Over the past few months, I have been playing with rebranding my musical web presence. I've gotten logos designed and played with ideas. Here's a few, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
A friend of mine recently decided to undergo a full scale re-brand. For her, this means completely dissolving who she was as a musician and committing to time spent working out who she really wants to be, how she wants to present and what it will mean for her, should she continue with her musical life and reform her musical identity in the future.
Now, her friendship and personality are solid entities to me, entities I love and with which I truly enjoy engaging. Whether or not she's a musician, and how she chooses to present as such, matters little to how I see her.
But for her, the dissolving of her musical identity, removing her musical footprint and completely shutting down her "music business", was seriously scary, seriously soul-shaking. It required a lot of pre-thinking, big risk taking and not a few tears. Identity, it seems, is a slippery creature, who can call, from the deep, to be released from the confines we've encased her in.
Part of this is all fun and games. It's playful and exciting....till its time to commit to something. It's got me thinking through lots of fun and philosophical circles.
1.In the days before the internet, branding was something an artist did only before an album release or a tour began, when there was actually a product to market. Now, despite being "product makers", what we're marketing is ....well....ourselves. The whole internet "revolution" for artists of all kinds, has meant a great connection opportunity between artist and fan. This has spawned a lot of fame for a lot of people. But, as I, Paris Hilton and all the Kardashians have realised, what we're really marketing is an image, a brand, a vibe, for which we do not need a product (or, in my case, a new product). This suddenly makes branding a really weird thing. I'm not just choosing the image of my current project. I’m choosing a brand for me. This is how people will see me, understand me, judge me, or at the very least, decide if they want to listen to my music. Me, as captured by a brand and expressed by logos, colour palates, websites and promotional material. And I’m meant to be ok with that….
2. Even having accepted that I must express myself with a brand, I am struck, as I scroll through my designers repertoires, looking for the designer I want to use, that I have, it turns out, many personalities; many “personal brands”.
I have a serious, multiple-personality branding issue. So, how do I choose? How do I go with just one? In the era of selling the personal brand, can someone ever truly be fully themselves? Can Kim Kardashian's inner clog wearing, dreadlock developing, recycled hippie self ever show its face in the light of day? Perhaps fashion will give it its time in the sun. After all, who'd have guessed, back in the early 80's, that my inner ugg-boot wearing self could have had its time in the fashion-sun. But, here we are.....and I would like to point out, for the record, that I also wore onesies in the 80's, though only as sleepwear, as they well should remain, in my humble opinion.
3. Choosing a personal brand is, I have to reluctantly admit, rather fun. But I wonder if that is a dangerous enjoyment. What if I believe my personal brand and become someone who is so convinced of her own branding, which tells her she must only wear Birks and hang out a coffee houses, that I can never glam out and go totally six-inch heal gorgeous? How much of life might I miss if I believe I can only be what I’ve chosen as “my brand”? Which brings me to my next point
4. Is personal brand something that is, at least in part, dictated by socioeconomic level? Because, in all reality, I simply can't afford to only eat at famous restaurants, wearing $1500 shoes or, for that matter, live in NYC. I also don't live in Portland. In fact, is my brand affected by my nationality and location too? Does the fact that I live in Sydney have to define my brand? How can I live a “Portland” brand anywhere in Australia???
These, and many more questions, fill my mind as I sort through my logos and colour schemes, photos and language choices, building up an all-new website, with an all-new look and an all-new focus.
Despite the trials of re-branding, it is all there for a purpose, the re-brand is happening because I, myself, personally, am wanting a change. And this is the positive side of branding......I have a canvas on which I can express my inner changes. Which brings me back to my musical friend, who has dissolved her musical identity, and has found it traumatic...because part of her is dissolving as well - or perhaps, it already had dissolved and she's just catching up with it, in the material world.
I, too, am dissolving and reforming. Perhaps we all are, all the time. I am deciding on new focuses and new directions. I'm now offering song coaching, via my website, for those wanting help improving and refining their songs and their performance of those songs. I've also started a few new endeavours of a non-musical bent and as a result, I've been porting websites around the web-o-sphere. If you check out naomicrain.com now, you'll find a landing page, outlining a bunch of things I'm working on. I'd love you to check it out, and tell me what you think in the comments below, explore what I'm doing and offering. If you want to find my music, it's now living at naomicrainmusic.com and that site is in the process of being "remodelled".
What do you think about personal branding – fun, internet-age pass time or dangerous, personality-dysfunction inducing nightmare? Had any personal branding meltdowns or victories? Let me know in the comments below.