Monday, June 20, 2011

Continuity: An Essential Ingredient for Success

You've heard me talk on this blog about how the music industry now requires artists to come to the table with the total package, but also with that total package industry leaders are seeking continuity and consistency between all the elements of that artist's total package. According to Dan Kimpel, popular music industry journalist and author, there has to be harmony between the artist's music, appearance (on stage, in person, and in photos and videos), and written materials (bio, press, print and online articles).

But what I sometimes find in my work with clients is a total disregard for the essential ingredient of continuity or connection. I'll have a manager, publicist, or label who wants to hire me to help their artist with their wardrobe styling, but not with their media coaching or bio. Or, they will hire me to help with their media coaching but not with their wardrobe styling.

In fact, I remember working with an artist on media coaching where I really got to know the ins and outs of this artist's personality and personal approach to music. When I noticed that the stylist hired to assist this artist was putting him in high-end Italian designer clothes and shoes, it seemed to me that the stylist didn't really "get" the artist or his music, perhaps for not taking the time to do so. While he looked great and the stylist's clothing selections were beautiful, there was quite a disconnect between the visual image and the presentation of the artist.

Of course I work hard to enhance and improve the visual image of my clients, but I feel it's important to also preserve the essence of the real person by creating an enhanced look that they feel comfortable with and that still represents who they are. I use the same approach when helping a client integrate his or her look with his or her personal brand. The only way I can do these things well, is by really getting to know the artist which usually happens during the media coaching sessions.

I've often said that imaging is a process, which it is. But it's a multidimensional process that is made up not of sequential steps but of interdependent and interrelated methods. I've also found that there is a huge psychological component in what I do because a lot of it has to do with how my clients perceive themselves compared to how others perceive them. (And to think my dad was concerned that I'd never use my degree in psychology! Ha!)

But this idea of continuity is not just important for recording artists. This same principle applies to anyone seeking a career in any industry. Since my background is in career advising, I also have clients from other walks of life seeking my help in preparing them for job interviews, helping them with their resumes, and providing them with styling advice on business attire. In these cases, the job candidate must show a connection and consistency between what is written on their resume, how they present themselves in their job interview, and what message they are sending with their choice of attire.

While it's not a crime to have different experts helping you with different aspects of your image development, know that you'll have more continuity that industry leaders seek when you hire someone who has a holistic approach to developing your image. If you decide to consult a variety of experts, make sure they are ones who will and can communicate well with each other so that everyone is on the same page. It's just the smart thing to do!

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