The need for Artist Branding became apparent to me this past winter when some author friends of mine read their work at a local independent bookstore. After the reading they visited my home to continue the “author evening.” Our discussions evolved into the topic of the lack of support published authors receive from their publishers along with how the marketing, branding and promotion are primarily left on the shoulders of traditionally published authors.
Your brand is a perception based on emotions or gut feelings. It is who you are and what your art stands for, superseding an author’s platform and setting you apart in a non-replicable way.
Establishing a brand for your art is one of the most critical and foundational aspects of marketing and promoting your work and yourself –– especially for writers and artists where their art is their product. Furthermore, if this process is not done correctly your brand recognition and the strengthening of your brand could suffer for years.
Therefore, it is definitely worth the time and effort to discover your brand and to then integrate and communicate it throughout all that you do. Don’t we all want to put our best foot forward? That is why I have decided to take my 22+ years of expertise in Corporate and Agency Branding to the world of the artist, to help them focus on their own branding and to help them have a greater positive impact on the world around them.
Mine was recently lost… for some time it was nowhere to be found. I won’t lie, it worried me. What if it didn’t come back? Then I remembered to trust. It’s in me. It’s always been there and maybe it wasn’t the right time. My energies were needed elsewhere. But what worried me was the fact that it is such a big part of who I am and that fire had just vanished. Recently though there have been sparks. And those sparks have been increasing as the days go on. It’s coming back.
So I pose a question to you. When such an integral part of who you are suddenly vanishes what do you do to help get that back? Do you do anything or simply trust?
They all are really get to a couple topics that I have been feeling deeply, specifically over the past few months. Just last week I made a pitch to a TEDx conference on “turning off your mind, turning on your heart,” which really falls right in line with these posts. Over the past year I know I am evolving at record speeds. Since reinventing my business, Babacita, which really turned out to be a soul searching journey and diving deeper into my Self, I uncovered things that have always been with me, but had just been tucked away. When the light went off, “Evolve.Connect.Inspire,” this weight that I hadn’t even noticed, had been lifted. Also a big thank you to Farnoosh Brock at Prolific Living, for helping me take my ideas and passions of mine and make the switch to a viable business model.
In making this shift, to a heart-centered perspective, I definitely feel like I’m a new person. Clarity has come and it’s if the planets have aligned and my purpose has been exposed. Opportunities have opened up which I am now a part of (PeaceWalker Project and WorldBlu), and they all relate back to, and support Evolve.Connect.Inspire. Pretty cool, huh?
In the Emotional Awareness post, “Feel what you feel. No apologies or worries necessary.” And “Emotion is raw power, energy, fuel: motivation.” True, yes? Let yourself feel. Feel deeply and embrace those feelings. What are they teaching you? What is the value they hold?
A favorite quote of the Reclaim post, “We always have a choice where it matters most- our every thought, word and action.” She mentions A Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, it’s an amazing story and I highly recommend it. We all have a choice in how we respond to something, be conscious of the choices you make.
Presence of Magic weaves her magical words and paints a brilliant picture inviting us all: “Close your eyes to let your heart give you sight. To see with other senses creates a whole new world, one that has more depth, more meaning and more soul.” This is exactly turning off your mind, and turning on your heart. Your heart will not steer you wrong.
Part of my journey in opening up my heart, my creativity and work, has also excelled. Take my recently self-published book, Train to the Moon. That story came from the depths of my heart, words that I never knew existed in me. Through this feeling, and this creativity that is now flowing effortlessly from me, I’m making a difference. By honoring who I really am, Evolve.Connect.Inspire, I’m making this world better. Personally and professionally. And you know what? I’m just getting started.
So what does all this have to do with me and my work at Babacita? Emotional awareness, personal choice, letting my heart give me sight? Right now, as you can tell, there are so many moving parts and pieces. But, as in this evolution, when we truly grow, this chaos transforms into clarity, every time. This chaos, and all these moving parts… it’s actually quite comforting to me. It means I am continuing to change, evolve and grow. I have no idea where next week, month or year is going, but you know something? That’s ok with me. I’m going somewhere.
Just announced by WorldBlu is the initial class of their Blu100 consultants (hey, I know one of those guys). This also falls right in line with my above ramblings. Freedom. At the organizational level, engaging employees and empowering creativity, innovation and inspiration. This is absolutely critical for organizational sustainability and growth. And guess what? It supports me. Babacita’s core values of Evolve.Connect.Inspire. You see? It’s no fluke that everything I’m doing relates to these values. In relating back, I’m honoring my Self and feeding my purpose. But from the marketing and branding sense, it’s being completely consistent in growing the John Kowalski/Babacita brand. Who I am and what I stand for.
I warned you that this might be a rambling one. :)
To wrap up, I guess what I want you to take away from all of the above, is to take a look at yourself. At the heart level. Feel, not think. What’s inside? What makes you tick? What turns you on? How can you be of service to others? How are you making a difference? Turn off your mind, and turn on your heart. We can all make a difference.
After a series of dreams… parts and pieces really… over several months, the story finally came together in November. One morning, early before everyone was awake, the story just flowed from me. Effortlessly. It’s a love story of two soul connections who grow up together, lose each other, then find each other again through the clouds. The world is better because of their love glow which is fueled by their nightly train to the moon together. This came from the depths of my heart. A place that I did not know previously existed. I see this as a major part in my own evolution, through this new level of creativity.
At first I thought to just keep this story private, but something wasn’t right with that. This is a story that needed to be told to the world. I worked with a friend of mine, Mark Bird of Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Bird Design to assist with the artwork. He was the only one that could’ve told this story so beautifully through his illustrations and art. The process was really quite simple. We had an initial concepting session over the phone, I gave him the specifics that needed to be included (the orange flower, green glass heart, etc). Through this he had free reign to “do his thing.” He came back with something differently than we initially talked about, but it was dead on. The visuals enhanced my words and raised the story to a whole new level. Thank you Mark, for your beautiful art!
I just completed WorldBlu’s Blu100 certification in St. Louis and if I wasn’t overwhelmed already, this took it to a whole new level. The flood of ideas, the crackling energy through my body and the permanent smile on my face…. simply amazing! Getting to the root of this thing of WorldBlu in all of it’s complexity is also quite simple. So translated in Babacita terms…. Freedom. Empowerment. Unleashing potential.
This is some extremely powerful shit. Think about it. What do those principles mean to you at your workplace? Now, how does your workplace affect your personal life? Community? Speaking from personal experience in a corporate position I can honestly say I used about 10% of my potential. Why? They wouldn’t allow me to expand that. Kept in a box with direct mandates. No room for creativity, innovation or inspiration. An organization based on bullying, fear and self-worth destruction. So even IF I were given free reign to widen my box, why would I? I’m worth more than that.
Imagine….. your own organization. What % of people are truly dedicated, challenged and inspired to push the limits and their potential? With the WorldBlu love, what would happen to an organization was able to double that %? What would happen if I took my 10% potential and made it 20%? What if everyone did that? Big changes right? These are little steps, but they’re truly critical for individuals as well as organizations. Wouldn’t you like to see people completely strive! In opening the “box” and letting people do what they do the results can be amazing on so many levels. Collaboration, innovation, creativity, efficiencies and waste reduction, flexibility and (for you numbers people) the bottom line. Why wouldn’t you start looking at this? Couple reasons could be fear of change and fear of loss of control. It is a big step and a different way of thinking, but I tell you my friends. This is the future. The days of command and control hierarchical leadership are history. People want more. Just recently I wrote about a silent revolution that’s going on. And the more transparent I’ve become and the more connections I’m making, there are a lot more of us than you think. And this movement is getting stronger and stronger. Bottom line – people want more out of their lives. You can’t fit a person in a “box.” I am everywhere BUT in a “box” and I suspect you are too. People are searching for meaning and purpose and guess what? They’re finding it or on a path driving hard to finding it. If you’ve been following my story you’ll know (email me if you wanna chat about it… I could go on for hours).
So tying this all back. This past summer I became a certified instructor of the PeaceWalker Project Conflict Resolution seminar that aligns and augments Babacita and my offering. And now, the important mission of WorldBlu also aligns precisely with Babacita and all that I am. In talking with Traci Fenton (she’s absolutely brilliant by the way), Founder and CEO of WorldBlu, this week, I told her that I have been silently stalking her for years and have supported their mission and all that they are about. So now it’s a pretty scary time. Not scary for me, scary for the world. The shit storm is about to erupt and I am on the cutting edge of this revolution of change and empowerment and freedom. And if you know me personally you know that being on the cutting edge isn’t quite enough and that I have no problem driving this movement (strangely, this song comes to mind and seems about right).
Lead with me. Follow me. Watch me. -Don’t even think about getting in my way.
We can make a difference and the time is now to spread the love.