Why Your Music Brand Identity Matters
A well-developed music brand identity is probably the most overlooked marketing strategy when starting a new band or music career. Many musicians fail to see the value and importance of branding and simply ignore the process altogether. Unfortunately, without brand identity there really is no clear or definitive characteristic that separates you from any other average band playing your genre of music. Important enough to mention, consistent effective identity branding can leave lasting impressions, establish a trusted reputation, build long-term relationships with fans, and provide a way for you to express your music to attract the right fan base to support your career.
Promoting and selling your music without a clear brand identity, in comparison, is the same as trying to sell a product in the grocery store with an unknown label or “brand.” The shopper is not sure who it is, or what the product represents, so they pass it by, and the seller misses an opportunity to sell their product. The shopper has no way of building a positive cognitive impressionable “brand image” and instead develops negative feelings. Sure, you’ll get a few interactions from those willing to try it, but those interactions are hit or miss and rarely convert visitors into committing to a long-term relationship or becoming a loyal fan. If there is nothing distinguishable to relay to the audience, “hey this is who I am,” then you will have difficulty promoting and selling your music to the right target audience. From an audience or fan’s perspective, your brand identity (who you say you are) is the perceived brand image (who your audience sees you as.) they will develop with you during their first interaction. Therefore, brand perception plays an important role when deciding to commit to becoming a fan, purchasing, sharing, or simply rejecting your music altogether.
So, what is a music brand identity? It is the one component of your music business that will be your unique identifier in a vast sea of competitors. Simply put, a music brand identity is anything you do to identify yourself, your values, your personality, and the music you represent as an artist or band to connect with a targeted audience interested in what you have to offer. An effective brand identity clearly establishes a memorable and distinctive message that creates uniqueness, is easily understood, and makes an identifiable mental and emotional connection with your intended target audience. You can achieve this by asking some basic questions like who, what, why, and how. For example, why you are doing this, what are your core beliefs and values about your music, what is it that makes you better than the next musician, who do you want to be your audience, how do you want your audience to describe your band or music? Your brand identity usually begins with the creation of a unique logo and font set that expresses who you are as an artist or band.
However, brands are not only made up of cool logos and font sets, but they are also represented by your social media accounts, a well designed band website, photography, the content you share, interactions with your audience, your persona, and by the image you project through clothing fashions and trends in your music domain. Analyze all these brand components and orchestrate them into a consistent brand identity that echoes a clear identifiable message with the people you want to attract and connect with. Having different messages across different platforms sends your audience mixed signals and can cause frustration and lead to the infamous bounce.
Most importantly, once you establish your music brand identity and all your promotional platforms are determined, being consistent with your mechanisms of delivery should be your focusing priority. Everything you do surrounding your music should reflect how you want to be perceived regarding your music brand. All your social media platforms, websites, music promotional materials, etc., should be consistently sharing the exact same message and visual presentation in a unified design complementing each other. Your purpose, your core beliefs, your persona, your uniqueness, and your brand voice should all be resonating the same message across all your channels of communication.
Believe it or not, it’s not always about the music. Without question, there are plenty of talented musicians out there struggling who are making absolutely zero on their talents or making sales that amount to nothing more than short of paying the bills. Music isn’t the only driving factor behind the psychological attraction between fans and the artist’s music. The connection runs much deeper than just your music. In fact, some people will become fans just because they feel a connection to your personal story, because their friends approve, because the singer is cute, or whatever. Brand identity plays a major factor in the way fans potentially view their favorite artists.
Developing your music brand identity can be very rewarding when approached the correct way. Setting time aside as a band, or with a team of music professionals, to brainstorm your music brand can help simplify the process and generate a clear and distinctive plan to bring your brand to life.