Why I avoid any kind of "personal branding".
 
Brands are the most popular idea in marketing. Most things you are likely to buy are branded in some way, from the Apple Macbook I'm typing on, to the Domestos bleach we stick down the loo.

So it's not at all surprising that many people today try to sell themselves by adopting a "personal brand". This is very popular advice among creatives and writers, there are probably 30,000 blog posts written on how to develop your brand as a writer.

I think this is a pretty bad idea.

Brands serve a quite specific purpose. Since we started mass producing everything in factories, the cost of most products has fallen, in some cases to virtually nothing. The actual cost of a bottle of bleach is near zero. A few pennies. So to keep bleach production profitable, companies "brand" mass produced products with "values" that make them seem more valuable than they are. In the words of Rickey Gervais, Coca-Cola is just fizzy brown water with sugar in. But COKE the brand, after decades of brilliant and expensive advertising, now represents The American Dream.

The problem with brands is: they're a total fucking lie. A dishonest illusion that clever marketers can conjure with big ad spending on tv and the internet.

Brands exist to give value to things that have little or no value.

You have value. What you make, write or create has value. It's unique to you. Nobody else will or could ever sing that song, draw that picture, write that story. What you create isn't just valuable, it's invaluable. It has no no price, it is priceless. (You may choose to attach a value and price, that's your call).

Branding what you create, or who you are as a creator, is counter productive. Because the overriding message it sends to people is, "this is fake, this guy or gal is a faker". Throwing up a website proclaiming yourself "Fantasy McFantasy Face, author of fantastic fantasy" will actually tell people you are no such thing.

So what's the alternative? I'm talking about this today because I spent most of the weekend doing, what? Personal branding of course :) My website is rejigged, my patreon page is rewritten and designed, my online course in story is reorganised and promoted. A lot of work. And through every step I've had to resist this little voice saying, "maybe you (I) should have a brand?"

My suggested alternative to packaging yourself as a brand is...just tell your story. What have you done? Where are you coming from? What are your struggles, achievements, failures, ambitions, fears? Don't worry if your story is a big mess of contradictions. That's what life is actually like. Don't try and "be yourself", because self is a chaos of things that never stops changing.

This doesn't mean your website, blog, social media pages shouldn't look nice, have a coherent design or be well written. Just resist the pressure for these to reflect anything more than your own tastes and real interests.