A Career Built On Talent Alone Is Like A House Built On Sand.
Sudds and I were in a meeting yesterday with a young, energetic and immensely successful theatrical show producer. This guy is at the top of his game and has the branding and successful shows to prove it.
Among the many things we discussed was the unforgiving nature of the business and how if you aren’t careful with your reputation you may soon find yourself without one, scrambling to pick up the pieces while you beg people to hire or book you again.
Here’s what I learned from this meeting:
It doesn’t matter if you are amazing on stage. If you don’t carefully manage your brand reputation off stage your career will suffer significant setbacks and it may not fully recover. Like a house built on sand it may look impressive and last a little while but at the first sign of adversity or bad weather it will slowly sink, leaving a large hole to be filled by someone else.
The media would have us believe that we may end up like Mickey Rourke or Robert Downey Jr, who bounced back from ruined reputations and drug riddled oblivion to win the hearts of many.
Two things about those situations:
1. They are the exception, not the rule.
2. What they went through to recover pales in comparison to what they got out of it. We only see the movie premieres and magazine covers, not the decade of rejection, pain and irreparable harm they caused family, friends and colleagues because of selfish decisions.
Why should you care?
Whether you work in an office or onstage the first thing that arrives for work every day isn’t you. It’s your reputation. What do people think when they hear your name or your brand? What they think is exactly what you’ve built. We all get tough breaks and sometimes things don’t go our way but the magic isn’t in what happens to us, it’s in what we do with it.
Here’s how to strengthen your brand reputation:
1. Stop thinking that your brand is so strong it can’t happen to you.
2. Thank the people behind the scenes – the waiters, waitresses, technicians, the assistants. These people are the heartbeat of this business and being kind to them will provide priceless advertising. Want to know who’s truly great? Ask these guys and gals.
3. Take the time to get to know your audience after the gig. Shake some hands afterwards and don’t talk about yourself – ask about them.
4. Provide a way for your audiences and clients to give you anonymous feedback such as a poll or a survey. www.surveymonkey.com helps you build free surveys that are super easy to customize and distribute and www.polldaddy.com has some inventive formats for simple polls that you can post on facebook or attach to emails.
5. Keep a close eye on your competitors and learn from their success and mistakes.
The days of being the only game in town are over and the way we play the game has never been more crucial.
-Kahlil (at) gigsmacked (dot) com