Hey family! I pray that all is well with you and that in the last week you have discovered something awesome about yourself, and maybe even a flaw that you now want to improve upon. I know I have! LOL
In this week's blog I want to touch on Brand Loyalty, but from a bit of a different lens. These days everyone has and is a "brand." Not really, but if you look at social media...yeah. *rolls eyes and smirks* However, with that it is often a big thing amongst us all that we incite and create brand loyalty. By definition, brand loyalty is ─according to Investopedia.com─ when consumers become committed to your brand and make repeat purchases over time. Brand loyalty is a result of consumer behavior and is affected by a person's preferences. Loyal customers will consistently purchase products from their preferred brands, regardless of convenience or price.
Now consumers doesn’t mean what you put out is necessarily for "sale" or something to be purchased, per se. But consumers in terms of those that partake in your business and output in whatever fashion that is.
As a business, regardless of industry or genre, we want to encourage and see the fiscal results of Brand Loyalty. We want to recoup the brand equity that brand loyalty provides ─making us noticeable, desirable and acquirable even. However, how loyal are you to your own brand?
This question came to me as I am continuing my pursuits as an actor. I have been a part of some amazing projects and child I have been in some BAD ones as well. There are projects that I do not ever pull out of the archives and that I purposely leave off of my resume.
Over time, as I've grown as an actor and also as a producer and content creator/filmmaker, I realize what excites me. What projects make me wish I had been a part of them due to their topics, production value, marketing strategies, casts, etc. I realize that I live for visuals with texture, color and amazing cinematography. I want to be a part of, and tell stories that evoke emotion, that edutain (educate and entertain) and that really TELL a story. I love dialogue that is wonderfully and fearlessly written (whether for media, books, blogs or oration), characters that give a realistic and expanded (non-monolithic) view of the people that I know and come across, or that I want to know and/or encounter.
I use all of these criteria to keep me focused when submitting for auditions, when speaking to my various management about what I'm looking to do, when I'm creating and casting my own work and even when I'm being considered for, or hired for other work behind the scenes as a producer, AD, director or writer. I have to be very conscious of the things I engage in on whatever level at this juncture, because over the last few years I've built a very visible brand and through that, a level of expectation of the work that I am a part of or that I put out.
I have become extremely loyal to the brands that I'm building and the image and perception that I want to project to the public about that brand. I am committed to the standard of excellence that I'd like to present. I walk in that from my attire, to the photos I post, to my social media footprint, my conversation and my work. Now I've stumbled, made poor choices and have had to catch myself, correct myself or be spoken to by those in my circle that hold me accountable. And I've done my best to make the necessary adjustments. It's not easy or fun most times, but the lessons learned make for a stronger effort moving forward.
Have you been doing the same? Have you been loyal to the brand that you have in your head, versus the perception of your brand in the public? Do you provide your own system of quality control and checks and balances? Are you unbiased when it comes to your final product and its level of quality? Do you figure, "oh well, folks get that I'm indie so they won't mind if the audio is a bit shaky?" Do you tell yourself that it's okay if the score is not that great, cuz the project is dope, or that it's okay if the writing has a host of plot holes, redundancy or too much dialogue because the acting is good? Do you say "well I could have directed that actor better, dressed that scene less, been more creative with my shots, wardrobe or editing...but it's okay cuz it's my first piece, or cuz they know how I do..." Do you justify the typos, misspellings, misappropriated words or improper formatting of your script with, well only the actors will see it anyway, or your written material (bios, one-sheets, press releases, blog or social media posts) because hey, everyone makes mistakes, right? WRONG!
If you have done any of those things, or overlooked any other prominent flaws in your work (of whatever kind), made excuses for poor quality, swept lackluster efforts under the rug; then you have been disloyal to your own brand. And as a result, you cannot and should not expect to get brand loyalty from the public, when you couldn't even give it to yourself.
Now when we know better, we do better. And in the creative world, as with many other industries and spaces, many people are smart but lack some of the business acumen and possibly vocabulary and extended exposure to higher-level work and administrative practices to do better. That I do not fault. And far be it to be taken as I am the all-knowing in those realms, as I am still growing and going with many of you! However, I encourage you all...if you are the smartest person in your group don't rest on that. Yes, continue to lead and set the example in that group, but also seek out a new group for yourself where you are not the leader of the pack. This allows you to and encourages you to grow. Find people that you respect and that have proven successful in your areas of interest. Get a mentor that will be open to constructive critiques of your work, but will also be a cheerleader for you when things are seemingly bleak or a source of guidance when you are unsure or indecisive about next steps. Create a group of lateral and multi-level colleagues that will hold you accountable for deadlines, quality of output and consistently creating. When you surround yourself with folks you respect and trust, you are often beholden to a greater standard and want to do well in your group, thus really holding yourself accountable to the level of work that you do.
Personal brand loyalty begins and continues with personal and career development. In the world of finance, when you pass your stock brokers exam, you are required over the years to take continuing education courses to keep up with new happenings, technological advances that affect your industry and so on. As a lawyer or a doctor or any type of licensed healthcare provider, you are required to do the same. But many creative and independent jobs have no set requirements for continuing education to keep sharp and engaged. So I say, take it upon yourself to do that. Whether it's surrounding yourself with others like you, going to see those that are doing it well and being inspired, taking workshops, attending seminars, taking specific classes, and the like.
Here at MOOREthanEnuff Media, we want to see you win; whether you’re creative, corporate or some combination of the two. We want to see you hold yourself accountable to work that is above-board, work that is beyond reproach (which is not to be mistaken for believing that everyone will love and or get it, because that is not realistic; however, even if they hate it, they won't be able to knock the quality of the work). We want to see you Shining Starrs SOAR!!!!
So become your own brand loyalist! Set yourself up to win and then reach back and help someone else do the same. Stay true to your niche if you have one, and even in expansion make it happen family!
Tell us some of your strategies for success and improvement and share this post with others to encourage them to be great as well.