Today especially, image is everything for musicians. Modern culture is increasingly driven by visuals and dominated by social media. So, quality branding is vital to becoming a successful artist. Here is a look at the importance of branding in the music industry.
What is Branding?
Branding is the process of developing a strong, identifiable perception of an individual or business.
Coordinating creative outputs, marketing materials, and specific messaging shapes a personal identity. One that helps artists differentiate themselves from several others competing for the same attention and even the same genre. Strong, consistent branding creates a unique perception to audiences.
There is no one way to approach branding – it’s a complex process that involves diving into your own identity as an artist to determine what characterizes you, then using careful messaging and media selection to tell that story.
Branding is important for any business and even more so for artists because your musical output is essentially an extension of your brand identity. You may buy a product from a particular business because you like what they sell, regardless of the company branding. But for an artist, if the audience doesn’t connect with your branding in some way, it’s doubtful they’ll give your music a chance.
What Makes a Successful Brand?
A brand is successful when it clearly articulates the intended mission statement of the subject to an audience. It can be somewhat tough to quantify this success in metrics, but there are a few key factors that have worked for artists and businesses in the past.
The demonstration of a unique identity that separates you from the competition is one. If your branding fails to help you stand out from the crowd, it may be time to rethink your aesthetic choices.
Consistent messaging across all channels is another. You may decide to tweak your brand voice slightly to appeal to different audiences on different channels, but it should fit a cohesive identity. For instance, the way you present yourself on LinkedIn may be different than how you interact with fans on Instagram. But ultimately fans should be able to tell that you are the same person with the same interests and beliefs, which is clearly articulated through your choice of messaging.
Being able to demonstrate your value proposition to customers is another one of the most essential elements of a successful brand. In today’s world, consumers have so many different choices when it comes to listening to music, that it’s almost overwhelming. If you want to have any shot at breaking through all the white noise, you need to work on developing a brand that naturally draws people in.
You could do this by having a unique look or offering free content that helps other artists discover their identities. But if you want to make an impact, you’ll have to offer value to your listeners and find a way to demonstrate that value through your branding.
Tips for Artists Looking to Build a Strong Brand
Building a successful brand is easier said than done. It takes hard work, persistence, and the ability to think objectively about what makes you different. Here are a few actionable tips for artists looking to build a strong brand.
- Develop a memorable live show using stage props and costumes
- Write songs using highly personal lyrics that tell your unique story
- Use unusual instruments or tuning to create unique textures and sounds
- Create behind the scenes content to show fans your recording process
- Give out free information on the music business to build a community of other artists
- Develop an eye-catching line of merch and use your fans as brand ambassadors
- Offer exclusive content for joining your mailing list
- Hire a professional copywriter to help you write press releases and a compelling bio
There are a variety of different ways that you can develop a strong brand as an artist. Branding is all about figuring out what you want to communicate using all the tools at your disposal to get that message to an audience. There are many different tools and channels you can use to successfully build a brand. However, you have to be willing to experiment and try different techniques.
The first step is to sit down and think about what makes you unique, what kind of messages you’re trying to get across with your music, and what kind of impact you’re trying to have on your audience. Once you answer those important questions, you’ll be able to start creating a roadmap for your brand, using some of the tips outlined in this guide. If you need more help, the Musicians Institute Independent Artists Program can help you develop the key skills needed to build a strong, personalized brand identity.