- Who & Why?
Category Archive for: ‘adam lambert’
First of all, let me say I write this blog post only with the intention of being helpful and being of contribution with my personal branding expertise. If you are cynical and want to think otherwise, please stop reading this now.
I know many of you fans think Adam can’t and shouldn’t be labeled. It is exciting. I appreciate how you want him to be self-expressed. I’m not trying to put him in a box and label him and make him cookie-cutter. I’m trying, like always, to help him be self-expressed, let his fantastic voice be heard, reach and move as many people as possible, be happy and fulfilled as a human AND get the music industry to welcome him.
The reason for my intention is that I can’t seem to get over the conundrum created for musicians, such as Adam Lambert. When you are so talented, shouldn’t that be enough? Every time I see this problem play out, I get sad for the artist and for his fans.
For guidance of this personal branding puzzle, I turned to the people who know Adam best- his fans. I’ve incorporated some of their wise insight below. One thing will always be true- if you don’t stop and listen to your fans objectively and collectively, in an effort to learn from them, your brand is a bust. As Adam once said of his fans, “I see people of all races, etc and there’s something really great about that. It speaks to the universal power of music.”
My goal is for everyone, whether an artist/entertainer or a professional lawyer/financial adviser, to have an “intentional brand”. This brand is built on each person’s natural gift and talent that allows them to give to others without any expectation of any reward. Adam’s natural talent is his fantastic voice and his being. One fan thanked him by saying he is a Shaman (healer) with courage to share his gifts. He has a message to share- one of struggles being overcome, joy being resonated and not “acting” and “putting up pretenses”.
I offer this support because he actually does heal people, as his fan said. Noskerdycat, a fan wrote to me explaining this phenomenon. She said she once turned around to view the audience (instead of Adam) from her front row seat at his concert. What she saw was surprising, but it is exactly why I want to support him with this blog- because he heals people. Noskerdycat states,
“What I saw… or what I THINK I saw was this crowd of people and faces totally and utterly connected to this individual on stage. I could have sworn that I actually saw the strings of glittery light energy that each person was exchanging with Adam as he performed. It was utterly beautiful. In fact I still shake my head in awe when I remember it.”
So who is Adam Lambert, as a self-expressed musician, and what’s the problem? Over the weekend, I was musing over this issue with a colleague of mine who works with another artist, Jason Mraz.
As one Glambert so aptly put it, proactively building your image and then marketing it is easier than having it thrust on you somehow and then managing it. The latter often feels like drinking from a fire hydrant because you have been “labeled” by others. It stinks to be out of control and not living your true intention in this way. It’s confusing.
So Adam came into the public eye via American Idol. It wasn’t by his own intentional branding plan as such. As a result, he was labeled the “wild Idol” when he was the runner up on that show. So he tried to live into the wild brand projection that was thrust on him. But why? I’m not sure it worked so well. Something just seems to be ‘off’ with this label and brand.
Confusion often leads back to lack of brand clarity and consistency. That’s what we had here. Lots of American Idol fans recalled him for the love songs he sang on the show. But his “wild” side had him wearing lots of make-up and singing with Queen, etc. As a result, the music industry was put off and the “love song” fans were confused. Still to this day, he has a new visual brand (different hair and clothing style) pretty much every time I see him.
Confusion leads to aggravation. When we don’t connect with an artist, we don’t “get” them and then we get scared. This doesn’t have to be logical. Subconscious processing of this kind is rarely logical. It comes from the heart, not the head.
So can Adam, or any artist, be all things to all people? When you can sing anything as well as Adam can, it seems everyone wants what they want from you- the record labels, the fans, and everyone else in the mix. Not having one consistent brand is alright, as long as it is not confusing- for the fans and for the artist.
In all this, what about Adam the artist? As fans and management, no doubt you want the best for Adam, right?
So the questions for Adam, and any artist, to consider are:
- Do you self-express via your voice OR the actual music? Many artists have an average voice, but a sweet message. Successful artists understand the difference and know their truth here.
- How did you come into the public eye initially and what’s your intentional branding plan? And I’m not talking about what your management or your PR folks think….this is about YOU, the artist and the human.
- Are you joyful and happy at every turn that you take as an artist? If not, then you deserve to be- for yourself and for your fans.
I was at the American Bar Association (ABA) annual meeting last week in San Francisco where once a year it seems all of us lawyers descend on a major city. I was having a conversation over drinks with a litigator friend/client of mine.
We were chatting about the diversity of my clients. We work on the personal brand development of clients ranging from lawyers and accountants to entertainers and rock stars. So she asked a very interesting question, wondering if the personal brand development dilemmas of lawyers and rock stars/entertainers were the same. The answer from my experience is that professionals, such as lawyers, have different personal branding issues than rock stars and other entertainers.
In the professional services world and personal brand development, we are aiming at developing, positioning and marketing a personal brand and story that resonates with clarity and consistency to as many people as possible within a target market range that’s right for you, as the professional- lawyer, accountant, CEO. The tough part is making sure you are memorable and visible, yet always credible in your substantive work. The resulting tough part is making sure your target market is aware of you at all times so you stay top of mind. After all, there are tons of lawyers and accountants!
In the entertainment world, the personal brand development has the same construct, but plays out differently given what entertainers do. For example in developing the personal brand of a rock star (take for example Adam Lambert), we are still aiming to develop, position and market a personal brand and story that resonates with clarity and consistency the real Adam Lambert.
However, our main concern and issue is not to make sure the entertainer is visible and top of mind to his/her target audience. When the entertainer is known, his/her target market is aware of them at all times. There is only one Adam Lambert.
The problem for rock stars and singers often times becomes having too broad an audience and fan base. This is often because the messaging of the rock star and who he/she is gets diluted, thus capturing too many fans who now expect (and want!) different things from the star. This creates a marketing nightmare and an inconsistent personal brand because there is lack of clarity about who the star really is and what his/her story really is/should be to the best audience for him/her.
So this may be the only time you see an article comparing lawyers and rock stars. As humorous as it may be, remember whether you are a lawyer or a rock star, you still have a personal brand to develop and own! Enjoy the process.
I write this results “part deux” to the initial case study I did last week after the concert in San Diego. I’ve never had a sequel to a case study. But I found it was necessary after the responses and findings last week.
Thank you to the thousands and thousand of Glamberts who read the case study. Thanks to the many, many of you who commented. Your comments schooled me on the fantastic world of Adam’s fans. And yes, I now realize even thirteen-year old girls are aware of Adam’s sexual orientation and could care less! Moreover, your comments also gave critical personal branding insight into Adam’s current fan base.
In my line of work (I hate to call it “work” because, I much like you Adam, LOVE what I am blessed and fortunate to do for a living as it is natural for me, too) adjectives are so important. So I took in all the Glamberts’ comments using adjectives for describing Adam’s personal brand. Some key words included: “smart”, “gracious”, “open”, “happy”, “joyful”, “honest”, “expressed”, “funny”, “tolerant”, “gorgeous” and “innocent”.
The conclusion is that all these adjectives make for a very strong and wonderful personal brand for you, Adam. Couple that with your fantastic voice and you should be golden with a very successful future of entertaining us for many years to come.
However, I also appreciated the many Glambert comments regarding the diverse fan base. As several fans put it, there is a “marketing complexity/problem” involved here. This fact shouldn’t take away from the fun and awe of seeing Adam in concert. But, as an expert in this area, it does concern me.
While all of us fans go to see Adam for his fabulous voice and presence, let’s not forget there’s an industry and business involved here guys. Adam needs to make sure his fan base grows and records get cut, so that he can keep entertaining us with his fabulous voice and presence.
Given I’ve become such a fan as of late, it would be my pleasure to make sure someone with such fabulous personal branding adjectives touches even more fans and finds even more success.
I have the solutions to reach an even larger fan base. Adam, call me (949-274-6423).
I recently attended a concert by Adam Lambert. For those of you who need a refresher, Adam is the San Diego native who came in second place on American Idol, Season 8. Some would say looking back he really should have won and has had a more impactful career than the actual Season 8 winner.
The concert was fantastic- fast, fun, funny with a quality vocal performance by Adam and band. No one could possibly have been disappointed by the hometown boy who kindly displayed his loyalty and appreciation to San Diego.
Putting on my personal branding expert hat, I was baffled as I looked around the fan base during the concert. After the Michael Buble’ concert a few years ago, I never thought I could be more baffled. However, I was.
Adam’s audience was loud, wild and ….very varied. So varied that my husband even noticed and commented. All of this made me think what kind of personal brand appeal would attract this audience and why? At first I thought it may have something to do with the venue being the fairgrounds. I quickly dismissed that notion.
Besides the expected young, gay men and heterosexual women in their early twenties, let me give you a sampling:
– Behind us sat three, thirteen year old girls who were clearly unaware of Adam’s sexual orientation. Not only did they scream (constantly and at the top of their lungs. Translation: deafening) “I love you, Adam”, but at some point when he took off his jacket, they screamed, “take it all off!” We chuckled.
-The row in front of us had five fans who were easily between the ages fifty-five to sixty-five. They were dancing, taking pictures and even pulled up Adam’s Facebook page on their phones during the concert. One of them even had a backpack with the name of a monastery on it….
– Next to us on one side sat a mother (forty-five years and above) and daughter (nineteen). They claimed they LOVED LOVED LOVED Adam and this was the second (of many more) time they had seen him in concert. I think the mother loved him more than her daughter did.
-On the other side of us was an African-American man with dreadlocks, a happy toothless smile, and cowboy boots. He was there with his blond hair, blue-eyed wife. Both were in their early sixties, I would guess.
So how is it possible that Adam Lambert has this varied of a personal brand appeal? Leaves the rest of us envious and wanting to do the same with our personal and business brands, I would say.
Well, I would venture it has something to do with the playlist. Not only did he sing all his popular songs, but he sang (and brought in very real, touching commentary about) songs from Tears for Fears, Hendrix, Bob Marley, and Queen. With this varied and exciting playlist, it is easy to see how he captured such a varied audience.
However, the main reason I think he has such a great personal brand is because of his presence on stage. Adam’s dialogue with his audience coupled with his nonverbal communication seemed genuine, thankful, gracious (he tried his hand at comedy and readily admitted he was not a comedian), humble, and get ready for it- JOYFUL! And let’s not forget the semi-regular streaker/fan he has. Yes, she was back. He even handled her with grace, asking the cops not to arrest her.
So next time you go to a concert, look at the singer and see what about his/her personal brand works for you and what doesn’t. How can you adapt your personal brand based on what you saw and felt?
GIVE ME YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK WORKS WELL FOR ADAM LAMBERT’S PERSONAL BRAND