Brand: a brand is a mixture of attributes, tangible and intangible, which, if managed properly, creates value and influence. “Value” has different interpretations: from a marketing or public perspective it is “the promise and delivery of me as a consistent experience for others.”
So this weekend I took a branding class. No no, not the cattle branding class, the marketing branding class. What does branding have to do with acting? Everything! When I say McDonalds or coke, people get an immediate image of that product. They know immediately what kind of attitude, tone and point of view that company is all about. Well with acting, I am the product, so if people were to hear my name, what is the image I want to pop in their heads in an instant?
My class was taught by my friend and coworker Sylvie Obledo. She’s awesome! Before coming into this class, I thought I had an idea of what branding was from my marketing and communications classes in college. I thought it just encompassed a logo, a slogan, and a consistent look. But with Sylvie, she showed that branding was more about examining your core self and bringing that essence out into a comprehensive and consistent way to create trust for others. It’s really about being who you are, and showing to people in a clear, succinct way — i.e. your brand. How genius is that??
Now, this whole thing is a process and it doesn’t happen overnight. But through Sylvie’s class, I discovered what I’m meant to do. A lot of my friends and family members are going through a transition phase in their lives right now. I’ve been noticing how a lot of people my age that have been in their jobs since they’ve graduated college, are now desiring to change paths and are reexamining which way to go, what they’re meant to do for the world.
Going to church, I’ve heard on numerous occasions how we’re all blessed with gifts. Each person has a unique gift design for that one person. And that gift is a way for that person to serve others and god.
Now, I’ve always known that I’m meant to do acting. But I’ve never been clear about how it would serve others and god. I was always blinded by what it could bring me. I kept making it about me, how it could make me famous and rich and beautiful etc. But through Sylvie’s class, I was able to be crystal clear of how my gift can serve others.
She gave us this huge value list and asked us to pick out our 8 most important core values. I found myself resonating toward words such as honesty, trust, teamwork, empathy, open-mindedness, and helpfulness. From that, I realized the “why” I am here on the planet. I am driven to create beautiful things inspired by my background and unique personality to relate to others that are physically different, mentally different and/or are from a different background as me. I want people to relate to each other and be able to empathize with everybody and anybody because we’re all of this earth, we’re all in the same space and we’re all in this together.
When I shared this to the class, someone mentioned the phrase, “what is most personal is most universal“. This is a Carl Rogers quote. But with that said, something clicked. I realized that I am an open book, and I’m down to let people in and to share my stories about my family, my career (or lack thereof), my stupid tumultuous love life, and even what I did that day. And when I do share myself honestly and with raw-ness, I’ve noticed the best reactions from people, the most lively and the most responsive reactions from others. It’s interesting to note that I’m realizing this now. Because when I was younger, I didn’t want to be me. I wanted to be a white Caucasian man. I mean I grew up wanting to be Harrison Ford. And when I realized that I could never be a white Caucasian man, it broke my heart. I thought I could never make it in this world as an actor because I wasn’t blessed looking like a white Caucasian man — that prevalent, dominating look in the media that I grew up with. But as I’m going through this branding/soul searching process, I’m really getting it that to ultimately contribute to this world, is to be me and to share it. To show the world that even though I’m a skinny Asian woman, I can relate to someone like Harrison Ford or Shaq! And they can absolutely relate to me!
My mission statement: to become a successful actor/public figure so that I can show that despite my physical differences from traditional Hollywood, or my unique/niche-y background, I can relate to a lot of people and a lot of people can relate to me.