My personal brand is best described as light-hearted, a little geeky, and farm fresh. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I make comics about farming and rural life and I share them via social media. For me, it is important that people are receptive to my personal brand because I want them to support and appreciate my work. When someone reads through my social media feeds, I want them to be able to see me as someone they can relate to and want to be friends with.
What I do is a combination of things that couldn’t be more different, and my competition reflects that. I see myself competing with other slice-of-life comic creators, but I also see myself competing with agriculture personalities who are using social media to promote their farms or educate on farming. When I stack my personal brand against someone like ‘WhatsupBeanie’, it’s easy to see that we do the same thing, but with very different themes. Compared to her brand, mine stands out as one that is very country, very rural and maybe a little redneck in some opinions. On the other hand, compare my personal brand to that of ‘Farmer Tim’. We both have farm themed content, but we talk about it in very different ways. His brand is typical farmer, sweet and hardworking, simple content with a lot of story telling. Compared to him my brand comes off as silly, cutesy, and maybe like a little awkward and geeky. I speak more to the younger generation with my kind of brand, to both the weird art kids and the red necks.
Recently, I have been trying to expand my brand into different mediums. Dipping my toes into alternative ways to bring more attention to my comic strips. I want to show more of my personal brand so that people are not just following my social media because they like my work but because they want to see me succeed. To do this, I’m experimenting with recording myself drawing, and posting more Instagram Stories from around the farm or my house that give a better glimpse at who I am. I’ve been attempting to respond to other people’s postings more and to make myself a little more visible than that one tweet or instagram post a day.
I have a great support network so far, and my work is constantly receiving praise for being cute, funny and relatable. Something that I had not intentionally associated with my brand but has been tied to it regardless was a positive voice for mental health in the agriculture community and an advocate of women in agriculture. Both of these topics are of great importance to me, but I never set out to be a mental health brand or a feminism brand.
I happen to be a woman in agriculture, who lives and works with other women in agriculture. I have received praise for showing a feminine heavy cast, and in a radio interview I did last November with Valley Heritage Radio, I was asked if this was intentional and I had to confess it wasn’t. I also inadvertently became connected to the mental health movement in agriculture after an interview I did with Better Farming on how my comics help me relieve stress for myself and others. Ever since then I have been asked to speak on the topic more and more which is wonderful, but never my original intention.
I think that there could be a really a strong chance of success for my brand if I were to lean more into one of these subjects to further my brand recognition, but it is not something I am yet comfortable doing as I never intended to be that voice in the first place. My brand is supposed to inspire a care-free, fun and innocent love for farming and rural life and I’m not sure I want to move into a space where I am actively advocating for something more than that. I don’t want my audience to ever feel that they are being preached to by me, but in that, I feel that I have stunted the growth of my personal brand.
Going forward, if my efforts to diversify my presence online do not increase brand awareness I may end up exploring these avenues… but until then, I will continue with the personal brand I have now.