Save the World By Owning Your Personal Brand
The reason why Art is such a powerful medium for change and transfiguration is because it can disengage the cognitive mind. Or if you‘re a musician, it complements it through pattern recognition and resonance. Through resonance, art lowers our guard, allowing listeners, viewers and creators to step into a more vulnerable realm together. Within that space, we develop emotional connections to one another, as well as to inspirational qualities, or Brand, that informs, maintains, and nurtures that relationship.
With that in mind, Artists right now have a responsibility to understand that the power of their platform has never been stronger.
If you are not building your Personal Brand right now, as a creative content maker of any kind, you are missing a crucial window of opportunity. I’ll unpack that in a minute. You are also passing up an important opportunity for citizens to collectively drive a wedge between corporations and consumers. This is how the influencer marketing movement became so powerful so quickly. I think that its power is still largely untapped, as so much of the influencer bandwidth is wasted on fantasy-lifestyle obsessions and product advertisements.
So, let’s get in to this, real talk.
Are we as ‘woke’ as we like to believe? How can we make more effective choices and take more effective actions?
The rate of technology and interconnection is accelerating, and it is taking along with it our attention span and tolerance for intrusive marketing outside of our sphere of influence. After all, we are now so pressed for time, that we are forced to regard every moment as more precious (Eureka! A blessing in disguise, really). Mostly, we tend to look toward those we admire on social media, or companies with compatible branding and ethical public standing for what we should be buying and paying attention to. Paying out our time for. Corporations are unable to keep marketing strategies in place long enough before we again change our consumption behavior…and as Gary Vaynerchuk said:
Whoever is closest to the consumer, wins. Period.
The Entity can no longer keep up with the Individual…for now.
We are beginning to look to our more immediate sphere of influence on social media: friends, peers and family. It’s as though by accelerating into a globally connected future, our instincts are returning us to act locally and look to our neighbors for optimal decision-making. I believe this is a great thing. While physical borders are going up, virtual borders are vanishing. By taking advantage of this fluctuating dynamic of trust between corporations and consumers, we may stand a chance of successfully re-incentivizing our economy in a healthier direction.
In case you’re still in the dark, the jig is up: our economy is busted. It’s not a coincidence that a businessman who specializes in navigating the waters of bankruptcy is President. We’re in a slow motion demolition. I’m not a fan of blanket statements (I prefer to ramble on to prove a point), but anyone who says otherwise is in denial or can’t see the forest for the trees. It doesn’t mean the US is going the way of the Soviet Union — after all, we have a much more robust national economy than the USSR did before it collapsed, and the world’s most powerful military, and the ability to print currency to our heart’s content — however, the writing is on the wall that we are heading into a convergence of some very large events. The behavioral, economic and cultural zeitgeist is shifting fast, and we are experiencing in real-time the transition from a Unilateral world into an integrated, West-East Multipolar economy.
The next 10–20 years are going to lead to vast changes. When one entity controls too much of the competition, it in fact loses the very force of dynamic interplay that allowed it to evolve and sustain itself. Short term gains and rapid growth are astounding, but the price paid becomes increasingly high, and as the competition becomes monopolized, merged & acquired….you start having to find other ways to wring the last drops of water out of the money towel. Fractional Reserve Banking. Derivative Markets. Credit. Debt. More rent-seeking and less production. Leveraging things that aren’t tangible. Real people, billions of people, are directly affected by this. This is why some people may say that Capitalism eats its own head….not wrong, but it’s a bit of a linguistic fallacy. It’s Capitalism with a short-term incentive structure that doesn’t take into account the overall fitness of the system. There are so many other ways to exchange value in free markets, it barely matters. What matters is identifying the root cause, gaining awareness of our surroundings, and acting in a way that efficiently allows us to reframe and reallocate our values as a society without letting the world fall into chaos.
Remember, there are billions of individuals & communities that are about to come online in a big way. They have little-to-no access to the western banking system, nor the ID credentials necessary to participate in our current economy. When global WiFi has proliferated, these folks will be going straight to the most advanced technology and commerce options available on the global market. No dial-up, no dot-com bullshit — powerful, meaningful, myriad ways of transacting with others around the world, with minimal centralization. To disregard this is to miss what’s already in the process of happening.
When the next contraction/collapse does happen, it will effectively ruin the ‘brand’ of many companies, banks and individuals who will be held responsible.
At that next convergence point, we have an opportunity: to rebuild our Brand as a collective global community. Globalism is coming in one form or another — we may as well do our part to make it work best for everyone.
Artists are effectively all Brand Ambassadors. An Ambassador for what? That’s up to you. If you feel compelled to affect positive change in the world, it’s time to pony up your message, educate yourself continually on what’s happening around the world, discover creative solutions being discussed, and use your platforms to convey the present opportunities to everyone you know.
Even if you have a network of 200 people, and say only 10 of those people engage directly in what you’re sharing….those 10 people likely have a few hundred or thousand connections pooled together, and if what you’re conveying is precise enough, comes with a participatory Ask (require something of your patrons), and impactful enough, then they are all the more likely to feel their own sense of responsibility to share what you presented. This could just be a great piece of music that is effective at bringing positive emotions to the surface, or a dark graphic novel that stirs up some shadow-self for you to face. And with that space of shared emotional vulnerability that good art brings us to, we can transmit compressed messages in an engaging way. It’s not just about tackling social issues - it’s about elevating each other to a vantage point from which we can see together, clearly. It’s about holding space for incongruent ideas in your mind, giving you the faculties to connect with more people. From that elevated perspective, we can make much better choices that serve our brothers and sisters around the world.
Here’s the thing: with every convergence point that Empires have experienced in the past through rises and falls, also comes a massive transfer of wealth. When the thing no longer maintains equilibrium, the polarity eventually flips.
And looking back at most societal ‘overhauls’, these are typically followed by a Renaissance period. Art flourishes. So I invite all of my creative colleagues out there to ramp up your inputs and outputs, get on target and keep playing your part in bringing about Game B. Game A is pretty worn out.