Business development · 10 June 2020

Five tips from a Drag Queen on creating an authentic and enduring brand identity

In today’s world of marketing, the competition to create a successful personal brand is higher than ever.

Platforms such as YouTube and Instagram have saturated the industry, making it harder for people to stand out and build a business. Renowned drag queen Divina de Campo, runner up in the first UK season of the infamous Ru Paul’s Drag Race, discusses her journey to building her own personal brand on Fiverr’s Ninetwentynine podcast. 

1. Know your audience inside out

Like setting up any business, your audience should be front of mind. Being aware of who they are, what they want and how you can serve their demand should really be the starting point. Having this knowledge will help you engage with and grow your audience.

My style prior to building my brand was quite artsy, and a bit conceptual, I realised at 9pm on a Friday in a little gay pub that wasn’t going to fly, the audience was not there for that. Being the producer of my own content and entire brand identity, I learnt how I needed to adapt my skills and style to fit the situation, without compromising on authenticity.

When building a brand, it’s about looking for where the opportunity is and a lot of those opportunities come from your audience. you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. give the people what they want.

2. Be methodical

When creating your personal brand, you are the circus master, especially when starting out.  You wear hats –  from being in charge of brand image, production to finances. It’s a lot but learning what works for you and what doesn’t, where you need help, is super useful. When I started out, I wasn’t methodical enough and found myself freestyling a lot – I wanted to make it and put my all into my work but there really wasn’t much structure.

Learning to be more targeted has allowed me to run my brand like a business and plan my next steps more clearly. I can now see a clear path to achieve my goals which is both more effective and motivating.

3.  Stay true to yourself

It’s a competitive world and the business of creating a personal brand can be extremely challenging when starting out. It’s tempting to simply emulate other people and replicate what they do. the problem with that is you are you and they are them. so be you.

You’ll quickly learn that the industry may pull you in different directions and people will question your business which is, of course, your personal identity. In a saturated market like social media influencers, it can be tempting to be driven in a certain direction but in my experience, those who stay true to themselves and their point of view are most successful.

Don’t be afraid to say ‘this is me!’ and push back on anyone trying to change what you stand for and want to achieve. Remember that you are your product so if your trying to be someone else it won’t work – this is key to creating an authentic brand that will resonate with your audience much more than if you are simply going along with the crowd.

4.   Be adaptable

Being adaptable is a key trait for any entrepreneur – as the industry evolves and your audience grows, you should also look to develop with them. Markets shift and change and we have got to adapt to that in order to thrive. Of course, it’s important to stay true to yourself and be consistent in your brand image but to create an enduring brand, being adaptable is key.

The lesson here is that you can’t put round pegs in square holes. If your brand doesn’t align with the environment around you then you may face problems.

Adapting to the macro environment is also a part of this. As the world has dramatically changed, brands are forced to adapt and in times like these, it’s about creating these opportunities for yourself. We’re lucky to have the technology available to help us stay connected and for me, I have adapted during this time by introducing ‘At home with Divina de COVID’ we all need a laugh and they can really help you.

5. Embrace your anxieties

We all have anxieties and insecurities so it’s about finding ways to cope with this. Once I’m on stage I leave them behind but before any performance, I tend to question everything. I found that being over-prepared helps me control my anxieties.

With success and brand presence, comes haters. people are going to talk. That’s a good thing. Let them. If some of what they’re saying has legitimacy and can help you develop, great! Otherwise, if it isn’t useful, don’t engage. Your job is to build your brand not worry about what Sue from Clacton, who is not your target market, thinks about it.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Divina de Campo is the stage name of Owen Richard Farrow, an English drag queen, known for competing in the first series of RuPaul's Drag Race UK.

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