The Random Griffith

I’m having trouble with my brand

Posted in Uncategorized by Jackson Griffith on 29/03/2010

I don’t know about you, but I can’t figure out if I’m a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter or a bar of soap. I’ve been reading Seth Godin’s blog, and I’m really confused. And I’m not trying to be deliberately snarky about this; I realize that, as a writer and an aspiring musician, that it might really help me if I could codify my essence into something pithy, something bright and shiny and resonant and, um, slightly irresistible.

Trouble is, I’m usually all over the road like a full-sized American sedan from the 1970s.

But I want to be incandescent, and positive, and incandescently positive, and positively incandescent, too. All four. At once. You know, bright and shiny and upbeat, like taking mushrooms on a beautiful spring morning, dressing up like something out of a Fellini movie and singing along with loudly played ABBA records at the top of my lungs, hoping the birds nearby will join in and pick up the harmonies.

It’s been said that I have a tendency to be a bit of a “dark mofo,” as in, “Griffith, you are such a dark mofo sometimes,” and perhaps the graf immediately above reads like snark. It isn’t meant to, though. I’m just trying to communicate something essential: I want to come across in a way that is understood, and in such away that kindness and laughter and maybe even a little of that mercurial spark of love radiates from me to you and back. I’d like to be a little more Judd Apatow, and a little less Luis Buñuel. I’d like to spark up your sandwich with just the right balance of sweet and savory.

Oh, what the hell am I talking about? It’s Sunday afternoon, and I’m posting something here just so that you’ll read it and maybe laugh. I’m posting so that my “blog hits” don’t go into the negative figures, so that you’ll stay interested and maybe you’ll keep reading this blog, because it’s really about the best thing I’ve got going right now.

So, back to branding. Look, I know I’m a good writer. With a little elbow grease and focus, I can be a great writer. And I want to do that; I want to move people. Because I’m kind of aloof out in the world — my favorite personal cliche is that I’m that guy people elbow out of the way so they can hug each other — but because I really do love connecting with people, I know that writing, for me, seems to be the most effective way to do this, so that’s one core characteristic of my brand: Does not play well with others, perhaps, but can reach them and touch them with words.

I’m also a pretty good songwriter, a damned good one, really, but you probably don’t know that. I’m still working on my presentation, and my singing voice, and my guitar playing. The blessing-slash-curse is that I’m pretty creative, like a fountain, so new ideas are always coming up, and I lose the time to go back and perfect songs I’ve already finished. Of course, at age 55, I’m kind of long in the tooth to pick up a guitar and go out and expect people to listen to some alter kocker when this is a 22 year old’s game, but all these Baldy McYogapants pundits of the new paradigm that I’ve been reading keep saying that there are no rules or gatekeepers or anything else stopping me, except maybe club owners who don’t want to book me because I’m past my sell-by date in their opinion. Their loss, and yours, too. But as certain hexagrams in the I Ching suggest: perseverance furthers. I get up every morning, and it’s a new day. My credo, if I have one, is this: Never give up. Ever. So there’s another core characteristic of my brand: That songwriter who never gives up.

Going forward, my brand will be about transparency — what you see is what you get — and generosity. The latter, because so many people have been generous to me, and I’ve kind of walled myself off from everyone else over the years, and used to be a hoarder when I had stuff, and see the folly of that now. So I plan on giving my time and, when I have it, largesse to help others, because that’s how you get yourself into the flow.

I guess I’m not as confused about my brand as I thought I was. Well, maybe. —Jackson Griffith

7 Responses

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  1. Warren Bishop said, on 29/03/2010 at 07:15

    We need to establish some kind of alter kocker/cougar friendly coffee house that sells wine for us expired sell dates to play; I’ll bet we’d move a ton of merch and make more money for the room than any of the hipster paradise type joints.

  2. jaxong said, on 29/03/2010 at 08:57

    I agree with you, Warren. And I wish I had the dough-re-mi to open such a joint, which would feature nothing but locally produced music when the stage was free of performers, would have great coffees and teas without the snobbery, porridge in the morning, great snacks and desserts, a limited-menu prix fixe lunch and dinner, and to top it off, an anteroom for music, where songwriters could come in, hang out and pick. Not to mention the coolest open mic in town.

  3. Diane Wilde said, on 29/03/2010 at 08:58

    As honest and open an assessment of “self” as I have read. Thank you.

  4. jaxong said, on 29/03/2010 at 09:06

    Wow, thanks for responding, Diane! Great to see you here. I figured I might have lost you as a reader with one of my more ranty, unskillful posts.

  5. Amy Yannello said, on 05/04/2010 at 09:33

    Jackson — Your “voice” is your “brand.”

    Your honesty, integrity, that big grin, the way you run your hands through your hair when you’re frustrated, your generosity of spirit… all of these things make you someone I’m SO GLAD is STILL OUT THERE WRITING & SINGING & GETTING HEARD.

    Your voice, Jackson, is you.

    And, I’m damned glad to call you friend.

    Amy Y.

    PS: Glad to hear you’re back in SN&R…gotta go see it now!

    PSS: Happy Easter, Jackson!🙂

  6. Amy Yannello said, on 06/04/2010 at 01:06

    Hey JG —

    Writing to you again because I’m trying to subscribe to your blog, but I screwed up the subscription process the first time! (doh!)

    Let’s try it again!

    It’s a Monday!!🙂

    Aim

  7. oszukaj ruletkę gra progresywna said, on 03/02/2011 at 23:03

    As honest and open an assessment of “self” as I have read. Thank you. 3 brb


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