“The Brand of You” seminar, as moderated by DJ Jason Jani of Sound Connection Entertainment, was a solid refresher course, maybe even an eye- and ear-opener for some, in terms of reminding those in the 100+ audience that it's never too early or necessarily to late to re-define and re-brand yourself in order to grow your business. And because change happens whether you want it to or not, it's essential to go and grow with the flow.
When you hear the word “brand,” what do you think of? Do you think of a specific product, a service, a business? Perhaps you think of a name or a sign or, better yet, a symbol. Even a catchy slogan. All of these “identities” are what makes up a brand, and it's also the foundation for which most if not all businesses enables people to identify with and call upon whenever we need something.
When it comes to DJs looking to expand their respective business, sometimes they lack the foundation and the means by which it's absolutely necessary to perfect the craft of DJing. As such, it's essential that you keep practicing and perfecting the very craft that many of us live and breathe every day. We need to keep things creative and find new ways to do things, and since many of us either have a residency in a club, bar, or have a side business as a freelance DJ, working various parties locally or traveling far and wide, understanding what your client(s) is looking for is a ginormous component (if not THE one thing) that will keep you afloat in this otherwise rough and tough industry.
What sets you apart is key. How do you stand out from your competition? Because no matter what, people will always draw parallels and conclusions based on a brand. It's a fact of life, and we need to be sensitive to the overall initiative.
'We're all creative people,' Mr. Jani said a number of times during the course of the ninety minute seminar, but (sometimes) we lack the foundation by which we operate. A prime example is when you meet someone for the first time, whether they are a prospective client or not, you always have to be mindful and act professionally because you never know when an opportunity might come a-knocking.
Mr. Jani came across years ahead of his actual age of 33. He spoke very well and it felt like he connected with every single person in the room. I especially liked the part when he spoke about everyone possessing their own unique brand identity, both personally and professionally, and although building your brand takes time, now, more than ever, you don't have to spend a ton of money, as it's never been easier for anyone in the world to locate you online via social media websites, such as the big two: Facebook and Twitter, but also by way of a professional website.
Other important aspects of the strategy of branding involves presentation and image, which tends to mean everything nowadays. The adage that it takes a first impression to last a lifetime is quite true because your brand is being evaluated from the moment you pick up your cell phone or the moment you meet someone and shake their hand to handing someone your business card, or walking out to the center of a dance floor at a gig to make an introduction or announcement.
Mr. Jani could not be any more clear when he discussed how everyone in the room should have a professional website, when he asked by a show of hands who has one. Not everyone raised their hand. Having a web presence along with some pictures of you is a strategic must if you wish to compete with the throngs of DJs in the world. Having a Facebook page is helpful, but having a website is better. A website allows you to enhance it with any one number of graphic interfaces and presentations, such as video blogs and the type of music that you play. Facebook has various stringent rules and regulations and is good, especially as a means to network, but perhaps not to truly distinguish yourself from the masses.
Mr. Jani's 16+ years of experience as a DJ has enabled him to be the best that he can be for his many clients whose parties he's DJed through his Sound Connection Entertainment company. When his moderating segued into the part about meeting a client, you could easily hear the inflection in his voice rise several octaves—in a positive way, mind you. He said that every potential client that you meet in some way, shape, or form is always searching for value, and it isn't always associated with “cost,” and it's because of the fact that everyone is looking for something that value takes on a whole different meaning.
For one thing, it's a matter of what you and your brand can bring to the table that makes you special. But what exactly are you? Are you an event director, an MC, a DJ, etc. Understand ahead of time what you can bring to the table, and make sure that when you present yourself, that you show your value confidently, definitively, succinctly and clearly. And when you put the ball in the client's court by asking them what they're looking for, ask your question and then be quiet.
You could almost hear a pin drop when Mr. Jani repeated himself: “Be quiet.” The truth is, no one wants to hear what you want. After all, they're paying you, not the other way around. And nobody cares about the speakers you use, or the CD players you have or other minutiae. What's most important is how the client's event will go and the subsequent follow-through.
In other words, during the consultation, show, don't tell. Another reason why having a website with a few or several visual representations of your services helps greatly and could very well mean the difference between being hired and being passed over. To break it down further: what makes you the best option? The go-to DJ, etc.? Why do people need to buy your services? Again, show, don't tell. Incorporate some visual elements into your website.
All in all, this was a good wake-up call, just in terms of being reminded that you need to keep yourself fresh and up-to-date with the way each of us markets and promotes ourselves, and to remember that this is a relatively close-knit group of professionals and there's always going to be a job opportunity out there. We just need to creatively snatch it up from the next guy smartly.