There are plenty of little things that happened over the first 30 years of my career in music. None of them are a huge deal, so as they float to the surface I’ll post them here and hope they are of use to the readers of this blog, to whom I am grateful for their time and interest.
Having come from a very serious and hard core existence in the entertainment industry, those folks I’d worked with early on were very well-steeped in all that is music. They were very aware music is a literary art form. Music, like literature, is about notation. Note by note, music is written, then recorded. When it is written, it can be edited to achieve the best possible results. That isn’t the case so much these days, rarely in fact, and perhaps at the expense of music in general.
Nonetheless, when music is written, all the words associated with tempo, volume, and especially the feeling with which music is to be played — these are all written in Italian, the universal language of trained musicians worldwide. Words associated with feeling, tempo, etc. are called musical directions, and all students of music become familiar with them early in their education.
To that end I named my public relations company Con Brio [cone BREE oh] — con in Italian sounds like cone in English and literally means “with.” Con Brio means with energy, vigor and vivacity. It fit the criteria I was looking for: Short and to the point, three syllables, alphabetically it came toward the beginning of the alphabet.
Much to my surprise, only well-educated musicians understand what con brio means. My graphic designer poo pood the name early on and finally convinced me to drop the word con for reasons that would eventually happen due to sheer and utter ignorance.
There is another firm somewhere in the country named Brio Public Relations, and I could never find an email address to my liking that was just Brio PR. Eventually con was added back into the company name so it would match several email accounts I’ve had over the years.
At this juncture, I’m tempted to change the whole enchilada over to Scout 66 which has a wonderful logo, and is a brand with visibility. Lo and behold, some product of Motorola has been named Scout 66. Scout itself is owned by Fox Entertainment Group for their sports division, so I rather doubt they want to give up their holdings on a name they’ve held for years.
So here we are in Twenty Fifteen with a brand name dilemma. Obviously, the Italian version went over horribly and should have been a big red flag: Musicians today don’t really know that much about the mechanics of music. Then another separate entity that has been well-received, bodes very well in much larger circles outside the realm of music.
The lesson here: Do everything you can possibly do to find a name that is meaningful to the work you’re doing. Try not to settle for less than everything you want. And though none of us have access to crystal balls, the likelihood someone wants a name you’ve selected is pretty darn high.
While we’re talking about Brio Public Relations, this is a classic story and one that happened early on. As mentioned in previous posts I was involved with the small city where I lived helping producing live shows every summer. One of the assistants in city hall believed she wielded some power with local media which was really small potatoes in the world of newspapers. But she sent them something to show what the city and their arts commission was doing in the realm of music. The reporter called and talked to me briefly, and the following week an article appeared about the summer concert series and my company.
The day the article came out was dreadfully hectic. I can’t remember why at this point, but I skimmed the article very quickly and as I did, counted 14 typos in the article. My husband said it wasn’t all that bad but did I happen to notice how they spelled my company name? Nope. I just skimmed right over it as it was so familiar to me.
Mind you this was an educated journalist, at a real newspaper with an editor. Imagine the horror of seeing the words Brio Public Relations printed with the L omitted from the word Public.
Humiliating to say the least. Did someone get an earful? You damn right they did. I fumed over that for months until one day I finally sent it into The Tonight Show with Jay Leno for his weekly segment on headlines. It’s such a common thing to have horrible typos in newsprint, he had plenty of hilarious material to work with. I couldn’t care less whether he used it or not, he probably didn’t due to his utter distaste for publicists. But if somebody got a good chuckle out of it, then that’s the best that could be hoped for in a really unfortunate situation that can happen to anyone.