BRANDING – What is in a Cybersquatted and Real name? Part 2

March 25th, 2009
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Quang at BET Urbanworld film screening for Lo

Quang Ly at BET Urbanworld film screening for Lo

This is the second part in my blog on dealing with my CyberSquatted name and why it’s so important to own your own domain name – especially if you’re an artist or involved with new media.

Why Should I Care About Obtaining www.quangly.com?
The reason is simple. I want to protect my brand and identity. Some security experts state that it is not a good idea to obtain a domain name with your first and last name in it since you’re publicizing some parts of your identity. My feeling on this is your name is public anyway. What’s important is the information in your WhoIs lookup which can indicate your real email, address, and phone number. WhoIs lists who the domain name belongs to, managed by, and contact information. When you register a domain name, you are asked to provide this information. If the domain is for a company, then the information should be public. However, if the domain is personal, then I highly suggest you protect it.

Branding: A simple concept, but very elusive to truly grasp.
The history of my music project is related to this story. I decided on my music project name Delta Dreams back when I was 16 years old. I felt strongly of the name as it was indicative of my musical vision. I collaborated with other singers (mostly female) and musicians at the time since I wasn’t a great singer nor could play all the instruments.  However, over the years, I did learn how to sing, play guitar, drums, and became more experienced with writing songs and production. I’ve always enjoyed collaborating with wonderful talent. However, I always found that they lacked the hunger to push and promote the music.  So I continued with Delta Dreams completely solo for several more years while releasing Before My Eyes and Selected Music for Films Vol1. Does a project name for a solo artist suitable? I think the answer really depends how far you want to take your art or passion and how much you plan on promoting.

Quang Ly Performing

Quang Ly Performing

In my case, I unexpectedly caught the acting the bug. The problem again now comes with promoting two different names: Delta Dreams and Quang Ly. A film that I work on cannot be credited as staring Delta Dreams. It just doesn’t make sense! I also had a hard time explaining to people all the things that I do and passionate about.  The problem that I had was that I lacked synergy! To be honest, I did not exactly know why I was so driven to obtain my domain. I just had a really strong gut feeling to do so. Once I did receive my name, I felt such strong creative energy flowing again.  I also didn’t expect to enjoy blogging that much! And of course, I understood the power of branding as a result rather than a cause!

Branding Is Synergy
Synergy is defined as “The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.” To promote myself as the Quang Ly brand, I can bring the film world to discover my music and the music world to discover my film projects. I can also introduce both sides to my hobby in photography. (I just bought the Nikon D90 DSLR camera and love it). Furthermore, I can also gather my different worlds together to promote social change such as charity that I’m involved in, politics, economics, or life in general. Not that I am an expert in any of those topics. But I would like to have the potential to do so in the future without being limited by a brand name.

The Anti-Brand
Here comes the challenge. There is the brand and then there is the anti-brand. Some names cannot simply cross over to other ventures because they have conflicting values. Here are some examples

  • NIKE and CONVERSE: Most people don’t realize this but Converse was bought Nike in 2003 for $305 million.  There are a lot of vegans, vegetarians, and hipsters who despise Nike because of their use of leather and rumored (a-hem) sweatshops. Nike exploits this ignorance by not confusing their customer’s values. By the way, Adidas owns Reebok.
  • KRAFT and ALTRIA (Phillip Morris): Kraft makes Oreos, Tang, cheese and other food products. It is actually owned by Atria (formerly name as Phillip Morris). Phillip Morris makes cigarrette brands like Marlboro, Parliament, and Virginia Slims. How do you think a mother would feel if she knew the cheese on her daughter’s sandwich was owned by a cigarratte company?

The Quang Ly Brand
I admit I only understood this concept of Branding and Anti-Branding once I got quangly.com.  For me, quangly.com is really the ultimate platform and umbrella for all my passion, hobbies, and thoughts. It encompasses my YouTube channels, music on iTunes and Amazon MP3, Twitter, and the blog itself. Technology is changing so fast and difficult for people to keep up with. A good friend, David Abraham (who manages YouTube R&B Artist Redd Stylez) told me if you have a strong brand, you will supercede the changing of technology. People will find you. This is what I’m hoping to happen in the long term. Nothing happens over night. Furthermore, if you are an artist in the new media, it is important to have an official site to disperse authorized news and engagements.

This is Not Original
Branding a persona is not an original concept especially in the entertainment world. Examples include Will Smith and Jamie Foxx. Both are actors as well as artists.  They can leverage their passion in art and have it cross over to over mediums. Will Smith and his wife Jada Pincket Smith recently opened up a children’s school. I think this is a fabulous example of using branding for the greater good. Let’s not of course forget the amazing grace of Oprah! Donald Trump himself isn’t so much a  real estate mogul as much as he is a brand. Companies license the use of his name to put on their buildings, clothes, water, etc for a huge fee! Of course, all these people with strong brands do not have to reinvent the promotion wheel because all their ventures have synergy.

What I do find is that artists in the independent world have yet to understand this or perhaps I haven’t yet discovered enough of them. Maybe branding is not for them. Or maybe it’s a simple concept but very elusive to truly grasp.

Thank you for reading!
If you made it this far reading, I want to thank you. I tried to make it as brief as possible and it’s a bit of a read.

Quang Ly

  • http://www.quangly.com Quang Ly

    Do you remember when Will Smith was known as the Fresh Prince? It was a cool name for rap persona. But in the long run, he wouldn’t be taken seriously as an actor. What are other notable artist brands?