Does your VTuber avatar and live stream channel have strong, consistent branding? Today we’ll talk about how to build a strong personal brand and why it’s important, especially for VTubers.
What is Branding?
In a nutshell, branding refers to the process of creating a unique identity and personality for your brand. It's how you differentiate yourself from other creators, and it helps your audience understand what you stand for and what they can expect from you. A strong brand can help you build a loyal following, attract sponsorships and partnerships, and ultimately grow your audience and revenue. Colors, typography, language, imagery, content, and consistency are all important aspects of branding. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry—we’ll break everything down.
Branding Challenges Unique to VTubers
Every live streamer needs good branding in place to stand out and make a name for themselves in the live streaming space. However, VTubers especially require strong branding because so much of their existence is based on visual appeal. Let’s take a look at some challenges unique to VTubers:
Persona Vs. Personality
As a VTuber, you may have chosen to create a virtual persona different from your real-life personality. It might be difficult to strike a balance between staying true to your virtual persona while also maintaining your authenticity and being relatable to your audience. Also, some VTubers start with a persona but find it too difficult to maintain over time.
Creating a Unique Visual Identity
Visual branding is so much more important for VTubers when compared to regular streamers. Your virtual avatar is a critical part of your brand, and creating a design that stands out, is memorable, and fits your aesthetics might be challenging.
Building a Community
Because your audience is connecting with your virtual avatar, it can be challenging to build a community around your brand that also feels personal and authentic. Engaging with your audience through live streams, social media, and other channels (Discord, for example) can help you build a connection with your fans beyond just your virtual persona.
Understanding VTuber History and Customs
VTubing originated in Japan and has a unique, interesting history. Furthermore, VTubing has its own customs, slang, and quirks. You’ll want to arm yourself with a fair amount of VTubing knowledge if you wish to create a respected, appealing brand.
Key Elements of Branding
The concept of branding can be vague to those who are unfamiliar with it. Let’s take a look at the core elements of branding and how they apply to VTubers.
Username and Other Language
Your username is one of the most important elements of your brand identity because it’s how people will refer to you. Does your username represent your brand? Other important language includes catchphrases, a special name for your followers (for example, Taylor Swift fans are called “Swifties”), your intro and sign-off greeting, and any other words you frequently use on stream.
VTuber Avatar & Style
What does your VTuber look like? Are they human or something else? What’s their style—cute, gothic, masculine, sexy, grotesque, tough? Do they have any special characteristics such as wings, horns, makeup, moles/birthmarks, etc.? What kind of clothes do they wear? Every aspect of your VTuber’s appearance needs to be taken into account.
Colors and Logo
What colors are you using in your overlays, logo, and other graphics? Are they consistent across your channel and your other social media sites? Though you might be fond of a variety of colors, your branding will be stronger if you narrow it down to two to three colors. It’s also a good idea to use similar or complementary colors to those of your VTuber avatar.
Brand Voice and Personality
Can you name three words that represent your brand? While words like “cute” or “cozy” are great, they aren’t exactly specific. Unless you’re really leaning into “cozy” (e.g., “Let’s get cozy” is your catchphrase and you only play cozy games), try to narrow your brand keywords down as much as possible. For example, “Persian cat, cat cafe, music box” could be used to represent a Persian cat VTuber with a cafe background who plays music box style melodies on stream. These keywords are much more specific than “cute” or “cat.”
Music and Sounds
Speaking of music, this is another essential element of branding. Think of a style of music that works with your branding and try to keep it consistent with every stream. Better yet, you can commission or create theme songs that play during your Starting, Ending, and BRB interludes. Keep your sound effects and background music cohesive too. Check out the Streamlabs Sound Library for a ton of free sounds and jingles you can use on stream and Streamlabs Music for longer songs and playlists.
Last but certainly not least, the type of content you create will play an important role in your branding. Think about what kind of activities you want to do on stream, whether it be gaming, chatting, singing, drawing, etc. and how it works with your brand. Do you stream a specific game or type of game? Do you have themed days or special events on your channel?
How to Choose Your Branding
Now that you know the important elements of branding, let’s talk about how to personalize them to fit your wants and needs as a VTuber.
It goes without saying that your branding should include things that appeal to you personally. If you already have a VTuber model, you most likely designed it around some of your favorite things. The same should be true for your branding.
Goals and Values
What are your goals as a VTuber? Are you trying to hit it big and get sponsored by your dream brands? Are you looking to build a community of like minded individuals and make friends? Are you wanting to network with other VTubers for collaborations? Or maybe you just want to play games and chill as your VTuber self. Thinking critically about your goals and values can help guide your branding in the right direction.
What kind of viewers do you want to attract? Think about your ideal viewer and chatter. How old are they? Where do they live? What are their interests? If you want to capture a specific audience, you’ll need to employ certain strategies. For example, a female VTuber who was hoping to connect with other young women who share similar interests might be surprised to find that her audience is mostly older men.
Creative Exercises to Help With Branding
We’ve talked a lot about branding for VTubers and why it’s important. Now it’s time for some action! Try exercises to narrow down your personal brand.
Brain Dump - Grab a pencil and paper and start writing. Think about your channel and write down anything that comes to mind, even if it seems silly or unrelated.
Word Association - Write down a list of words that reflect your brand's personality and values. Think of interesting or unique counterparts for each word. For example, if your VTuber wears glasses, you might write “glasses.” A unique way to describe someone who wears glasses is “bespectacled.” Get creative with your words.
Mood Board - Whether you print out photos for an IRL mood board or make one digitally, seeing images that represent your VTuber avatar and persona can help you fine tune your branding. Not only is it productive, it’s a lot of fun too.
Audience/Competitor Research - Though we don’t like the word “competitor” for streaming (there’s room for everyone), researching VTubers your audience follows could be an eye-opening activity. Do those VTubers have strong branding? What do they do well? What would you do differently if you were them?
Things to Remember
You’re almost ready to build the brand of your dreams for your VTuber and live streaming channel. There’s just a few important things you need to remember before you get started:
- Be consistent. Branding doesn’t work if you only do it some of the time.
- Be authentic. While you can have a persona, you’ll likely struggle if it’s wildly different from who you naturally are.
- Be flexible. Be adaptable to changes in the industry, audience preferences, and your own growth as a creator.
Today we talked about the importance of personal branding for streamers and unique challenges that apply to VTubers specifically. We broke down the key elements of branding, from visual aspects to language and music. We also discussed fun creative exercises for you to try as you brainstorm your own unique branding. By now, you should have all of the tools you need to plan a brand for your VTuber and channel that is uniquely, perfectly you.