploring and identifying your personal brand. You do not need to answer every question. Pick out one or two that spark your creativity and that inspire you to start writing.   

What is your story? Is there a certain way that you want to live your life, create your art or speak your truth? What is your truth? How do you want your audience to see you? How do you want to change the world? What are you really passionate about? Are there world or community issues that you want to solve?  What are your solutions? Do you have a message that you must share? What promise can you make to your audience?

Keep it simple. Have fun with these answers. Write them down and keep them in a safe place. They will come in handy later when I introduce the next two pillars of THE FOUNDATION, which are your DREAM SCHEME and BUILDING YOUR AUDIENCE.

Hey will you do me a favor? Either leave a comment telling me what you think about all of this stuff or SHARE this post with a friend through any of the options below or send me an email at Oh yeah you can also LIKE if you like.

The journey of education in better business practice for the IPA continues. Check out my bookstore right here Creative Entrepreneur Survival Market. There is so much knowledge to be had right in there. A good one to get this time isStart with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
by Simon Sinek.

Let’s Get To Work!


Written by Michelle Matlock - Visit Website


  1. Hi Michelle, great to check out your blog. Good stuff here. ‘What is your why?” such a critical question for all of us. And one you need to keep revisiting over and over.

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