Branding: An Artistic Dilemma

As I continue to work on my final project, I’ve been thinking about how to maximize my project’s reach and impact. One difficulty I am finding is that my project is a finite product, unlike some of my classmate’s that are starting company’s, and thus the marketing and impact of my brand is in a way limited to the length of my piece, the amount of times it is presented, and the number of people who see it. So I thought if my one project is limited, I should focus on marketing myself. I can create an infinite amount of product, thus it is smarter to brand myself then a singular product.

Brandicapped

brandicapped

As for branding, I learned the basic concepts from our reading of Brandicapped?, by Mel Epstein. He lays out the three steps of the branding process:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you do?
  3. What makes you memorable?

Although these see seem like obvious answers to branding myself, reading his little story and learning that I need to “Know Everything I Can Possibly Know”  made me really start to wonder who I am as an artist and what I wanted to do. For the most part, I never considered myself a writer, but that is indeed what I am doing for my project so that has to be apart of my brand or my business.  As Mel say’s, “the brand is the business and the business is the brand.”

Branding Conflict 

The further I continued this thought process, especially in thinking of myself as the business in Mel’s catch phrase, the more I felt uncomfortable with the idea of branding myself. As I research, I find myself more and more disgusted by the actions of corporations, especially in the documentary The Corporation, and now that I am positioning myself as such I realize how much self-branding and marketing conflicts with my own artistic integrity.

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On one hand, if you don’t find yourself a strong brand, and advertise your work, it won’t be heard, and thus cannot have any impact. On the other hand, its seems to be dehumanizing when I try define myself in terms that are trying to sell me and my work. Obviously, some sort of branding needs to occur for me to be seen as a professional, but seeing that I am a living, breathing human and not a corporation, I will not follow Mel’s process to a T. Still, Mel’s advice of “know (ing), play (ing), (and) do(ing)” is really helpful as I continue to develop my artistic identity.

So far I have:

Haley Sakamoto
Musical Theatre Artist and Writer

 

A logo, incorporating some environmental/social justice design is in the works, for that is mostly what I want to write and work on in my work.