Monday, 4 February 2013

Defining Yourself in a Multitasking World

Defining yourself in a crowded marketplace is always challenging.  Not so long ago, a young tradesman/tradeswoman may have asked him/herself, “Am I a cobbler, or a shoemaker, or simply a farmer who dabbles in both?”  In today’s marketing space it’s a little bit tougher to not only find a suitable moniker for you and your company, but to discover one that will suitably and expertly distinguish you from every other like-minded tradesman out there.

At Swagger, in addition to making films (filmmakers) we produce and direct commercials (commercial directors) and corporate videos (videographers).  We’re not shooting anything on actual film stock, so “filmmaker” is, in the literal sense, incorrect.  That’s fine.  We used to shoot onto video tape, so videographer is appropriate, however the majority of our work is shot on the RED Camera, or on a Canon 5D/7D.  Both of those systems bypass tape and film all together and are digitized on a built-in hard drive or memory card.  So are we also Digitizers?  Hard Driveographers?  How much weight should the equipment hold when it comes to defining yourself to a stranger at a cocktail party or potential clients?  (“Well I’m a commercial director and filmmaker, but I also shoot videos and online content…”)  You can see their eyes glaze over immediately.  If you’re a banker, lawyer, plumber, pirate or even gambler, you know what you’re dealing with and all have immediate recognition value.  However, the myriad services of a creative agency defy succinct explanation.  Either that, or as creative folks we are just naturally long-winded and self-indulgent. 

In addition to filmmaking, commercial directing and videography, we also edit, animate, and provide marketing strategy.  How do those skills get rolled on to a business card title or LinkedIn profile?  The image of Groundskeeper Willie singing “Maniac” with his kick drum/harmonica/one-man band immediately come to mind.  Cue the clip…

Ultimately, the best way to define your company is by the work that you do.  Whether you are a one-man band or small company in growth mode, it doesn’t have to be about the work that you SELL, or the work that you MARKET, but the work that you DO, day in and day out.  How do you get that work done and what’s the larger goal behind what you’re trying to accomplish?

There’s a great book by Charles Duhigg called The Power of Habit.  In one chapter, he details the work Tony Dungy did with the Indianapolis Colts and how he turned the team from basement dweller to perennial Super Bowl contender in just a few seasons.  Dungy preached the err.. power of habit.  If you practice sound techniques over and over and over, it will pay off.  Granted the work won’t always be GREAT, and that’s okay; it’s a process.  It took Dungy 5 straight seasons of missed opportunities with the Colts to finally hoist the Lombardi Trophy in 2007. Ultimately, Dungy wasn’t “just” a football coach, but a disciple of positive habit formation who used that philosophy to inform the task he had before him, a skill he could’ve applied to any job, no matter the product. In a similar sense, we at Swagger also believe in consistently applying sound techniques in order to tell compelling stories in everything we do, whether it’s as filmmakers, videographers, social media marketers, or any of the other services we provide. This is a common thread in all that we do that doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as easily as a traditional job title, but gets to the heart of what we do so much more accurately.

I welcome any readers to comment as to how they define themselves and how that can lead to their own personal and professional success.   For now, we will continue to capture the movies/stories/commercials/videos that inspire us to create on whatever medium suits the project best.

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