Many DIY musicians do not really understand the importance of branding. I my last blog I gave you 5 items to concentrate before we dive into developing your music branding.
Google says: “Branding, by definition, is a marketing practice in which a company creates a name, symbol or design that is easily identifiable as belonging to the company. This helps to identify a product and distinguish it from other products and services.” So, let’s pull this apart. In music, this is all about what image you want your music AND personality to say to the world. We are talking about is your voice, your personal music mission, your marketing materials (photos-banners-website) and even your band name.
Let’s explore a few items to make it easier for you to visualize.
LEAVE AN IMPRESSION.
Here we go again talking about that elevator pitch that describes your music to the next person that asks: “What does your music sound like?” So, let’s go back and learn from the artists you are influenced by or feel you fit in the same genre. How did those famous musicians and band’s logo’s, banners, ads and photos leave an impression on their audience and convince people to listen to their music?? This is discovering ‘Branding in Action.’
You need to focus on what you are presenting. We are getting back to convincing someone to PUSH THAT BUTTON and listen to your music. Start doing a mash up…. Find a classic (well-known) artist you have something in common with (genre, stories, attitude towards the world or a cause) AND add to that a contemporary band that is in your musical genre that has bloomed in the last 6 few months. If you dare, add a wild or smooth tag line that hits your swagger or uniqueness.
(i.e., “We blend the storytelling vibe Carly Simon, with vocals compared to Brenda Carlisle but with the indie conviction of Chance the Rapper” OR “We fit into a jazzy category similar to John Coltrane while boasting Latin-American rhythms similar to DIY Brazilian-Norwegian singer Charlotte Dos Santos.” OR keeping it really simple… “People say we have the rock energy of Led Zeppelin with the same bluesy fire as Alabama Shakes.”)
AGAIN, you get to choose but make it interesting. We know, that besides picking your band name, this describing your music is a hard chore. Try giving your most popular 2 songs to a music person you trust plus 2 or 4 of your music fans, and I bet you can come up with something you are proud to boast.
THE IMPORTANCE OF VISUALS.
Here we are getting back to ‘YOUR STORY.” Exactly who you are, what are your songs saying and what kind of persona do you want to present to the public? Yes, we are talking about EVERYTHING the pubic sees visually! Will what they SEE convince them to want to interact and push the play button to hear your music?
Does your physical image, that means your photos, your logo, your videos, social media banners and even what you are wearing, identify you are a musician playing a specific genre? Are we talking about charisma? Of course, but more than that, can I tell your genre just by seeing your visuals? People’s attention span is short…I mean less than 15 seconds short, and they see your visuals first so those tangible items need to spark curiosity! So, yes, a picture tells a thousand stories.
EXAMPLE: VINTAGE TROUBLE PROMOTION
I really like a band called ‘Vintage Trouble.’ They shine with a big rock show, featuring their singer twisting, jumping and dancing throughout every word. I think that the name ‘Vintage Trouble’ tells me that story. Their website is really colorful and fun and even their logo has a family crest in the middle of their name. Their merch store is called “Troubleland” and they describe their music as: a blend of swaggering rock, soulful blues, RNB groove and pop ambition formed into a bold and brash brew quartet.” I don’t know about you but I have to listen to that! …. Take a look at the cover of their single “Knock Me Out!” https://www.vintagetrouble.com/music/
Again, you want to learn from musicians and bands who have really identified their name, logo, visuals and how to describe their music to make people push the PLAY button! There is a method to attracting the people who you want to listen to your music. It just takes some experimenting.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Do most people in the world ever explore a thesaurus or dictionary anymore? If you have a band, choosing a name that you like and getting that name to fit your genre of music, may take even a few days. It takes a lot of research.
I remembering spending almost 2 days with one of my musicians when we wanted to give her band a name. First, we just brainstormed by putting our music genres together, reading bios of bands we felt she was similar to, and when we found about 20 names we started looking to see if anyone had the domain name…. if it was open then we did a general search to see if any other bands had a similar name.
Then we checked all the social medias to see if there was someone who was operating with something similar. FINALLY, we found one we really liked. We went to Go Daddy and bought the name for a few years. ALWAYS GET THE .com! The .com always comes up first in Google.
If you find another band with a name that could be confused with your spelling or are operating in your same genre, I am sorry to day, you need to start over. Adding the word “THE” or “BAND” or “MUSIC” at the end, I guess is OK, but there is still a possibility if I want to find you, the other person’s name may come up first.
GOING SOLO OR WITH A BAND
CDBaby has a great podcast from one of their conferences about all of this and there is a link below. Remember that most people will somehow see your name or logo in print or hear your name said, so capturing the kind of music you are, can lead to new listeners. Someone on the podcast asked the question, is it OK to go by her own name because she mostly does solo but then sometimes has a band. The response was, “Sure that is fine, BUT if you are playing with a band, it is good to use your name and add that to your advertising. If you are the main singer/songwriter and leader of the music, don’t want to pull recognition from you.
I worked with a musician who wanted to just that. She wanted the band to feel like they were 100 % apart of her creation. I sat her down and specifically told her, if I saw the band, the first question to me would be, “Who is the songwriter?” Since she was also the main singer and creator, if I was an industry person, I would want to sign her only…if she wanted to bring the band with her, that would be fine. Also, for 3 years before the band, she was being recognized and promoted under her own sir name and had a great following. Sometimes change is good if you feel like you are growing into another genre, but really think about it before you go and start over.
The 2 hardest things to do in this music business is to take the first step and the other is to re-invent yourself or come back after a long hiatus and having to go back and pay all those beginning dues again.
WHAT MAKES YOU UNIQUE FROM EVERY OTHER DIY MUSICIAN?
We are still talking about you doing some self-assessment. What is really making you unique…
- Is it your vocal delivery?
- Are you using new instruments and technology in your music?
- Is it your presence on stage?
- Is it how you are revealing your own story through your music?
What REALLY makes you an AUTHENTIC ARTIST? All of this is about are you sharing your own struggles, biggest triumphs and your own musical inspirations through the storytelling in your songs. Yes, the visuals have to be great, but most of all…. are your songs emotionally connecting to an audience?
Remember, YOUR STORY is the INVITE and YOUR MUSIC IS THE PARTY!
FINAL WORDS ON BRANDING
Are you still asking what will branding achieve for me and my music? Today’s blog is about presenting your music to the world but understanding the music genre you are in AND can you connect your visuals to convince someone to listen to your music and become a mega fan.
The items we wrote about today will helps you stand out in a saturated market, give you credibility & make you look professional, lead you to attracting fans and developing a loyalty from those listeners. Branding really is an important part of why people will choose you over listening to others. So, take the time and do some branding. Try something new and see what reactions you get from the music world.
RECOMMENDED READING & LISTENING.