Sunday, August 23, 2009

What is Your Brand?

Sunday musings...

This is not about fach or type, but rather something more specific and more multi-layered in your marketing that is very interesting.

As singers/actors, we are working on CRAFT.  Building our artistry.  Taking lessons, classes, learning languages, dialects, exploring characterization, physicality and the depth of all of that.  

Suddenly, we have the "business of craft" and marketing ourselves becomes a daunting and scary proposition, because we just don't know what to do!  It's not because we can't, it's just because it is new and unfamiliar.

The suggestion from this article and website is that Personal Brand can be defined as how you are identified to your audience.  Then this personal brand is subdivided into 3 categories:

1. Core Brand - what you express to self
2. Functional Brand - what is expressed externally to an "audience"
3. Shadow Brand -  the hidden/unconscious brand that stands in your way

It is an interesting way to observe self as an artist in this business and how we are consciously and unconsciously being perceived and wanting to be perceived.

Even though many things are out of our control in our business, we still have control over our decisions and how we respond to others decisions:  How prepared we are, what kind of human being we are,  what our work ethics and personal ethics are, and the list continues...

The decision to find out WHO you are is yours.  This "core brand" is personal, always refining, and something that defines the essence of you TO you and you alone.  "Who am I?" is a lifelong question as the answer continues to morph and grow and evolve.  Often, with external pressures and movement, we can lose track of this very important and essential question.  This should be the FIRST and FOUNDATIONAL question of our lives - not just for business, but for the humanness of self.

The Functional Brand is the exterior brand.  What are you selling? How are you packaging it? This can relate to fach and type much more.  Often we throw "lyric soprano" or "leading lady type" around, but what does it mean? And more importantly what does it mean in relationship to YOU who is selling that particular fach or type?  How is it packaged - physically, emotionally, character-wise?  The idea of "exterior" is for others to see, but you must be aware of what is underneath that exterior to present it that way!

The Shadow Brand is probably the most important to be conscious of.  This is that negative voice that asks "what are you doing?"  or says "You can't do this"  or "why don't you just stay where you are".  It is a self-constructed deconstruction.  We create this shadow to keep ourselves safe, and yet it often holds us back, makes us unsure, and often debilitates us for doing and being as an artist, as a human being and as a business artist!

The Jungian-based "shadow" in our psyches is often very well developed in sensitive creatures as artists tend to be!  When we don't recognize this self-sabotage, we either become very insecure and needy or become over-bearing and full of ourselves, or entitled.  Both extremes come from the same source of shadow.  The insecurity of self in what we are doing and who we are being.

Recognizing this shadow and embracing the dark side (!) of our psyches frees us to use that energy in a new way.  When we begin to get too comfortable, too complacent, too grouchy, too 'touchy', too scared, too annoyed or annoying, too entitled,  we can then make a DECISION to take a risk and step out of the shadow quite literally and DO something about it.  

We can decide to create destiny in our personal lives AND professional lives as opposed to accept a fatalistic attitude.  

This idea of "brand" is a very interesting way of discovering our "business artist" - and may help to re-discover our deeper selves to re-visit "What am I DOING anyway?"

Enjoy and embrace your journey!!! IT IS YOURS!

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