As a creator, you are your own personal brand. This personal brand is made up of an image, which is a combination of characteristics that viewers associate with you and your channel.
Characteristics can be many and different, but the most important ones across YouTube are:
- Being funny
- Being relatable (being open with viewers about difficulties)
- Being authentic (staying genuine and natural on camera, without an over-exaggerated tone)
- Being an expert (e.g.: tutorial experts)
- Being a successful professional (e.g.: a professional sportsperson or gamer)
- Being inspirational in a lifestyle sense (someone viewers look up to in a certain way)
- Creating an idealised lifestyle image (by showing no flaws and creating a fantasy for viewers – similar to some Instagram influencers)
Now, as a simple way to test this idea, think of one of your favorite creators. Ask yourself: what characteristics do they possess from the list above? It is very likely that they will be strong in at least one of these areas.
If we take vloggers, for example, they are usually strong in either the ‘inspirational lifestyle’, ‘idealised lifestyle’ and/or the ‘authentic’ category. Why? Because different types of audiences appreciate different types of images. Some audiences (usually younger), are more easily drawn by the ‘idealised lifestyle’ type of creator. On the other hand, viewers who can see through curated personas are more interested in ‘authentic’ creators.
Each type of category is effective when practiced to a significant degree.
However, it is worth noting that by showing no flaws (idealised lifestyle), creators can meet with difficulty. This is because the perfect, idealised image is ultimately a fabricated fantasy. For this reason, creators have to walk on eggshells to not break the artificial persona they’ve created. Once the perfect image is cracked, the value of their personal brand is decreased or ruined, which is why these fantasies can get surprisingly tiring and exhausting to maintain.
Therefore, for long term sustainability in both your enjoyment being a creator, and the viewer’s loyalty to you if something doesn’t quite go to plan about your image, one of the more realistic categories is likely a better approach. Plus, the viewers benefit mentally from not comparing their lives to a fantasy, which is important for their own self-image.
Why are strong characteristics, in particular, so important?
Viewers want to know what to expect when they come to your channel and click on a video. A strong personal brand means that your content will deliver each time. This is why creators who contradict themselves and have ‘fuzzy’ or ‘diluted’ characteristics are not a place of comfort for their viewers and are usually the ones with a lower sub/view ratio.
For example, when viewers are feeling down, they may want to be lifted up by someone funny; when they are feeling isolated, they may want someone authentic. In any case, they need to be able to know which creator they can go to in order to satisfy whatever feelings they are harboring at that moment. So, if a creator has a strong and recognisable trait that suits their needs, they are more likely to be the one the viewer will watch to fill their ‘void’ at that moment.
Hence, your aim as a creator is to embrace the characteristic(s) that come naturally to you (most sustainable), and then stick to them, showcasing them in each video. Become the ‘leader’ of that characteristic in your niche. Don’t try to showcase too many characteristics at once and be diluted, else you won’t be the first choice for viewers looking for any given characteristic.
How do I identify my own characteristics?
Firstly, think about your natural inclinations. Are you naturally funny? Are you naturally someone who likes being open (authentic) on camera? If so, then go for a funny/authentic personal brand.
Do you like teaching others and being an expert? Then maybe developing that skill and working on that characteristic is a better strategy.
If you already have an audience, ask them “What three words would you use to describe me?”. Can your viewers easily list three things? The characteristics associated with you should be clear and instant. That is the sign of a strong personal brand.
Based on your main core fans’ answers, you can build your brand from those words. They are the fundamentals of what people are associating you with, so your job is to strengthen them by focusing on them in your content.
Personal Brand and Production
You have probably already considered how your personal brand needs to be reflected in things such as your choice of content and the values of any sponsors/affiliates.
However, personal brand and characteristics are also important in all other parts of the production process.
For example, at Now Creatives we provide production services, such as video editing, to creators. While providing our services, we put an emphasis on ensuring that all parts of the production process are aligned with the creator’s personal brand and show the image the creator wishes to show.
Anything that contradicts the personal brand should be removed, otherwise, the brand will be diluted and the channel won’t be such a ‘go-to’ place for the characteristic the viewers are looking for.
As a creator yourself, it may sometimes be difficult to recognize when you are contradicting the characteristics viewers associate with you – as we know from the many apology videos across YouTube! This is why getting a third party perspective, such as a production team/editors, can often help with brand consistency.
Ask yourself: practically, as a creator, how do I implement strong characteristics into my content?
To answer this question, firstly identify the characteristics you want to be known for, and ensure that you focus on reinforcing this in all of the communication with your audience. This goes for recording, titles, thumbnails, social media presence, and just about everything else.
Then, when you review your video after it is recorded, edited, and thumbnails added, do so with your desired image/characteristics in mind. Is the content you are about to publish consistent with them?
This will be a great help for building a strong personal brand.
We hope this blog post was useful!
If you’re looking for an experienced video editing team specializing in YouTube content that will save you time and learn the nuances of your editing style, then get in touch! We save an average of 18 hours per week for each of our clients, which frees up their time to make more content, grow their businesses, enjoy more leisure time and stay ahead of the curve.
Thank you for reading!
CEO of Now Creatives