Branding 101

branding101

Without a doubt, the best branding lesson I learned came from music executive TJ Chapman.

This was back in 2009 when I was attending the Core DJ’s conference in Atlanta and TJ was a panelist.  I didn’t know much about him at the time aside from knowing he was a DJ and that he was managing a new artist named B.O.B.

For TJ, branding is about consistency.

And for him, its in the name.

“TJsDJs” If you want to find me that’s where you look.

His website and social media are all the same.

www.tjsdjs.com

http://www.facebook.com/tjsdjs

http://www.twitter.com/tjdjs

You get the point.

Everytime I hear someone mention their social media on an interview I recognize the importance of brand consistancy.  “Well my twitter is this, my youtube is this, my website is this…”

They lost me after the first one.  How do you expect a casual listener to hear them all?

As someone with the name “D.O.” I took note.

When “D.O.” became my rap name it was before the days of Google.

The main thing for me was walking into a CD store and seeing my CD in the “D” section.

But now we live in an era where new Social Media sites and trend change quickly.

I knew I needed to have some brand consistency.

I went with the “I am” after seeing someone like Diddy use it as well.

But it wasn’t enough.  There was someone on Instagram with iamdo – with all of three followers.

I put the “Gibson” in to ensure that I could use “iamdogibson” on all platforms.

Now where ever the latest app takes off people know where to find me.

I encourage you do the same.

 

 

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I liked grants when they were on paper

I’m not being nostalgic when I say that I liked grants when they were on paper.

Back in the days when I had to print out the application and fill it in with a pen.

Back when I had to press CDR’s and print a label that I would meticulously apply on to the CD.

I liked having to go to the post office and mail it off.

I even liked having to drive thirty minutes downtown to drop off the application at the office if it was deadline day.

I liked all of these things because I know most people weren’t willing to do it.

They weren’t willing to put in the extra work required and as a result, the odds swung in my favour.

Now its more of a level playing field.  It’s easier to write an application.

It should be a good thing – grants are accessible to a wider variety of applicants.

But with standardization, it has limited the ability to stand out.

Back then I would print with colour.  My marketing plans were often more than twenty pages so I would get them coiled at Staples.  The attention to detail made it stick out.

Now everything is done at your computer.  It’s tough to stand out.

But not impossible.  Knowing the importance of sticking out, I continue to look for the extra step that I can take to separate from the pack.

 

Write It Down

I’m a freestyler.  I like to think on my feet.

Just as quick as I say a rap, I’m thinking about the next one.

The same thing used to happen to ideas- some for business, some for songs, some were just cool lines that I could fit into a song.

I’d come up with them and swear that I’d remember, only to forget.

That doesn’t happen to me much anymore.

I’ve learned the importance of writing things down.

I used to carry a small notebook around to do this.  But then sometimes I would forget a pen.

Now I just use my phone.  I use an app called Evernote so that I can write down ideas, songs, anything of note.

It’s great because it also is synched with my Macbook so that I can check my ideas later on.

Don’t miss out on your next big idea!

Write it down.

 

Getting the grant is only the first step

It’s exciting to tell an artist that they have received a grant.

Especially their first one.

There is nothing like that feeling.

The Government is giving you money to record your music!  The way YOU want to do it.

However, one thing I’ve seen many artists fail to realize is that getting the grant is only the first step.

The music? That’s the easy part.  At least it should be because that’s the fun part.

The challenge often comes with completing the grant.

I’ve seen artists struggle with this step time and time again.

I’ve even seen artists have to send a cheque back to the grant organization because they failed to complete the grant properly.

Oftentimes this will be an artist that has just received one of their first grants.
Its usually not a big grant – not the 10,000 album grant or the 15,000 marketing grant.

It’s often a demo or showcasing grant – roughly 1500.

These artists want to move on to the bigger grants.

But one thing that I think is –  How do you think you can handle 15,000 when you can’t handle 1500?

The cold reality is – they can’t.  At least not yet.  They aren’t ready.

I’ve received over 200 grants and one of the key reasons is my track record.

How do you get more grants?

Take it step by step.  Complete it on time or ask for an extension – and then complete it.

Become a success story by maximizing your grant.

Then you’ll be on your way to receiving more..

 

 

Successful People

successful people meme

The only thing I like more than coming up with ideas is sharing them with others.

I find that when I share them with the right person, they get inspired as well, and it fires both of us up.

But on the other side, sometimes I share an idea and someone will respond “Okay, so what’s in it for me?”

Immediately my energy level comes down.  I don’t have as much excitement.

Part of me thinks – they just don’t get it.

But a bigger part of me is disappointed.

To me its scarcity versus abundance.

When you say “What’s in it for me” you are thinking scarcity – there is not enough to go around so you have to focus on yourself.

When you think abundance, you are thinking – lets go harvest the fruit so that we can continue to build a bigger farm.  You realize that the possibilities are endless.

I try to surround myself with people that help others and that are in a positive mood.  It tends to rub off, and I want some more of that hypeness!

 

 

You don’t have enough bad ideas…

Heard this from Seth Godin while attending the Arch Angel summit last year in Toronto.

For Seth, success isn’t about having good ideas its more about not having enough bad ideas

 “You don’t have enough good ideas…no, you don’t have enough bad ideas.”

It’s counter intuitive.  Why are bad ideas important?

I think it comes down to the left and right parts of the brain.

The right part is creative.  It brainstorms.  It thinks of possibilities of why it will be successful.

The left part analyzes.  It criticizes.  It thinks of why it won’t work.

We need both parts, but in the creative process we need the right part the most.

We need to think of possibilities.  We can hone those possibilities in later.

I’m glad that I learned this lesson in creative writing class in high school.  I learned the power of stream of consciousness writing.  Each morning our teacher would have us write for ten minutes without editing or stopping.  As a rapper, I do this when I freestyle.  My best freestyles aren’t at the beginning of the rap when I’m thinking about things, but rather half way thru the rap.

As a songwriter it means acknowledging that you have to write bad songs to get to the good ones.

As a comedian it means working out bad jokes in order to find the ones that get the big laughs.

In either case its about generating ideas, not evaluating.  That comes later.

But its not just generating ideas.  It’s about acting on them.  Its about accepting that you will make mistakes, and that these missteps are necessary on the way to success.

Sometimes you have to take an “L” to get to a “W”

Unsubscribe

I get at least 100 emails a day.

Oftentimes more.

I’m not alone.  Many people, especially those in business receive over 100 emails a day.

It can be intimidating opening your browser to find hundreds of unread emails.

What makes it worst is when you take a day off.  Suddenly 100 emails turns into 200 which can quickly turn into 300.

When I take a business trip for a couple of days and am away from my computer most of the time it isn’t uncommon for me to amass over 1000 emails.

Are they all important?

Of course not.  Out of that 100 maybe 20 are.  Another 20 are quick responses.  But at least half of them are junk.  Some are blatant junk, others are emails being sent because I am on a list.  Half of the time I don’t know how I got on the list, but I’m on the list.

That’s when I realized a powerful button – unsubscribe.

I began to unsubscribe to these sites that send me emails a few times a week.  They aren’t important, they aren’t urgent.  They are barely relevant.

I like a good deal, but I don’t need Groupon and Buytopia emails in my inbox everyday.  I rarely – if ever – purchase anything from them.

I’ve only started doing this but I’ve already seen a change.  My emails are down each day.  I look forward to hitting the unsubscribe button so that I can lower that amount.

By removing the clutter you can get more done in less time.  And solve (well at least partially) the challenge of staring at the inbox.