Any activity your child participates in requires some due diligence on your part. Whether it’s choosing a school or signing up for a sports team, ensuring that the environment is safe and comfortable for your child is crucial. As they start auditioning, you’ll approve each commercial or shoot and ensure that working conditions are safe, legal, pleasant and aboveboard. However, in this age of company branding and social media, it’s also important to take an in-depth look at the company, their brand, and who they advertise with, and ensure that their values align with you and your child’s. Creating a comprehensive “brand” for oneself is an increasingly important part of having a successful career in the talent industry. Keeping this in mind from the beginning will help strengthen your child’s future career.
Branding is the process of creating a unique name and image in the consumers’ mind for a product or service through consistent images and themes. Lifestyle brands are all about a comprehensive and clearly defined image, with a strong philosophy, specific set of values and distinct style. Ralph Lauren is a great example of a lifestyle advertiser. With their type of modeling and fashion, Ralph Lauren evokes a specific lifestyle through its branding that is recognizable to consumers. A model or actor who already embodies a company’s image is more likely to be chosen to work with them.
As your child gets involved in the talent industry, consider branding both in terms of a company that your child would like to represent and in terms of your child’s own professional image. Your child’s image may be based on a number of things, including their unique look and hobbies. An athletic, outdoorsy child could create a portfolio highlighting those characteristics and focus on auditions with companies that represent athletic gear or outdoor apparel. Research opportunities that match the brand that you and your child hope to create. These opportunities may range from big, well-known companies to small, unique ones in your local community, which may include young designers or new businesses that align with your child’s brand. By seizing these opportunities, you provide them with talent while they help build your child’s portfolio – a win-win.
Be aware, your brand and a company’s brand won’t always match up. You might find elements that you don’t think are appropriate for your child and conflict with values you wish to represent. Many people have no problem separating business and personal beliefs, especially starting out, while others find it hard to justify working for a company that doesn’t align with their beliefs, whether they be ethical, political, or religious. If your child is very young, it is up to you to make these decisions. However, as your child matures, have an ongoing discussion about what values are important to them, and how they want their values to be reflected in their work.
As always, remember that it’s your responsibility to take charge of your child’s image as a way of keeping them safe and protected. Once you’re prepared, get out there and start building your kid’s portfolio and professional brand!
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