Rebranding Like a Badass
I have been totally slacking off on my blog lately - oops!
I promise I have some brilliant new content coming soon. In the meantime, here is an article on how and why I even have a blog to begin with, originally written for and published as a guest blog on The Opera Stage.
Earlier this year, after having dropped off the proverbial face of the earth for a while, I took steps to relaunch my singing career in a brand-new fach - and with a brand-new brand. So, when the lovely people at The Opera Stage asked me to write a post for their blog series, we agreed that a "how I did it" account of my rebrand was the way to go.
But the more I tried to write the post, the more lost I got trying to make sense of what I did.
Full disclosure, I know nothing about marketing; in the list of my singing related skills, I don't even think it makes the top 10. And while I am totally aware that I now have a brand and that it is decidedly different from any brand (or lack thereof) I had previously, nothing I did in the time between then and now was part of a conscious "rebranding" effort. I was just trying to create a viable product and sort-of stumbled across my brand in the process.
After several failed attempts to write a post that was both coherent and more than a few sentences long, I found this quote in a Forbes article by Jerry McLaughlin, and my experience started to make sense:
Beginning in the later part of the 20th century, marketers began to grasp there was more to the perception of distinctive products and services than their names—something David Ogilvy described as “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.” Marketers realized that they could create a specific perception in customers’ minds concerning the qualities and attributes of each non-generic product or service. They took to calling this perception “the brand.”
I realized that I had been going about my post all wrong - that I'd been trying to recontextualize my rebranding experience as something it wasn't.
This realization was a huge relief on two fronts: first, because it confirmed I wasn't losing my grasp on reality; and second, because within the context of cause-and-effect, I can coherently (and, hopefully, insightfully) explain how I rebranded.
STEP ONE: IMPROVE THE PRODUCT "Nothing will work unless you do."
If I had to pick a starting point for this incarnation of my brand, it would be when an established dramatic soprano was kind enough to point me in the direction of some fabulous arias that not only suited my voice at the time, but helped it grow, and showed where that growth would lead.
For me, "Step One: Improve the Product" meant becoming a professional recluse until I had 5 arias and a solid high C good-to-go. After all, there wasn't much I could do professionally without an audition package and reliably integrated upper extensions.
STEP TWO: BECOME VISIBLE
"May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears."
When my 5 arias and a C were getting close, I figured it was time to start looking into auditions again. That meant updating my materials. I also created a website (because that seemed like the thing to do), a professional Facebook page (because I was already familiar with the platform from my personal profile), a Twitter account (because it's the most used social media platform), and an Instagram account (because why not?). I wanted to ensure that if anyone was interested enough to look for me on the Internet, there would be something to find.
While playing around with my website, I decided to take an old inside joke and make it a part of my brand name. Instead of "Bryn Jimenez, soprano," or "Bryn Jimenez, dramatic soprano," I went with "Bryn Jimenez, badass soprano." It’s very "me" to be slightly irreverent. Plus, as my name is a little hard to remember (and to spell), telling people to look for "badass soprano" when they want to stalk me online has already paid off.
STEP THREE: INTERACT PUBLICLY
"We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have done." -H.W. Longfellow
With my materials ready and my online presence established, the next logical step was to become more active in the public sphere. In addition to submitting myself for auditions and generally making myself available to be heard by interested parties, I started blogging and participating more on social media.
Obviously, the singing parts of this step are my favourites, but it has also been really satisfying to connect with like-minded colleagues who I may or may not have had reason to associate with otherwise. Getting back out there and auditioning has been great, but getting involved in a few projects that promote body positivity in opera - a topic I'm passionate about and that I believe is so important to the industry - has been great, as well. But I digress . . .
STEP FOUR: REPEAT STEPS ONE, TWO, AND THREE
"Art is never finished, only abandoned."
-Leonardo da Vinci
Now that I've completed the cycle once I realize that it's an endless loop. My rebrand isn't a finite product, it's an infinite process. Every step, every action is a catalyst that creates new challenges and new opportunities.
Photo credit: Shannon Langman Photography