19 Jun 2019

A Guide to Music Branding: Stand Out & Stay Authentic

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Successful artist and bands are defined not just by the music they release, but by their own unique image and brand. But how can new musicians develop, cultivate and market their brand?

 

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A Guide to Branding for Musicians and Bands


Creating and exploiting an interesting, exciting and engaging brand and image for your musical persona doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process that could take years to develop. Or it could already be set in stone. It all depends on you.

A musician's "image" can often be a subjective concept. But to help explain it, we’ve broken the concept of music branding down into three (pretty big & important) steps: defining, building and marketing your brand.

 

Defining your brand

If you’re completely lost when it comes to identifying what makes you and your music stand out, here are some key things to think about.

 

What or who inspires you?

What sets you apart?

What sub-cultures & genres do you belong to?

What’s your style & fashion taste?

Who would you appeal to?

 

Answering these questions is a big step towards defining your personal brand and image, but if you’re still unsure, just take a look around you for inspiration.

 

Go through the music you listen to most and choose 3 (or more) bands or artists that you particularly respect and admire.

Try to describe these artists in a word or two and use these words as a starting point for your own identity.

For example…

Say your biggest inspiration was Lady Gaga. Let’s pick a couple of words that describe her image: Extravagant, Activist.

You can then use these traits as a starting point for building your own brand style. I use the term “building” subjectively here because chances are you already share these characteristics with the artist you admire. The important next step is to make sure you’re conveying this fact to your audience.

 

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A unique & authentic image helps artists to establish their brand.

 

You might think this sounds a bit like copying someone else’s image. But (unless you mimic them to the point you’re a tribute act) it’s really not.

Even the world’s biggest artists and bands have personal heroes who’ve inspired them on their way to stardom. Taking inspiration from someone you admire is a huge part of an artist’s journey.

 

There's the old argument that developing and carefully cultivating a music image and brand takes away from the authenticity of an artist. But in truth, the two should be intrinsically linked.

Your image should originate from your own authenticity. The way in which you convey this authentic image to your fans is how you build your brand.

 

 

Building your brand 

While defining your image can be a pretty ambiguous part of any music brand development, building your brand is where all the pieces come together to create real, marketable and easily-recognisable ideas, assets, graphic, performances and products.

Aside from your music itself, here are some of the main ways in which you will build and convey your brand to audiences.

 

Artist or band name

Logo

Physical appearance

Live performance style

Website

Social media presence

 

Brand management and consistency are important across all these mediums.

Consider some of the world’s biggest artists.

You can identify them from something as simple as a font choice, colour scheme or icon because their image and brand identity is so strong it has been ingrained into our culture.

 

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A memorable artist logo can become ingrained in music culture 

 

The imagery and tone of voice you use to convey yourself as an artist can help you to truly stand out in a crowded music scene.

It’s also worth investing in some professional design software like Photoshop, or working with a graphic designer, to create your logos, social media imagery, gig posters, etc. Make sure you always look the part.

 

 

Marketing your brand

Now you’ve delved into your inspirations, developed an image that feels right, and created some killer branding – it’s time to market yourself as an artist.

First, let’s identify the main marketing channels through which musicians can develop and hone their brand and image.

 

Music merchandise 

Live shows

Social media

Email marketing

 

Your distinctive and authentic brand image should be at the heart of everything you market through these channels. It should make clear who you are, what your appeal is (or who you'll appeal to) and why people should be interested in you.

You can learn more about marketing yourself through each of these mediums by hitting the links above for more in-depth articles on each.

 

Lastly, there’s one important thing to remember…

 

MAKE GREAT MUSIC!

 

Your tracks need to be high quality and well-produced, and your live performances need to be watertight and engaging.

If your music resonates with people, everything will fall into place more easily.

 

Do you have any question or advice around music branding from your own experiences? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.