What is your favorite brand name product? When you think of that brand, is it a slogan, logo, color, size, shape, name or price or a combination of these that makes you like it and want to buy? Or perhaps it is the personality selling the product that influences you. What are your favorite brands of shoes, TV’s, sitcoms, cars, or coffee? Which ads for a particular brand do you love and why? What hooks you in? What brands do you hate and why? What is the most powerful element of a brand name? Yes, it is partially how it looks and sounds, but it’s most important ingredient is the powerful emotional response you have when you encounter it. We may like or not like a brand. We may trust or not trust a brand, but in either case, we sure do remember the product.
Every successful business has services and/or products that they spend a lot of time, energy and money creating a brand name for. This brand name let’s us know the consistency of the product, its quality and value. This brand is then backed by the company’s commitment to their mission statement. The mission statement does two things. First it allows everyone associated with that business (i.e. employees, board members, management, etc.) to understand and support the company’s vision. Everyone associated with their company can then work toward a common goal. It also allows the consumer to know the quality, consistency and value of the product they are buying.
Here is the Mission Statement for Starbucks. (They also have a mission statement dealing with environmental issues.) The following six guiding principles will help us measure the appropriateness of our decisions:
- Provide a great work environment and treat each other with respect and dignity.
- Embrace diversity as an essential component in the way we do business.
- Apply the highest standards of excellence to the purchasing, roasting and fresh delivery of our coffee.
- Develop enthusiastically satisfied customers all of the time.
- Contribute positively to our communities and our environment.
- Recognize that profitability is essential to our future success.
“In the context of Living the Brand, purposes and values are not created, they exist – the issue is how well they are articulated and embedded.”
~ Nicholas Ind, Living the Brand (2001)
The singing business is no different. You too have a product and/or service to sell that has value, quality and above all must be consistent. Whether you are conscious of it or not, you also have a personal mission statement. Your missions statement let’s everyone know what to expect from your Brand and let’s you know what you can expect from yourself as well. Those in the performing industry will know your commitment to the standard you have set.
As I said, most of this is just happens in an unconscious manner. Because of this our behavior is quite often different for each of the many roles we play in our lives. Each group we interact with expects us to fulfill a certain role and we behave accordingly.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have only one role to play across the broad spectrum of relationships we each have? It’s time to wake up and make a conscious choice about how you want to be perceived not only by others but by you within yourself. A Personal Brand is a powerful, clear, positive idea that comes to mind when others think about you. It’s a promise to yourself and others that must be fulfilled at each and every point of contact with consistency in every role you play in life. It’s more about how you do something and less about what you do.
“Google yourself and see what you find. While very unscientific, this sort of early approach will give you an immediate-and inexpensive- idea of what issues are attached to your name.”
~ Abram Sauer
The only difference between a company brand name and yours is that your brand is called a Personal Brand. The brand name is your name and it represents who you are. So, what does your name, your brand say about you? Everyone you’ve ever met has an idea of whom and what you are to them. Have you ever thought about the fact that others expect you to behave in a specific way and it’s when you don’t behave that way that they become upset, hurt, angry, confused and disappointed? You probably react in the same manner when your own friends, family and colleagues don’t behave in the way you have come to expect.
As you know from your own experience, when you meet someone new you assign a certain emotional response to that person and their name. You get a reading, a feeling from them that tells you that you are either interested in getting to know them better or not. Try this. Think of the name of the personal you love the most. What is your response? Your thoughts might run from a feeling of warmth, security to fun and freedom to express yourself and much more. Now think of someone’s name that you don’t especially like or feel comfortable with. What is your response? Quite different from the person you love, right?
What kind of an impact does your name generate when someone comes in contact with you? Does it evoke the kind of response you want to be known for not only with family and friends, but in the business and singing community as well? Would you like to minimize the work involved in being you? How would it be if you could be congruent on the inside so you could be consistent in your words and behavior on the outside no matter with whom you are dealing? That is what a conscious Personal Brand will do for you.
“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
~ Audre Lorde
How can you become more conscious about creating and representing your personal brand?
Start the conscious Personal Branding process by answering these questions.
‘A brand name is more than a word. It is the beginning of a conversation.’
- What do you believe about yourself? Write down a description of who you truly believe you are at your core level. This is not about how you wish to be seen or how you feel others view you, but about how you truly see yourself.
- What makes you feel passionate?
- What are you most proud of?
- What do you do well? What skills come naturally to you?
- What are your strengths?
- What about yourself do you take pride in?
- What are your unique characteristics?
- Which experiences in your life stand out and why? What did you learn from them?
- Name 7 of your most obvious personality traits
- What moral principle or value do you most associate with yourself?
- Where do you add the most value to relationships or groups of people?
- Describe your life style.
- How are you introduced at any function?
- What is your lifetime vision?
- Does your environment reflect your brand? (living & work space)
- Does the way you dress represent your brand?
- Do you communicate well? Does the sound of your voice when you speak and the language you use reflect you brand?
After reflecting on your answers to these questions and any others that might have been brought to mind, write a short statement that represents and reflects your brand in all situations and relationships including the one with yourself. Boil it down so John Doe or a typical 5 year old gets it. Make it short and to the point. How does it make you feel? Live with it for a week or two and see if it needs any adjusting. Then when it looks feels and sounds right, start living it.
I, Jane Smith am committed to initiating a creative environment for myself and others that is filled with adventure, humor, and generosity.
A Personal Brand, your name, backed by a Personal Mission Statement is a powerful coalition. It arms you with self-esteem, courage, integrity, and compassion. It demonstrates to you and others what you stand for and what can be expected from you. It allows you to be your authentic and empowered self.
“A lady, sitting next to Raymond Loewy at dinner, struck up a conversation.’Why’, she asked ‘did you put two Xs in Exxon?’ ”Why ask?’ he asked. ‘Because’, she said, ‘I couldn’t help noticing?’ ‘Well’, he responded, ‘that’s the answer.’
~ Source: Alan Fletcher, The Art Of Looking Sideways
What’s in a name? Whatever you believe!
I believe this to be the first giant step in creating your career. From this position everything becomes easier. My hope for you is that you will make this your first step in preparation for a long and successful career.