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Course Feature: Build Your Personal Brand

Sean Hawkey,
Written by
Jasmin Woolley-Butler
Published date
04 December 2023

For this Build Your Personal Brand course feature we asked course tutor Ann Booth-Clibborn about why building a personal brand is important for creative individuals, what the benefits of strategic storytelling are and how it can increase audience engagement.

Tell us about your background and how you got into your career

I am a TV producer by trade – I have spent the last 25 years developing formats and shows for the BBC and Channel 4. In my shows you follow a story and learn something along the way. Changing Rooms was my biggest hit, with 11 million viewers watching paint dry at its height! This year I have been working with the BBC Country File team on refreshing their format.

While I was at the BBC Academy 6 years ago I helped pilot a storytelling course for non-programme makers. This opened up a whole new exciting idea for me - anyone could use the tools of storytelling to get their audience engaged and listening, they just had to learn how. I now work with businesses, charities, and individuals to teach them exactly that.

When I talk about ‘your personal brand’, I am talking about communicating your value and your passion effectively through storytelling skills.

How would this course benefit someone with a creative practice?

This course will not only help you build your personal brand, but it will also help you understand in general how to communicate more effectively with your audiences overall.

If you can articulate your purpose and your value clearly, it helps other people to understand your work and your worth. So whether your audience is a client, a collaborator, a grants board or your team mates, this course will help you express your personal brand to them and communicate more effectively with them.

The course will also give you the opportunity to get a fresh perspective on your personal brand. We are all too close to the work we do and so standing back, and looking at the broader story, will be an important part of the day.

Does is matter what my field my creative practise is?

No whatever your practice is, you need to be able to express quickly and clearly what your personal brand is.

Ann Booth-Clibbon

What is a personal brand?

Every individual has a different story, a different combination of experiences, talents, passions and circumstances, and if we can capture that in a concise and user-friendly way - then we have the start of a personal brand. It is the essence of who you are, how you work, and why you work which helps others understand your value, remember you, and advocate you.

Why is it important to build a personal brand?

Working in the creative industries is extremely competitive and it is likely that the ones who get ahead will be the ones who can articulate their vision, express their passion in an infectious way and clearly express how they can add value. Having a clear personal brand is the first step in being able to do this.

What do you mean by storytelling?

A story is perfectly designed to engage an audience, it is easy to listen to and effortless to pass on. We use all the principles of a story instinctively when we are relaxed and one-to-one, however we can learn to use the same principles to engage our audience whatever we need to communicate.

By using ‘storytelling’ principles we are selecting what will engage, absorb and inspire and audience rather than giving them a list of facts about ourselves.

On the course we will use these principles as a road map to build your personal brand because a story contains all the elements that an audience needs to makes sense of what you are telling them, remember it and ideally pass it on!

Not only does having a clear personal brand help articulate your value to others – it also, possibly more importantly, will help you recognise and embrace your own particular professional value, which I have seen make a huge impact on people’s level of confidence and composure.

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