Are You A Brand? Are You A Person?

How do you stand out? How do you become memorable?

Think about the waitress who has a spark in her eye…the one who goes out of her way to make you feel special, the one who you think is best at what she does. If a specific person comes to mind it means she has been successful in creating a connection with you. This connection will appear effortless and authentic. You understand who she is, her passion for what she does and the value she places on her relationship with you. Her “brand” has made an impression.

Branding is about how you are perceived and how other people feel when they recall the experience of their encounter with you or your product. Therefore it is the experience of the human connection that is important.

Today the consumer is in charge of the conversation…not the business. An online  “conversation” can literally happen in a millisecond. We scan because our attention is our most valuable asset. We engage only if it is important enough to invest our time and attention.

GETTING YOUR MESSAGE ACROSS

Focus is everything. The reader must be able to determine who you are, what you offer, how you do it and whether or not they choose to participate in a matter of seconds. . Following basic branding principles helps you focus your presentation. It will help you discover what makes you unique by forcing you to think differently about how you present yourself.

Ask yourself these questions:

What are your core values? How do you support these values? What is your promise to your reader/client? Can you define the culture of your business? Describe your personality? What do you aspire to? Define how your characteristics makes you unique?

Asking yourself these questions (going through a branding process) will keep your messaging clear and concise.

Never forget:

You are not an inanimate object. You are a person. Branding is only a tool to help you express yourself. Make connections with people (through authentic, concise messaging) and your brand value will rise.

http://www.chrisboardmanmedia.com

Collaborative Consumption-striving for greatness in a collaborative world.

How often do you buy something you want vs. something you need? Do you have the disposable income to buy a product or music on a whim, listen to it once, or, in some cases, never listen to it? Buy a coat, dress, pants or shirt and wear it infrequently? Prior to the 2008 economic crash the answer was most likely much different than today.

Our cultural values and buying habits are shifting. More value is being placed on access rather than ownership, or the concept of collaborative consumption. What’s mine is yours to share.

This is a wave that cannot be ignored. The question we all face is: “how do we adapt?”

With the demise of traditional sales channels we have all had to rethink how to sell our goods and services. I wonder how we can all be GREAT at one thing while we attempt to expand our skill sets to include marketing, promotion, sales, etc. I don’t know about you, but there are not enough hours in the day to be the best musician I can be.

What is the answer? Well, if I knew that I’d be on my private jet…flitting about the world on a whim.

I do know this. To stand out from the crowd requires dedication to excellence and the discipline to work hard enough to achieve it. (check out Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers”).

I am about 2/3 of the way through reading  “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson. The common theme  is Jobs’ obsession with brilliant products. When Jobs came back to run Apple he immediately scrapped 70% of the Apple product line. His view was: “focus on 4 products and make them great”. They were: 1 pro laptop, 1 pro desktop, 1 consumer laptop and 1 consumer desktop. Focusing on making great product enabled Apple to create exceptional value for it’s customer.

Rising above the noise of the Social Web.

We should all, musicians and non-musicians alike, strive for greatness rather than trying to appease everyone (confusing everyone in the process). “Great” will always have value. There will always be a desire for great. Who cares about mediocracy?

The silver lining may well come from the notion of “collaborative consumption”. As we continue to find more efficient means to live our lives I would like to optimistically think that discretionary spending will increase for products and services the consumer considers to be not only “great” but of “great value”.

Art is not going away. It has survived since the beginning of recorded history. Economic and political cycles come and go. Art adapts to these challenges and survives…in large part because of the human need for expression.

Take a lesson from Steve Jobs: focus on creating “Great product”.

Social Media for the Film Composer

What is your strategy to succeed and do you have a social media strategy  to help you advance your career as a composer? Ever thought about it in those terms?

Ever wondered why you aren’t getting traction?

Never forget: It’s all about relationships. Period.

It’s a given that competition is tough. There are certainly more applicants than jobs available. How can you create an edge?

Improve your interpersonal skills. 

Rather than focus on “please give me a job” (as we all do from time to time) shift your thinking. Focus your energies creating connections–not jobs.

If you are like me, for the most part I feel most comfortable when I’m working, alone in my studio. As a result, it has taken great effort on my part to improve my interpersonal skills to where I can: walk up to anyone and start a conversation, ask questions, engage them in a conversation and walk away knowing more about them than they know about me. Sometimes things click, mostly not. At the very least if I meet someone and they walk away with a positive experience I feel that it was a successful encounter…giving myself the opportunity to potentially work with them in the future.

People like to work with people they know and feel comfortable with.

Sales is a numbers game. You are not going to work for everyone you meet. FYI Direct mail conversion rates are about 1-2%. Click through for online ads is about .10 of 1% (1 out of 1000). But, just like dating, the more you do it the more confidence you will have which increases your potential of success.

How can social media help you? You can virtually reach more people online than in person. Use comment threads, status updates, tweets to share your personal brand. Readers will develop an image of who you are, what you stand for if you are consistent about the way you share information online. And, of course, the music you make.

Who knows who you will meet? More importantly- you never know where seemingly chance encounters will lead.

“Being Cool-How to create engaging relationships (and change lives)

Is being “cool” a subjective term? For some, being cool is as attractive as a flame to a moth. For others it is something to be avoided. Whatever your opinion we all think of it as a “mysterious quality” that some people have and others don’t.

Don’t believe it. Being “cool” is a combination of three personality traits. And, regardless of your natural aptitudes your “coolness” can be nurtured and refined.

What makes somebody “cool”?

Having discipline, willpower and the ability to focus attention.

Like most patients I instantly feel more comfortable when my doctor comes into the exam room if I sense he is in control of his emotions, unflappable and can focus their attention on me, rather than the multitude of distractions available. In this instance being able to focus your attention really means being able to listen attentively.

Why is attentive listening “cool”?

Focusing your attention while listening is when the magic happens. Focused attention opens the door to making real and lasting connections. It is only after such a connection is made that you can be truly compassionate and empathetic. As the world continues to change at such a dramatic pace our attraction to authentic relationships will become more and more important. Great value can be derived by simply by listening well. Without even realizing it your “cool” factor will increase.

Why is discipline “cool”?

We all face difficult situations. Those who maintain their self-control usually manage to navigate through rough waters while those who react emotionally will have a more difficult time. The phrase: “cool under fire” comes to mind. Don’t we all prefer to be around people who seem unflappable?

Determination is defined as a “firm or fixed intention to achieve a desired end”. Why is Kobe Bryant, Michael Jackson or any other successful athlete or performer deemed “cool?” They have all used their willpower and determination to achieve their goals. We instinctively gravitate towards winners because at some level we want to share in and identify with their success.

And why is being “cool” so important?

We have reached a milestone as a culture. Almost without exception we have learned to spot a phony a mile away. We no longer will accept being sold a bill of goods.

Using social media effectively requires that you offer the reader something more than what you receive in return. What better than to offer them the chance to experience an authentic connection? Now that would really be “cool”!

Increasing your “cool” factor is not mysterious. It’s actually rather simple:

  • Listen with focused attention (enabling authentic connections)
  • Strive to be disciplined (staying on message)
  • Never give up (pursuing your goals)

How will that change lives?

You will undoubtedly affect the lives of those around you. And, you may realize one day that you are, in fact, pretty cool!