Whether you like it or not, as an artist you constantly represent your own brand and it is up to you to make sure that this brand image is relevant and catchy.
The term “branding” is generally used to refer to everything related to the desired and perceived image of an artist’s project.
Without any notion of branding, it is difficult to build an ambitious and coherent project, when it depends so much on your brand.
So in this article, we will see the different elements that shape the day-to-day image that the public and professionals have of you.
It is up to you to control your branding or not, but it is important to know that in the show business industry, it is obvious that your image is as important (or even more important) than your music.
After all, you are often first discovered on websites, blogs and social networks, aren’t you?
Therefore, I encourage you to follow these tips if you want to give the best first impression possible.
1. Your bio and your history
If you want to be taken seriously in this very special industry, you will need a professional biography.
It is indeed the marketing tool par excellence. It is through your bio that you can encourage people to learn more and listen to you.
It will also help you a lot in your date research and in your exchanges with journalists.
Unfortunately, far too many artists are satisfied with a fair or even bad bio. A good biography should tell a story and captivate the reader.
Clearly, a good bio can make a difference when someone discovers your music.
So, highlight your story and make sure that your biography is written (or at least proofread) by a professional. Indeed, storytelling is quite an art…
2. Your message and vision
Why do you make music? Why did you start and why do you continue? What is the message you want to convey through your titles?
As an artist, you need to have a clear and precise vision of what you want to bring to your audience. What emotions to evoke? What values should be embodied?
This is an aspect that musicians quickly forget, because it is not as tangible or sexy as any other element.
But it is by defining your mission that your vision will become clear and your message will be consistent in all your communications.
We could go further and say that the way you deliver your message in your concerts plays a huge role in your branding.
Are you insulting the technical staff? Do you spit at the audience? Good.
For the rest, do you take care of your stage presence to make your fans want to come back? Can we really feel what you’re defending once at your show?
It can be a challenge, since a concert is harder to master from A to Z. But despite the “confrontation” with the audience, you must keep a consistent image with the rest of your message.
3. Your online presence
Are you on all major social networks? You should.
Nowadays, an artist with little visibility on the Web is not taken seriously.
Why? Why? Because we need proof and your online presence says a lot about you.
For example, spamming right and left immediately and seriously damages your reputation, because only amateur music projects (and those that want to stay that way) are involved.
On the contrary, if you engage your community and effectively promote your music by seeking to grow your fan base intelligently, you will necessarily have a much more positive image.
But it goes further than that.
Do you have a complete and professional quality artist website with your own URL? Are your social networks up to date and branded?
Your online identity is as important as your offline communication.
Therefore, be sure that your brand remains eye-catching from any platform.
4. Your visual identity
Not all artists need a logo or even a slogan, but these are very good communication tools that will make it easy for you to get into people’s minds.
The key is to have a visual identity that is continuous across all your communication tools, defining the dominant colors, fonts, imagery, graphic elements and all other attributes of it for the entire strategy.
In the same way as for your music, in addition to this graphic charter, you must develop a real visual signature, which can be found through:
- Your logo
- Your publications
- Your professional photos
- Your album covers
- Your flyers and other communication materials
- Your clips
- Your other videos (covers, making-of, questions/answers, etc.)
- Your merchandising
- Your appearance
Do all these elements reflect what you want to embody?
Are your visuals well crafted and of high quality? Do they really help you to spread your music and your brand? Have you used a professional?
When talking about appearance, many musicians make the mistake of believing that caring for your look necessarily means falling into extravagance.
However, if this is not relevant to you, it is always possible to optimize your image and present yourself in the best light, while making a difference.
5. Your music and lyrics
Is your sound of professional quality? Do your words reflect who you are and what you are fighting for? Is your music original and innovative or is it generic and boring?
Is your brand growing stronger thanks to your titles?
Ask yourself these questions seriously, because your discography must reflect who you are in the long term and not be constructed in a superficial and hazardous way.
In any case, don’t try to sound like another musical project and get off the beaten track.
Express yourself according to your own codes and find your own signature sound if you want to be noticed.
If, despite your efforts to promote your music, you do not get the expected results, your problem may be due to your brand image, too blurry or too confusing.
If you can’t differentiate yourself, then you can too easily be forgotten for good.
So take the time to analyze your branding and make the necessary changes to give the best first impression possible during your marketing actions.
BONUS: 4 Branding Misconceptions that Hold Back Musicians
It is a fact, the music market is saturated and hyper-competitive today. Because of this, it’s no wonder you don’t easily get the visibility you think you deserve.
Tens of thousands of independent artists like you are struggling at the same time to stand out and retain the attention of their potential fans to build a real fanbase.
In fact, even for established artists, staying in the spotlight requires an appropriate strategy.
And for good reason, to have a chance to break through as a freelance musician, you need to take your marketing to the next level.
That’s why I created this site to help you improve your music promotion. But that’s not all.
You must also take care of your brand image, your branding. Because if you want to make a career in music, you need to keep your most committed fans loyal for the rest of your life.
And for that, you will need to create more links with your target audience, which is first of all through your artistic identity and your musical universe.
Thus, in this article we will come back to the misconceptions that hinder musicians in building their brand image.
Indeed, although this step is crucial in the development of a musical project, it is not uncommon for the emerging musician to neglect this aspect based on preconceived ideas that are terribly out of step with the current music market.
Misconception number one: “It’s no use if you’re a developing musician”
No matter how many fans you have or how popular your titles are, your artistic identity is probably one of the most important areas of your career.
Why? Why? Because you need to unite around the colour and personality of your musical project.
If you are starting, then it is all the more necessary to define its bases if you want to keep the interest of the potential fans you attract.
Whether you like it or not, your musical project is a brand. And your fans and pros will react differently depending on your brand image.
So you have to understand this and realize that you can consciously influence your artistic identity in order to attract your ideal fans more easily.
It is as simple as that. If your brand image is not consistent with both your music and your ideal audience, you risk spreading a confusing message that will struggle to attract the interest of the people concerned.
However, this is probably one of the main problems for musicians embarking on music: they do not know how to address their audience through their brand.
Because of this, they are unable to attract and retain a community of fans, hindering their early career.
Misconception number two: “Who cares, only music matters”
If you think that way, then you are probably not on the right site.
We are talking about marketing here, because it is an absolutely essential component for all musicians who really want to become professional.
Of course, music comes first and foremost in the success of a musical project.
However, music is not everything. It is only one variable in the equation.
Alone, your talent and music will not be able to help you break through. Because it is also necessary to give an identity to your musical project and communicate it massively in an intelligent way.
Look at the artists who are succeeding today:
- Are they the most talented?
- Do they make the best music we’ve ever heard?
However, what has helped them to build real cults around their musical project is the artistic identity they have disseminated.
In other words, they proposed something unique, different and relevant to their audience. They connected with their fans at the emotional level through all elements of their brand image to make them loyal and engaged. And it’s worth much more than any buzz.
No matter how “good” your music is, if you are not able to connect emotionally through your brand image with your fans, then you will find it difficult to go further.
This means that you need to communicate regularly around your story and message both visually and in your texts so that your fans can recognize themselves and bring a sense of belonging.
Even if you think your music is of a quality “superior” to the market average, this does not mean that you should abandon your artistic identity. Because if you don’t take care of it consciously and actively, it will still communicate unconsciously on your behalf.
Your audience reacts to your brand image whether or not you have clearly defined it, so it is better to take full advantage of it by taking control of your artistic identity.
Misconception number three: “I don’t want to pretend to be something I’m not”
No one likes to feel like an impostor. The good news is that you don’t need to be in it.
In a previous article, I addressed the need for an artist who is starting to pretend at first by mimicking the artist he wants to become. Fake it until you make it. However, this concept does not work if you are not 100% committed to your new brand image.
Contrary to what one might think, a successful branding does not aim to give a radically different identity by multiplying the tricks, just to please the market.
I reassure you, you won’t have to fall into extravagance or trash to sell your music, if that’s not what you’re looking for or what suits you.
An effective brand image must be authentic. That is, the goal is not to replace what makes your musical project the way it is, but rather to reveal these different traits by highlighting them.
You must play with your personality and image, rather than wanting to copy the traits of a known similar artist.
By remaining authentic in your branding and preserving your integrity, you will find the artistic identity that best matches your musical project and your audience.
Indeed, authenticity will allow your potential fans to attach themselves more easily to your character, but it is also what will allow you to stay in line with the image of your project.
Your visual identity should not distort who you are, but rather amplify the points you want to communicate to your audience in order to attract people who look like you. In short, it is a matter of putting the personality and message of your project first.
Misconception number 4: “I have a logo and professional photos so I don’t need any more at the moment”
Yes… but no.
Very early in your career you can invest in several elements (logo, photos, clips, website, etc.) more or less tangible allowing you to represent your musical project on various media.
These tools are all useful symbols for your visual identity, but your brand cannot stop there.
Individually each element can give tracks to fans and professionals alike in terms of the personality of your musical project.
However, without a vision, without a reminder and without coherence with the rest of your artistic identity, you will not be able to build a culture behind it to suggest a common interpretation and create a sense of belonging.
We cannot treat your visual identity as so many small tasks to be done. A logo is useless if the brand (your musical project) does not give it its meaning.
These representations are tools and not purposes. To stand out, you have to go beyond appearances and understand that you are facing a whole.
The purpose of branding is to influence the perception of the brand of exposed people.
Without vision, message and coherence, each individual will form his own interpretation of your brand and your history, not being confronted with a global, clear and precise interpretation.
Every aspect of your musical project will help exposed people to formulate their own opinion about the identity of your project.
It may be as well:
- Of your outfit on stage
- Publications you share on social networks
- The way you interact with fans online and offline
- People you work with
- Topics you cover in your posts and texts
- Securities that you are taking over
The objective of the branding tools we have seen above is to help reinforce a certain perception of your brand image with your audience, in order to bring meaning to the globality of your actions.
They serve to remind you of the nature of the emotional connection between your musical project and the person concerned.
But this artistic identity must also be clearly defined!
Since your brand image is constantly at the mercy of judgments, you must be in total control of the story you are broadcasting so that it continues to resonate with your audience.
This means that the secret of a successful brand image lies in the coherence of all the elements related directly or indirectly to the musical project. Branding is not just about investing in a logo or album cover. They are not the ones who make up your artistic identity, but you.
Thus, you will understand that branding cannot be reduced to tangible things or even to a given period (promotional campaign in particular). Every day that passes, you share your story, your personality and your message.
Make sure that all these elements (whether tangible or not) are consistent with the personality and image of your musical project.
In the end, you will not be able to decide how your audience will perceive your music, but you can put all the chances on your side to guide their subconscious.
Over the months and years, by multiplying the reminders about your brand image, you will build your credibility, your authority in this direction and you will gain the trust of your niche, allowing you to build up the loyalty of even more fans.
If we look at it more closely, it turns out that the process of creating your artistic identity is much closer to a work of introspection than a list of things to invest in.
Understand who you are, define what you want to represent and from there make sure you are constantly consistent with that when you communicate on behalf of your music project.
Once you have the basis of your musical identity, the objective will be to build your reputation around it by taking every opportunity to recall an aspect of your identity.