- Who & Why?
All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘celebrity brands’
I was recently watching the 2013 BBC John Denver special on PBS. I hadn’t thought of John Denver for years! I’m not that old, but I do remember listening to his songs when I was around 10 years old. His music always seemed so effortless, kind, gentle and meaningful. His fan base was huge.
According to his website, Denver was one of the most successful entertainers of the 1970s with sales over 33 million to date, including eight Billboard Top 10 RCA Albums in the U.S. (three of which hit #1). On the BBC special, as they interviewed various people connected to Denver, I started to really see why Denver had been such a lovable musician with such a distinct brand. According to one interviewee who played guitar in his band Denver, “put people in the palm of his hands”. Wouldn’t you love to do that as a musician?
It also became very clear why Denver had critics that were so nasty. While it seems like the norm these days, sadly, these critics really aimed to take him down for being happy, communicating his talent through song and wanting to share it with others. Apparently, Rolling Stones Magazine defined him rather ludicrously in 1976 as, “…devoid of all human characteristics.”
I chuckled when I heard that last quote. It was a sad commentary on parts of society believing that happiness is not a valuable human characteristic. As I always teach, 75% of everything you and I buy is based on how we feel about it, not the content and happiness is the only emotion that sells. So you better have a happy brand!
But I get it. Sometimes it is easier to poke fun (or just be downright mean) to those who are happy and successful because it is hard to conceive that it could be so easy. Jealousy does that to us. I know that every once in while I can feel the critics eyes on me when I preach happiness as a brand necessity. It never feels comfortable when I get weird glances like I must be nuts. However, I know my truth and try to hold steady- like John Denver did.
So what does this mean for you as an artist? Build your musical brand as:
1. Genuine– Be yourself and make sure you stay true to who you are. Otherwise, your real audience will sense the dissonance and shrink. You will then be stuck with a fickle audience that is not loyal.
2. Fun & Happy– I’m not asking you to sing the Blues and be jumping up and down with joy. That’s dissonance, too. Happiness can show up in so many ways. Always remember the only emotion that sells anything- including music- is happiness. Are you happy? If not, get happier and make sure I feel that from your brand.
3. Self-Expression– don’t ever let anyone tell you that you must alter your brand and music to fit a niche that is not you. It won’t work, plain and simple. It may sell records and make others wealthy in the short term, but it will not work for you long term as an artist. Trust me, but if in doubt see #1 above.
Email me with any questions you have.
At the recent Country Music Awards (CMA), I saw a very entertaining, yet unusual occurrence. The show paired two very unlikely brands to sing the first song of the night.
Out on stage came Miranda Lambert, who is about 40 pounds lighter these days. That was just fine. However, she came out with Meghan Trainor who sings the hit song, “All About The Bass ”. What an odd duo vocally.
Not only was the duet an odd brand pairing vocally, but it was visually strange. Here they were singing about how they were bringing booty back and that size is irrelevant. Miranda Lambert was looking sleek and thin, obviously through effort and a desire for it, singing it doesn’t matter our size.
Yet, Miranda Lambert has been very verbally public with her weight loss and well, less of a booty these days. While Lambert has said she is happy any size and loves to eat fried chicken, she has also said she loves being inspired to look at/listen to Brittany Spears when working out.
I respect her verbal stand on the topic, but if I hadn’t read anything about her stance and just saw the performance, my perception would possibly be very skewed for the worse.
In brand development, I always point out the “2 C’s”: Clarity and Consistency. Clarity is all about knowing who you are as an artist and as a human. It would seem Miranda Lambert is clear that she prefers being a smaller size and that’s fine. Consistency is about communicating your same brand in the same manner every time to everyone. Without consistency, your audience gets confused, can’t track you, relate to you, be your biggest fan or follow you. Since branding is all subconscious processing of information, perhaps your fans won’t actually be thinking these exact thoughts, but they will be “feeling” something is off and uncomfortable for them- about you.
I remember when I first stopped practicing law, I had no clarity on who I was as a personal brand. Since I had decided to stop practicing law, I was so lost and confused. My identity as a “lawyer” had been stripped from me. I had no idea who I was, much less how to consistently show up as a brand. As the first step to my brand clarity, it took me really learning that I was NOT my career/profession in order to really be able to show up and gain a following.
So seeing Miranda Lambert up on stage singing a song about loving ourselves regardless of size when she had lost all that weight, was not true to her current visual brand, I would say. I think it is great that she has lost so much weight. Good for her. But you always have to watch what brand statement you are making with anything in your life, including weight loss. This is especially true when you are up on stage standing next to someone who has a current brand around a hit song stating verbally the opposite.
What does this mean for you? I realize both “C”s are hard to master. For starters, all you need to do is to be self-aware. Be self-aware of who you are and how you want that message to come across to others.
Remember, branding is subconscious perception. That means, you have to know it and believe it before we do. And yes, your visual brand matters just as much as the verbal brand message you give us. Always remember, we likely see you first before we hear from you, so you need consistent verbal and visual brand messages.
Here’s an interesting thought for you to consider: what if you don’t have to choose one or the other? What if you can be happy and as successful as you want/think you can be? Does that sound radical and crazy, or totally possible to you?
The truth is we often believe we have to be accomplished and get to the “top” then we can finally be happy. I know, and work with, many accomplished people who are not happy. So I’ve found that we have it backwards: We first need to be happy, then and only then, we can be successful, however you define your own success.
I was a happy, practicing lawyer until I realized that we didn’t have the best image as lawyers. I became fascinated with this issue and wanted to turn it around for lawyers. I also then realized that my natural gift was in personal brand management- that’s what makes me happy as a human- and guess what else? It also makes me successful, too.
Here’s the dilemma. I’ve discovered most of us don’t even stop and consider this distinction, let alone get to the possibility of “having it all” by being happy and successful. I believe it is because we have developed by being conditioned by society (your family, friends, etc.) to THINK this way.
I believe that if we started being aware of our thoughts; we could then be more in control of all our thoughts and in control of our happiness and our success and thus- our lives. This sense of control could and should be liberating- you would then have a focal point behind which to put your energy. And of course, a self-aware person is an effective personal brand.
To help show us how to be more aware of our thoughts with the right tools, I recently had the privilege and honor to interview the great Byron Katie (Katie, as she prefers to be called). In brief, Katie believes your thoughts are the cause of your suffering.
It was in the late 1980s when Katie experienced this belief first-hand. Katie is a best-selling author of numerous books. She has helped millions of people over the years and continues to do so with her process of self-inquiry called, The Work. The Work applies to all people alike. So how can it help you? To answer this question, let me ask another question: does the notion of looking at your thoughts seem scary, perhaps? If so, you’re not alone.
Katie has been quoted as saying, “[w]hen we are not fearful, we are unlimited”. I wholeheartedly believe in this. How often do you find yourself stuck and almost paralyzed by a sense of fear? My hope is you have the self-awareness to stop and notice. I remember how scared and stuck I was when I was initially leaving the practice of law. I often had dreams where everyone was swimming in a pool and I was standing there watching them- I wanted to get in but literally couldn’t move. Those nasty and telling dreams tapered off and gradually stopped once I worked to get past my fears and really embrace my unlimited nature and new career.
I believe when we are not trapped in fear then we can be so much more effective and kind and successful at anything we chose to focus on. This is an abundance mind-set. As I always say, when we know our uniqueness, then there is no competition, but collaboration. Being able to find your uniqueness rests in feeling abundant mentally, fearless and unlimited.
Katie has also found, “[w]hen people take a fearful or rigid stance, they often bring about what they are trying to prevent.” The bottom line is our thoughts lead to our suffering. Katie says we always prepare for winning and losing in our minds. We put so much upon ourselves to win and be right and be a success.
So our thoughts can be stressful and torture, if we believe them. However, listening to our thoughts and being aware ultimately makes us kinder and less aggressive. We are then more aware of all the possible solutions to our problems that we perhaps weren’t aware of before we actually sat still and allowed our own knowledge to flow through and guide us.
When I first started to do The Work, I remember how disgusted and shocked I was with my thoughts. How could it be, I used to think (and still do, but less!), that I am thinking this self-defeating thought?
In fact, The Work is actually meditative in application. But are you open to meditation and sitting still? Or are you stuck in your own ways and can’t even consider anything new to try? Is it just “fluff” to sit still and be with your thoughts? Or is it just too scary?
In actuality I believe, and know to be true, that being self-aware/self-realized makes you: 1) a better person: more positive, more grateful and happy AND 2) even a greater force in other areas in which you want to succeed. The more I practice self-awareness the more I relate to others and find gratitude each day. This is particularly true for my second career- I find I am so much more “in the flow”, in harmony with my ultimate purpose and on the path to big, big things.
So I asked Katie, how can we move past our self-limiting blocks and patterns using The Work, thus trying new methods and being open to methods that may seem like “fluff”? Katie believes if we believe it is fluff, it could cost us something that could really expand and grow us as people. After all, we can’t know for sure that The Work, or any other process, is fluff without trying it. If we don’t try, then the door is shut to new ways and ideas and really, creativity as I see it. So Katie’s advice is to stay open to The Work, stating, “[y]ou don’t have to do it now, but there could be a time in your life when you need it and want to do it. …. We hold all the power to make changes in our lives.”
Here’s another reason to try The Work or some other way of growing. I have found through my research that everyone suffers from some sort of self-confidence issue. My research shows that low self-confidence is directly inversely related to high stress. When we have low self-confidence we have a poor personal brand that doesn’t “sell” us.
My research shows we often end up comparing ourselves to others, perhaps feeling victimized and even like an outcast. To make ourselves feel better, we project how we feel outward onto others so that they are the problem or the cause for our sorry situation. All this rings of a low self-confidence issue, which is true for all humans in one way or another. I know for a fact that every time I sink into low self confidence, everyone around me is well aware of this shift- they may not consciously know so, but so much of what I’m talking about is subconscious processing of information.
In one of her books, Katie states that we all have this unspoken belief that unless people approve of us, we are worthless. Katie also says that defending anything is the first act of “war” or a war-like mental state of aggression. It seems like this is exactly one of our challenges that can hold us back – many times we feel worthless and go into self-defense mode.
So how can we apply The Work to not compare, not defend and have higher self-confidence?
Katie finds that when we feel low in self-confidence, then that low self-confidence is what we think we have to sell. In that instance, we don’t like ourselves, and we don’t expect others to like us. As a result, we can’t attract anyone. If we didn’t defend ourselves and looked at constructive criticism with an open mind, then maybe we’d learn something about ourselves that we may have missed. In that way, we could also connect with another person. Katie holds that every time a person does The Work, they come out as a kinder, caring, enlightened, fearless person, which reeks of high self-confidence because we are on solid ground and we are not defending ourselves to the world.
So where should you start, you ask?
Katie recommends we fit The Work in gradually by perhaps getting up a little bit earlier than the rest of our household each morning, getting quiet and getting still to sort life out. Katie recommends doing so in the early morning because in the mornings our minds are clear before the world bombards them. Even 20 minutes a day helps.
Katie advices that this is not just one more thing on your list- you DO NOT have to do this. But, Katie promises, if you try it, you will have such a shift in your mindset and ability to produce results. To me those “results” are being happy and successful.
I myself am a testament to this process. For years now, I prescribe to “slow start” mornings. I get up early, work out and then spend at least 30 minutes sitting still and focusing inside. Years ago I heard Richard Branson does the same- so I kept it up. I figured he must be doing something right and this just felt like one of those things to keep doing. It brings me so much calmness and clarity every morning. Plus I have something to look forward to every morning.
What should you do in the 20 minutes? Katie recommends you close your eyes and contemplate a thought that you have that is stressing you. This will allow you to get clarity on the issue and how you feel and view it. Katie says that doing this will change the way you see everything for the rest of your life. I totally agree, as I have been doing The Work for some time now in addition to my slow morning routine.
Will it be do-able? Well Katie advices that you just try it on with an open mind. Even if it is hard, be gentle and kind to yourself. As Katie put it, it is all about your own world peace. I agree. I find that it is our job to take care of our peace in this world so we can be of service to others.
As Katie says, doing The Work will sharpen our observations and leave us in balance. Who wouldn’t want that?
For my full audio interview and highlight video with Byron Katie see here: www.purispersonalbranding.com
The full video version should be available through Byron Katie’s website, www.thework.com soon. For inquiries regarding the video, please contact that site.
Yes, here I am yet again writing about the only emotion that matters if you are developing and/or polishing your personal brand- happiness or joy! No event or person displayed that better than Pharrell Williams’ with his song, “Happy”. It is Pharrell’s first new release after eight years, from his new album “Girl” that just hit shelves this week- and boy does he make up for lost time.
Pharrell performed his hit song at the Oscars last night. You could just feel the audience come alive. After all, everyone was decked out in their finest (and stuffiest?) formal frocks and were acting like they had to hold their chin up the entire time and squint. Then he hit the stage and people became “happy”.
As I always say, if you are not a happy service-provider then why would I want to hire you? If you think the answer is because you are smart, then think again. With life being so complicated these days, we only want to hire someone who makes us happy or joyful. If I’m spending money on you, then you better make me happy because I assume you can get the substantive job done- like many other professionals out there trying to get me to hire them, too.
As for artists, I always recommend expressing themselves through music that reflects their joy and happiness. I guarantee them that their music will sell. Pharrell displays that very well, given “Happy” is climbing the charts fast. Same concept applies to actors- if they only knew how unhappy they often come across to their fan base….and if we only gave an Oscar for happiest actor….
So stop and ask yourself: Am I happy? Do I come across as a personal brand that can make my clients and prospects happy? If not, what are you going to do about it?
Just read some of the lyrics for yourself and see if your mood gets elevated and you become well, happier!
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do
Here come bad news talking this and that, yeah,
Well, give me all you got, and don’t hold back, yeah,
Well, I should probably warn you I’ll be just fine, yeah,
No offense to you, don’t waste your time
By now we have all heard and/or seen the interview NBC’s Christine Cooper conducted with skier Bode Miller after his Super G Olympic win last Sunday. I got to watch the interview live on Sunday. Here’s how I saw it go down: Miller wins another medal as a truly decorated athlete. Cooper interviews him immediately. She asked about his win and then swiftly moved on to ask about the recent (and raw) passing of Miller’s brother.
But she didn’t just ask once- Cooper just kept asking the same question over and over again in what amounted to me to be one of the most disgusting displays of the media sensationalizing and abusing people. I mean here is a great athlete who has accomplished a great thing. And Cooper wants to spend two-thirds of the interview trying to bring Miller to tears, which she did. I get how these things work. Her producer was plugged into her earpiece. Likely the producer was encouraging Cooper to persist to see how far they could push Miller.
But forget about the media- they don’t need any more attention in my book for the embarrassing behavior they call journalism. I was amazed by Miller. He kept his composure as much as he could. Even after the fact, he has been quoted as saying Cooper was just doing her job. Talk about a personal brand of a champion.
We can all learn from Olympians and particularly, Bode Miller. A personal brand that takes the high road with grace and dignity and forgiveness is a winning personal brand always. Now if only the media could take a page from Miller’s book and learn something from their pathetic behavior.