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3 ways to build personal brands for on-air talent

3 ways to build personal brands for on-air talent

As a communications consultant at Magid, I partner with clients to develop on-air talent by identifying and articulating clear strategies to increase audience engagement. One key area we focus on is the talent’s personal brand, and how to position it effectively.

Here are three ways to approach building personal brands for on-air talent:

Tailor it to the personality

Some stations have experimented with initiatives like casual Fridays, encouraging on-air talent to dress down at the end of the work week, much like people with a typical 9-to-5 job do. Some stations that have tested this have earned positive feedback from viewers – some even saying it was like getting the news from your friends.

This may work well for some on-air teams, but as you work to develop a personal brand for talent, the approach needs to be natural, authentic and tailored to the personality. An anchor who is most comfortable in a suit and tie could feel off-brand and inauthentic to viewers, while another anchor with a more casual demeanor might thrive with a simple wardrobe change to jeans on Fridays.

Get out from behind the desk

When disaster strikes, many reporters are accustomed to getting in the thick of it to report on a breaking story, from floods to fires and everything in between. Likewise, anchors should be encouraged to step outside their comfort zone and get out from behind the news desk to tell a more engaging story (when it makes sense). Encourage your anchors to identify a beat they are personally interested in and urge them to tell powerful stories away from the anchor desk. This also provides a convenient outlet for anchors to interact more with people in the community, which could improve viewer recall of individual talent.   

Try new mediums

Other stations are trying to reach more viewers through different channels – like podcasts, a medium especially popular for Millennials. A great example of this is KMOV in St. Louis, which features reporter Alexis Zotos as host of their Meet St. Louis podcast. Zotos’ personal brand is built on being culture-focused, making the topic of this podcast a natural fit, as she interviews chefs, brewers and small business owners to tells stories of St. Louis. This is a great extension of her personal brand, and likewise, the station’s.

When working to build a personal brand, it’s important to also consider the station’s brand. Individuality is important to viewers, but it should not create a disconnect. Managers should work with talent to ensure their personal brand aligns with the key attributes of the station brand, which will help improve overall brand awareness and audience engagement.

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