Building Your Brand as a Twitch Streamer
In today’s age of content, every content creator has a personal brand they project. Even if you’ve never actually stopped to plan out what that brand is, your audience has already formed one for you. And while, most of the time, your die-hard fans know you well enough to get it right, there’s no better person to actually establish your brand online than you. If you’ve never stopped to consider what your personal brand may be, there is no better time than the present.
What is a Brand?
Most people will tell you that your brand is the online image of yourself that you project. A brand, whether intentional or otherwise, can be broken down into two separate parts.
Your Tangible Brand
This is where most definitions of a brand stop. Most people will tell you that your brand is your logo, your color scheme, or your “aesthetic”. And, truth be told, that plays a part in how people see you online. Colors, fonts, logo choices, and your overall look can be a great first impression into what people think of you. But it goes much deeper than that.
Your Intangible Brand
A brand is also made up of the “intangibles” – things that people experience about you, rather than just the things people see. Your viewers and listeners see how consistent you are with your content creation, your personality, how you treat your audience – all of these things contribute to the brand that you are projecting to your fans.
Your tangibles and intangibles work together to form the cohesive brand that people know you for. Usually, the tangible brand pieces attract new viewers or fans to your community. But it’s ultimately the intangibles that retain / keep them there.
Cultivating an Online Brand
We’re going to talk about a lot of the tangible bits – mainly because those are the easiest to change. But keep in mind that even if people like your logo, if they don’t like you as a streamer, they won’t stick around. So it’s worth taking a good long look at your intangibles every now and then to see if there’s something that’s keeping people from enjoying your content.
Every Good Brand Starts With a Name
Before you even consider streaming, you have to pick a username. It’s worth, then, doing as much research as you can – even before you hit the “Go Live” button – on what you want your brand to be. Pick a username that is memorable, fun, and that highlights something about your personality.
Take my brand, for example. “LoFi Lion” is a relatively new name for me (I went by my real name before, with mixed results), but I wanted something that spoke to my love of LoFi / synth-wave music. My logo is a lion’s head – a nod to my religious upbringing – and I love bringing those together into something that is both personal and memorable.
Take some time to consider a username – especially because it’s hard to change it successfully later (take it from me, personally). Avoid the urge to just add numbers to your favorite name. If you can come up with something unique and original, your viewers will reward you for your creativitiy.
Logos, Colors, Fonts, and Aesthetic
Once you’ve picked a username, the real work begins. If you aren’t a graphic designer, find someone inexpensive on Fiverr and pay them to create a decent logo. It’s worth getting this done sooner rather than later, and a good logo is worth the investment because you’ll be using it everywhere: social media, channel art, YouTube thumbnails, etc.
As you decide on your logo, take some time to craft your overall “aesthetic”. Find a few fonts for your logo that look good. Select colors that “vibe” with your personality. Eventually, you’ll find the right combination of everything, and it’ll come together into something that’s truly “yours”.
Again, my brand is something I’ve considered for a long time. The color scheme is what I call “hotline Miami” – a rainbow of neon colors that I can pick from and use wherever I need to. Thin lines (similar to neon), a psychedelic snap-back hat on my logo (one of my trademarks), and an overall retro vibe all combine together to create an aesthetic that’s all my own.
Be Yourself… Or Don’t.
If that headline confuses you, let me break it down for you. At the end of the day, no one really cares what games you play – people tune into your Twitch stream because of you – the streamer. Be yourself, be authentic, and be natural – if you try to be someone you aren’t, people in your stream will pick up on it, and may end up seeing you as a phony.
Of course, with any rule, there are exceptions. Take Dr. Disrespect. Regardless of your feelings toward him as a streamer, he has taken his whole ‘online persona’ to a new level. If you are going to adopt a persona online, you have to commit 100% – every action, every interaction, every stream, every video. If you do break character, make sure it’s for a good reason.
That said, it’s much easier to be yourself than it is to be someone else; who’s better at being you, after all?
Start with the Basics… the Rest Will Come
If you’re overwhelmed with all of this, consider this short checklist:
- Keep a document with everything that you want to project to people as a streamer. Reference it often.
- Nail your logo. If you’re serious about streaming, this will become your identity sooner rather than later.
- Be consistent. Streaming on a schedule – and keeping to it – is better than streaming inconsistently. That way, your viewers know when to expect your next bit of content.
It’s a little overwhelming to know that everything you do online plays into your brand. But, it doesn’t have to be. If you’ve done your research, planned out how you want to project your online personality, and then stick to it… the rest becomes a matter of coloring inside the lines.
What’s your favorite part of a brand? Are there any elements (tangible or intangible) that I’ve forgotten that you see important? Then let me know (see below!)