Articles on TV Hosting, Media Training and Broadcasting

What's Your Brand?
October, 2013

People come to me all the time and tell me they have trouble trying to figure out what their "brand" is. They're often told that they have to have a brand in order to get ahead with their on-camera career. They seem to be almost beating their heads against a wall trying to come up with something and if they don't, they feel frustrated.

There's a quote about branding that I like. It says your brand is how you see yourself has to equal how others see you. That makes sense to me. Amazon's founder, Jeff Bezos said, "A brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room."

Sometimes I hear brands that are so specific and truly ridiculous. Just because you like a particular food, like cheese, or scrambled eggs, doesn't mean you should build a brand around it. Yes, it's true – I've heard people saying that's their brand. Is that enough to blog about, make a reel and webisodes about? Do you see a lot of hosting jobs out there for people who like scrambled eggs? With a brand like that, you're painting yourself into a corner - to say the least.

I ask casting directors, agents and managers all the time what they think a brand is. We all agree that your brand is what you would be doing if a camera ISN'T on you. It's my opinion that YOU are your brand. Your personality is your brand. Being a solid host is a brand. But that's not to say you can't develop other skills along the way. If you really love something, take classes, get certified. The days of just being a "plug in" host seem to are few and far between - but not gone forever. Some shows just require a strong host who can carry a show no matter what the genre is. Other shows require a strong host but if they're an "expert" on a subject - even better. We get more bang for our buck that way.

Hosts have a tendency to want to be everything to everybody in order to make a living hosting. And most people are multi-faceted and may not be able to settle on one thing - especially if they're not a true expert in it. I get that, but if you stretch yourself so thin - you love beauty, travel, tech, cooking, politics… as casting directors, we like to place talent in "compartments." If you're all of the above, sometimes we just don't know what to do with you.

There is no right or wrong answer and I'm sure you'll hear all kinds of advice from everyone in this business. What I will tell you is make sure that you're truly passionate about your brand... that it's something you could talk about everyday of your life if you had to. And when you do find it, learn everything you can about it - don't just recycle what someone else has said. Do your homework, be informed. Come up with your own angle. And show us that you're passionate about it - not that you're picking it because you think it will be a fast track to get you on TV.