Apparently this column is making my “brand” confusing. At least that’s the opinion of a marketing person I ran into the other day. He said my persona at the different places I work is a “mishmash,” ranging from thoughtful to silly. He offered to make my “product” consistent so my “consumers” know what to expect.
Bif Naked has received similar advice. The rocker’s manager once told her, “never talk on stage; it will betray your agro persona.”
She ignored the suggestion and now the Juno-winner proudly expresses her “touchy-feely” side too, striving to, “keep the lips flapping; never shut-up and never give-up.”
Bif says it’s our responsibility to “live honestly.” The 42-year-old really learned the lesson while successfully battling breast cancer.
Before she was sick, the singer wouldn’t say how she felt or what she needed, and would be disappointed when others couldn’t read her mind.
And now? “(Now I know) you will not die from somebody rejecting you. If you can be willing to be emotionally uncomfortable in the short term, you will sail through life. You will have a very good time.”
The creator of TV’s Corner Gas advises vulnerability and “authenticity” too. Brent Butt says it’s the key to being hilarious.
He says successful stand-up comics “come at something from their own unique perspective.” In order to write that way, you need to tune-out what others are doing and be aware of “whatever you think is truly funny. There’s a much greater chance others will find it funny too. Authenticity and truth go a long way.”
Butt says you don’t want to analyze comedy too much “because it’s mercurial. And you don’t want the magic to wonder off.” So listen to your gut, say what you feel and practice.
Unlike a “brand,” the creative spirit is not expressed in a consistent way; it includes the significant, the superficial and everything in between. Brands strive to manage their consumer’s expectations by being predictable; great artists aim to surprise us with a different perspective on our world.
My job is to be a bridge between creative people and their audience. Instead of worrying about my “brand” – or even having a “brand,” I’m trying to do what feels right.
Adam Sawatsky reports on arts & lifestyle weekdays
on CTV News Vancouver Island with Hudson Mack.
On weekends he hosts Eye on the Arts on CFAX 1070.