My good friend, admired colleague, and DePauw alum Jon Silpayamanant (“the world’s foremost Klingon cellist”) makes a great point in his most recent post.
The notions of branding and self promotion are fairly easy to accept, it seems, by every performing artist or entertainer other than classical musicians (especially performers–composers learn early on that no one will play their music unless they ask, to put it mildly, people to perform it), with classical ballet dancers coming in a close second. Ballet dancers pretty much have to work for a company. Classical musicians can put on one-person concerts, so the opportunity to be proactive is ever present.
Branding? Sounds so commercial. Here’s another way to see it: it’s about clarifying who you are, and what the difference is that you make (or if you were being genuinely authentic, could be making) in the world. It starts inside, and in relationship with those who know and work with you well.
- Who am I?
- What do I do?
- What’s unique about it?
So while the word “branding” may have distasteful connotations to some of us in classical music, being clear about who you are and what you do, and appropriately communicating that is something we all benefit from.