Discovering My Personal Brand for 2023
During the Fall of 2022, I invested a lot of time developing my personal brand for the start of 2023. The process is very reflective, examining oneself and how one wants to be positioned online. In this article, I will share how I discovered my personal brand.
It's been a couple of years since my previous branding, and I needed more inspiration. The colour scheme was taken from my podcast EDM Weekly. It felt generic and tired while not aligning with my true aspirations or potential as a content creator. With the podcast's conclusion in October 2020, it was time to move on and evolve with who I am. This meant getting really introspective about who I am and where I want to take my career heading into 2023.
I have always had difficulty selecting titles or narrowing down three things I want to be known for. Previously, I used "DJ - Podcaster - Content Creator" as my keywords and for what I do for work. It accurately described who I was at the time, but a lot has changed. Without an electronic dance music podcast, my positioning no longer needed to pander to the dance music scene. I dropped DJ & Podcaster in retained Content Creator as it is a more general term that encompasses creating videos, recording podcasts, writing blogs etc. Content Creator is also used frequently as a search term for job recruiters and resonates better with an audience that understands the world of content creation. I also wanted to distance myself as a DJ and a podcaster as it has become very saturated in the last few years, with many taking up the two past times. I wanted to curate a unique brand with a distinct visual identity and position myself as an attractive candidate with a well-rounded education and knowledgable about much more than just being a DJ or podcaster.
A significant reason for the evolution is to position me with my strengths and market my skillset to new connections. With a career shift, a new set of goals have been realized.
Position as a content creator that is capable of creating professional work
Make it clear that I am a website designer and that my network is aware of this
Create content that demonstrates my knowledge and expertise to assert myself as an educator
Finding My Style
There is a direct correlation between how one expresses themselves through clothing and the cohesion of a personal brand. Ask any of my close friends, and they will tell you that I have been trying to find my clothing style for years. I struggled to find my clothing style in the same period, and my personal brand suffered. Once I took my brand development seriously and began curating an aesthetic, my fashion followed suit. I now had a direction and vision of how I wanted to style myself to my brand after years of trying to blend in. The strategy now is to stand out and be my own distinctive individual.
After suppressing my self-expression for years, I can now finally unmask and create an authentic Garrett brand. Embracing the colour black with clothing curated to form a unity between my everyday clothing and my artistic expression and to align with my online personal brand.
Creating the Brand
Now that the strategic goals and fashion have been identified, it was time to get to the hard part of building an online brand. The artistic decision of choosing a colour palette, fonts and visuals to bring everything together. Working on my own branding is more complex than a client's branding. With my own brand, I have to find a look and/or aesthetic representing me as I market myself online. The pressure also feels more intense for someone who works in marketing and design, as the one who knows what will keep someone relevant.
A good starting point is to seek inspiration from those who do it well and individuals at the top of their field. I turned to Hardwell, Swedish House Mafia and Martin Garrix. A collection of iconic electronic artists and DJs who I was amongst on the Apple Podcasts' top music podcasts a few short years ago. Each artist with teams to support their branding and marketing efforts. I observed their styles and studied their content and how their brand carries their creativity across mediums, from their live shows to their social media profiles and websites. It was evident that someone had designed and executed this well. Taking away inspiration from some of my favourites to energize my own efforts.
I wanted this iteration of my brand to be bolder than anything else that I had done before. Like my clothing, I doubled down on the colour black as the primary colour in my palette. I considered an off-grey colour, but I wanted to maximize the contrast for accessibility. White was added as a natural complement to black with red accents for a touch of colour. Black and white is a timeless combination, and I intend to use the branding guidelines for a few years or until I no longer identify with it. If you have ever gone through choosing fonts, you know it can be exhausting. With boldness in mind, I wanted to choose a strong, aggressive, eye-catching font that is assertive.
Unveiling the Brand
From start to finish, the process took 2-3 months and acted as a fun, creative challenge for me. I pushed the limits to create something I could finally be proud to have as my personal brand. I always use the first application to design the website for any rebranding project. In this case, it was redesigning my website (GarrettGaudet.com) by overhauling the design, functionality and SEO strategy.
I started with a slow release of publishing new pages and changing the function of many pages. As a content creator, I used many video assets as the hero (image) visual. I like to use videos with website design as it adds movement and another visual for showcasing the product or person.
By this time, I had exhausted my current use of assets and decided to shoot new images. Which meant that it was time for a photoshoot. I set up a photoshoot alone with my friends out of the country. I set up my Canon SL1 camera and plugged it into a monitor via an HDMI cable, added two LED video lights and selected the new pieces of clothing to wear for the shoot. I created a playlist with the mood and aesthetic I wanted to make for the photoshoot. Tracks like Steve Angello Feat. Pusha T - Freedom & Louis the Child - Amsterdam (Deep Inside). The photoshoot was a success; after sifting through the 570+ images, I loved about 12.
I found two images that I wanted to use as my press images. One photo positioned for Facebook, LinkedIn and cover art for a future podcast. The photo is friendlier with a little smile, a cream shacket and portraying myself as an approachable professional. The other image is my artist photo, which is used for YouTube, Instagram & Spotify. It's my personal favourite of the collection of images that I shot, as it perfectly embodies the style of my brand.
On December 23, I posted the images and changed my profile picture to one of the two pictures. For me, it was more than just uploading new photos. It signified the unveiling of my updated personal brand and a preview of what's to come.
In 2023, a diverse content mix will adopt the new style with a more engaging tone of voice, unreleased photography and experimentation with new types of content on my accounts.