If the idea of branding yourself as an actor makes you roll your eyes with disdain, it’s because either you or the people around you aren’t talking about it in the right way. 

Perhaps you think –

  • branding as an actor is limiting to your acting career.
  • you don’t want to be pigeonholed into a specific actor ‘type’.
  • you just hate the idea of being labeled.

Look, I get it. I do. You didn’t become an actor to brand yourself in a certain way.

AND…you can’t resist the times we are living in now. 

The attention span of the average individual is 8 seconds. (Incidentally, that’s one second less than a goldfish. Yeah.)

In this unbelievably fast-paced world and entertainment industry, casting directors, agents, directors, and other industry folks don’t have all the time in the world to figure out who you are.

You must communicate that quickly and efficiently, and distill your message of who you are as an actor  in 8 seconds or less.

Then they’ll remember you. If you’re hindering that process by being unclear or vague – you’re doing your entire career a disservice.

You’re confusing people who you want to build relationships with in the industry. Guess what happens then?

A Confused Mind Always Says No.

I know there are different schools of thought on branding.

Some people say:  “Don’t worry about branding yourself as an actor! Just show up and do good work as an actor and that’s how they’ll remember you.“

This is simply naive. 

My response to that is:  How are you going to get in the room in the first place?! (Hear more about that below!)

People Are Branding YOU as an Actor, Even If You’re Not Branding Yourself!

1. What Holds Actors Back From Branding?

You may not want to be categorized or labeled, however, that’s how the human brain works. 

Your brain organizes information in categories because otherwise the overload of information thrown at you on a daily basis would be way too overwhelming.

When you’re not specific, you’re making things harder than they have to be because you’re not letting others truly see you. The less specific you are, the more questions they have. 

Then, instead of focusing on you and your talent, they’re attempting to figure out where you fit or how they’d cast you, which is preventing an actual merge or true connection.

The more specific you are, the more their imaginations will launch! They’ll feel relaxed and happy because they understand you, which makes them open to new ideas and possibilities.

Being afraid to be specific and brand yourself as an actor, only makes you mediocre. 

Stop being vanilla! Embrace what truly makes you remarkable and what makes you YOU.

Actors tend to try to be all things to all people and give their power away. 

Stop that! It’s essential that you take back your power – it’s YOUR career. Don’t make the mistake of relying on other people in your life and business to give you the career you want- you have to know what you want, ask for it, and take it!

Your job as an actor is to fully understand what you’re selling to break through the noise and get in the doors you want.

The more specific you are, the better. (Want more info on How to Own Who You Are go HERE.)

2. Why is Branding for Actors Important?

You hear A LOT that you must “market yourself” as an actor. You can’t actually do that with any kind of lasting impact unless you understand the concept of branding and HOW to do it.

No one is going to do it for you.

The days of the studio system and your manager holding your hand and guiding your career have mostly gone the way of the dodo, whether you’re freshly minted in the biz, or have been hustling as an actor for the last 30 years.

Branding allows you to:

A. Take Your Power Back

You get to define your own career trajectory and stop being a people pleaser! Too often actors look to everyone else in the industry to give them the answers on who they are, what they book, and what their career should look like. All of that is up to YOU! Take back the power in your career by defining who you are, what you want and where you’re going! (Want a personalized career strategy to take your power back even more? Take this QUIZ.)

B. Create Industry Agreement

Branding will not only be powerful for you, it will be powerful for the industry. It will clarify who you are. Once people get you, there is an unspoken agreement on who you are and what you do best. They will trust you. That is the most important thing to gain from the industry – their trust and agreement.

C. Be Remembered

Branding gives you confidence. That confidence is palpable. Once you have that and the trust and agreement of the industry behind you, of course they will remember you! Branding allows the industry to REALLY see you, know you and remember you. It’s a win-win!

Branding as an actor sets expectations about the product you’re offering, in a way that’s clear, concise, and to the point. Your product development gives your audience mental shortcuts about what you deliver. 

Ultimately, when you’ve done the work to understand what your brand is, and the impact that it has, you actually get to do less. 

In fact, by that point, all you have to do is show up. It works subliminally to give people the vibe of who you are and what you do.

People begin to remember and trust you and will want to do business with you again and again. 

The skill of branding and being able to communicate who you are quickly,  creates relationships easier and faster.  We all know relationships open doors in the acting industry.

A Brand is Worth 1000 words.

Embracing your brand is the key to getting your foot in the door in the acting industry.

You’ll have a career with lasting impact in a sea of other actors who refuse to define themselves and go deep with what they have to offer and what they do best.  

To do that, you get to show the industry that you are more than your type.

Your Brand as an actor is NOT your type. (Learn more about this in the video below!)

3. Then What Really is Branding?

I’m sure you have an idea of your brand, right?

Most actors come to me with an idea of their brand and then they realize it gets to go much deeper.

Branding is NOT just the roles you can play. 

Branding is not just the roles you can play.

I can play Doctor, Lawyer, CEO and probably half of you reading this can play those roles too.

We would all be very different Doctors, Lawyers,  and CEOs. The essence would be different.

When I talk about holistic branding, or authentic branding, it’s because your Brand is YOU.

It is the identification and articulation of your unique, 3-dimensional essence. You are not one thing! 

In actuality, articulating and owning your Brand is much more about peeling off the layers of armor you hide behind, to cover yourself up from being seen, to protect yourself from living in your vulnerability.  

Isn’t that why you’re an actor?!?

To be fearless and vulnerable for those who are too afraid to do so for themselves? To hold up a mirror to society and show people it’s okay to feel and express their humanity? You do it on stage, in front of the camera…so why not give yourself permission to express your full range in your life and business as well?

Why not give yourself permission to build and craft a 3-dimensional  brand that showcases ALL of you.

Think of Branding for Actors Like an Iceberg.

When you picture an iceberg, what is it you actually see?

The tip? Correct! The teeny, tiny tip. The tip of the iceberg typically comprises less than 10% of the entire iceberg. There is SO much more of the iceberg below the water.

Think of the tip of the iceberg as your type. It’s just skimming the surface. Type is just a fraction of who you are and what you do. 

Before you do the work of branding yourself as an actor, what people initially see of you is much more limited and one-dimensional. This is why branding is so important.

Branding goes deep below the surface to bring out those qualities of you that you want others to see and when you want them to see it.

There is more to you than the façade.

Type: The Tip of the iceberg. The roles you play. The assumptions people make.

Essence: Innately who you are at your core. Your personality. The energy you carry with you wherever you go. The vibe you give off.

Point of View (POV): how you think. How you show up in the world. What makes you YOU.

Deep Themes: The stories you’re drawn to. The themes you can tell better than anyone else. The psychology of the characters you want to play.

By crafting an authentic brand based on the branding iceberg, as well as, your core values, goals, and unique strengths, you will communicate a brand that is 3-dimensional and holistic. 

I trust you can start to see now that Branding is not limiting. It’s not about playing your type or being one thing. It’s about expanding who you are and showcasing your complete energetic range.

All actors are versatile, that does not make you unique.

All actors have range, that does not make you unique.

Your job is to bring what’s underneath out of the darkness and to the surface so you can show people what you want them to know about you, and what you’d like them to see.

This goes for everything you do in your acting career.

Your Materials Must Reflect Your Actor Brand!

Defining HOW you’re packaging yourself so people get you instantaneously is a must.

You can’t package a product if you don’t know what it is!
You can’t package a product that is vague.
You can’t package a product that tries to target all markets.

This is why branding comes first.

There are a lot of tools which you use to market yourself: 

  • Headshots
  • Resumes
  • Reels
  • Clips
  • Business Cards
  • Thank you cards
  • Postcards
  • Social Media
  • Pitch emails
  • Websites
  • Bios
  • Newsletters

Your Brand must be reflected in all of your marketing tools. Think of Marketing as an extension of your Brand. 

Everything must be in alignment with who you are and what you sell. When it is? You are a breath of fresh air to the industry.

Most actors craft all their marketing tools BEFORE they know what they sell or understand their product. 

You’re wasting time and money if this has been your strategy!

Once you know your brand, all your marketing tools are much easier to build and reflect who you are. You have guidelines to follow, you KNOW what you’re crafting. (Read more about that HERE.)

If you want headshots that help you book more work, then you MUST stop playing it safe in your photos and lean into the stories you tell best!

Headshot Example Before and After of Actor Insider client

Looking for a photographer who gets branding and how to capture your essences? I highly recommend Vanie Poyey in Los Angeles!

Branding is an Experience.

Beyond your marketing materials, your language, your appearance, your web presence and your physical behavior—everything you put out into the world must represent who you are and what you do, in a way that shows alignment and authenticity. 

Whatever it is you have to offer, identify it, isolate it, and BLOW IT UP!

You must do YOU x1,000,000 to have the kind of impact to make you memorable, clear, and specific. Then, you’ll be known as the go-to solution for the folks you are targeting in this industry because of what you deliver.

You’re not here for anyone else, or to be someone’s monkey, or to be disempowered waiting in the wings for someone to give you a golden ticket to your success.

You are here for YOU. YOU, unique snowflake, YOU. There has never been and will never be another expression of you, your gifts, talents, and strengths.

The sooner you realize that, and the sooner you’re able to articulate it, the faster you’ll be able to empower yourself with clarity and confidence and leverage your strengths into your success. 

Speaking of success….let’s build your actor brand.

 4. 4 Steps to Build Your Brand as an Actor

The question I get most from actors is this – How do I get more auditions and bookings?

My answer is the same every time. Know who you are, what you want and where you want to go, and make it clear to the industry. 

That starts with building your personal brand as an actor. 

Here are 4 steps to do just that:

1. Self-Assessment 

It all starts with you. After all, it’s your career. It’s not the career of your agent, manager, directors, producers or anyone else you’ve worked with. It is yours. You get to do the work to define the acting career you want to have. 

Ask yourself:

  • What roles do you typically play?
  • What are your strengths?
  • How do you want to show up in the world?
  • How do you want to be known in the acting industry?
  • First and foremost, figure out who you are and who you want to be.

2. Branding Themes

Remember our Branding Iceberg? A lot of times actors have trouble putting the pieces of their brand together. They can only see disparity and can’t see how it can function as a 3 dimensional cohesive brand.

My solution to that is branding themes. 

Ask yourself:

  • What roles are you drawn to?
  • What types of characters speak to you the most?
  • What are the themes of the stories you tell best?
  • Branding themes are the glue that holds your brand together. It’s your through line between all genres and roles.

3. External Perception to Collect Data

You can’t deny what people see, therefore research on how others perceive you is key.

Of course, everyone has their own opinions and perceptions, this Business is subjective. If you know the commonality of how you’re perceived then you can also know how to package that.

Do your market research to gather data just like any business would. Or else you’re just trying to be all things to all people and that never works.

Doing your research and due diligence in uncovering how you’re perceived will pay off ten fold later. You can then subliminally guide people to what we want them to see.

4. Organize & Distill information

Once you collect the data, you get to organize it so you can suss out patterns.

A big thing here is to be curious and open to what people say. Don’t take things personally, it’s just information.

Staring at a bunch of adjectives that describe you or roles you can play, or adding up how many times someone said something,  is not distilling the information or making it usable and actionable to build your brand as an actor.

You get to distill it down and make sense of it to be able to use it in all your marketing tools. I’ve built a personal branding system for actors, where I teach you HOW to do this.

So….Now What?

Let’s get real for a second, perhaps you’re tired of –

  • Not getting in the rooms you want
  • Not being able to break through or land representation
  • Wishing your materials were better
  • Wondering why things aren’t clicking like you want them to be!
If you change nothing, nothing will change.

Those probably aren’t new thoughts, feelings or beliefs  for you.

Those same thoughts, feelings and beliefs will continue to be there OR you can take time to change them once and for all.

Here’s the truth…

Not having an agent or a better agent is not stopping you from having the career you want.

The industry is not stopping you from having the career you want.

Where you live is not stopping you from having the career you want.

What IS stopping you is not having a clear packaged product so people get you instantly to create more opportunities and bookings.

That’s the power of Branding.

Jodie Bentley | Is your actor branding on point?

Want to know if your current actor branding is serving you?

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