All Lil' Wayne Wanted Was To Sing...
Musicians, celebrities, politicians, leaders in sports or education, and in some cases, business executives. To reach the top and remain relevant, those whose lives are constantly dissected by the public eye, stakeholders, or their own agents, must create and maintain a well-defined personal brand more than anyone else.
If you’re being scrutinized by the lens of public thanks to the paparazzi, nearly every business decision, personal choice, and public outing in accordance to the personal brand that has been embodied.
The world’s perception of their personal personal brand must be clear, both in its imagery and messaging - maintaining a consistent story to nurture trust with this audience outwardly, with an inward goal of increasing their customer’s lifetime value.
Musicians experience the cold shoulder of their fans when they venture too far from their original vibe and tempo. Similarly, businesses may experience the same type of whiplash from their clients when introducing something new. All is not lost here, it’s a matter of talking your audience, stakeholder, or agent, through to the other side.
There is proven success with personal brands who’ve been “disruptive” outwardly, with a planned communication strategy to take their audience from gangsta’ rap to auto-tune melodies, like Lil' Wayne did with with the release of his 9th album.
Do not allow fear to limit the expansion of your personal brand.
In 2011, Lil' Wayne released “Tha Carter IV”, containing a track called “How to Love.” This song received criticism from the public, being described as “too lighthearted to have been written by Wayne.” Lil' Wayne was himself was called out by his fans for “going soft” since in this song he was singing instead of rapping, and the genre was more of a ballad in contrast to the verbal assault that his fan base had become familiar with.
Lil'’ Wayne considered himself a true musician and he began feeling as though he was limiting his talents by placing boundaries around the music genre of his brand. If he only stuck to rap songs that is all he would ever musically be, a rapper. In his interview with MTV he verbalized the vision he had for himself, “A few years back, I noticed that I wasn’t just a rapper. And I noticed that I didn’t want to do this, just to rap - I do want to go down as one of the greatest rappers of all time, but I also want to go down as one of the greatest musicians of all time.”
With “How to Love” Lil' Wayne owned his voice and did not allow the fear of change to limit the potential of his record label: Young Money Records. Instead, Wayne earned a whole new range of fans, including a fair share of female listeners, who welcomed the change in his lyrics and rhythm. While this softer side of Weezy caused some upset, the musician stayed true to the vision he had for his brand, and gave a voice to it ensuring the future of the label by instilling fluidity as part of their M.O.
In June of 2011, MTV2 aired Wayne’s MTV ‘Unplugged’ special. After the release of the program, Lil' Wayne spoke of feeling proud about the creation of his new single, and admitted to getting goosebumps while listening to the track; “I can tell you that I’ve never had a single like it, and it’s an amazing song. It’s an amazing song… And I feel like the song is going to take me somewhere that I’ve never been before musically” he told Sway from MTV. The success that the song received propelled it up to the number one spot in the Rhythmic Top 40, and proved that authenticity is a pillar for building a strong, and impacting brand voice.
What are you doing to prevent brand tone confusion?
When is the last time you took a look at your online presence and asked:
How authentic is my brand voice?
If a brand keeps a clear communication strategy, it holds truthfulness in the communication between them and their clients, decreasing the potential for confusion regarding the purpose, and message of the produce, service, or company you represent as a personal brand.
Increase your value through authenticity and fluidity.
Lil' Wayne demonstrated why it is important to own your voice in your industry, stay confident, and pivot with trends that inspire you to sing. A personal brand is only as authentic as the actions, and conversations of its creator. Musicians like Lil' Wayne are the perfect example of how to scale one voice by building an authentic brand with a strategic communication plan that prepares your audience, and responds to their negativity like a ninja, shifting the negative momentum into positive fans.
Despite the inconveniences that do arise when there are fluctuations in the direction of a brand, be it a personal brand or a company, change always carries the potential to manifest benevolent results through better communication - are you having the right conversations?
Growing your business according to the twists and turns of the market is not only strategically savvy, it also demonstrates a commitment to accommodate to the demands of the industry, and therefore inspires a stronger level of confidence, reliability, and referrals. C-suite seats in any industry hold the endless responsibilities and crucial decision-making of the whole company, while keeping in mind the sustainability and future of the organization fueled by their personal brand. Their brand must be a solid, yet flexible entity that is able to expand and retract along with the shifts in their vertical .
Join us this October 19th at the Own Your Voice Summit, where veteran magazine editor, Rosaliz Jimenez will be speaking on how to maintain personal brand authenticity whether you’re a personal brand, a product, or consumer good. Her keen eye for beautiful, show-stopping visuals is a talent that she has cultivated during her professional journey as an editor at People Stylewatch, Allure, InStyle, and, is currently the Fashion Director at Dia & Co. Rosaliz understands content that converts, and will cover hot topics such as how to curate genuine content that is on-trend.