Artists and Brands
One of the big differences between major label artists and independent artists, is their awareness and development of themselves as a brand. Many indie artists aren't even sure what a brand is, never mind viewing themselves as a brand. They may use facets of a brand, but they have no real idea what makes a brand and how they can use it. According to the American Marketing Association (AMA), a brand is a "name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers".
In other words, at it's most basic level, your brand is the combination of those elements that represent you, that identify you, out there in a commercial world. Branding is the hook that helps fans distinguish your band from all the other bands out there competing for the fan's attention. Branding is the hook that fans remember easily, that keeps you at the forefront of their minds. Record companies spend tens of thousands, sometime hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars building and maintaining the brand of their artists for good reason - having a visible, memorable and well regarded brand makes a major difference to their bottom line. Your lack of awareness of your band as a brand does not stop it being a brand, but it can stop it being an effective brand, it can stop it working for you.
Bands have many reasons for being careful about choosing their band name. Number one has to be that the name they choose will represent them to the world. It is the tag by which they will collectively be known, for a long, long, long time. The same is true with album names, promotional slogans, symbols, cover art, fonts, graphics, album art, posters, stage sets and even the design of the band image and the image of individual members. The fact that these elements are all components of your brand is precisely why the music industry is so image obsessed. A band's "sound" can even be viewed as a part of their branding. If their sound is immediately identifiable as them, if it is unique enough to stand out from the crowd, then it can contribute something positive and useful to the public perception of the band as a brand.
Is Having A Strong Band Brand Important?
The music market place is fast paced and very, very busy. It is getting easier and easier for individual bands to be overlooked, to be invisible, to not be remembered. Having a strong band means being eye-catching, standing out from the millions of others. It means being memorable.
Most independent bands will create some aspects of their brand without really knowing what they are trying to achieve.
This is something bands just cannot neglect. With so much competition out there, to be successful indie bands have to become experts in marketing and promotion, branding in particular.
Branding is not simply about getting your target fans to buy your music instead of the music made by your competition. In a competitive world, it is about getting your potential fans to see your band as the only band they identify with and will be identified with.
The Objectives Of A Good Band BrandA good brand:
- Delivers Your Brand Message Clearly
- Engages Target Fans
- Connects To Your Target Fans On An Emotional Level
- Demonstrate You Are Credibile
- Motivates Fans To Buy
- Secures Fan Loyalty
To successfully brand your band you must first understand the wants and needs of your fans and potential fans. To do this you need to integrate your brand strategies through your band consistently at every point your band comes into contact with the public. Take time to get to know your fans and the fans you want to attract. This sort of market intelligence is essential to the success of your band. Take it seriously.
Your Band Brand And Your Fans
The concept of your band, your brand, is alive within both the minds and the hearts of your fans, and your potential fans alike. Their concept of who your band is, what your band stands for, is all of their perceptions and all of their experiences added together. While you can influence some of those perceptions and experiences, it just isn't possible to influence them all.
The modern day battleground for fans is an intense, fast moving marketplace where fans are made and fans are lost on a daily basis. Standing out from the sea of faces, the millions of other bands and artists online, is a massive challenge. Having a strong brand for your band is a huge advantage in this battle. It is absolutely essential. Invest in your brand, define it, and build it. Your brand is the beginning of desire in your fans based on what it is you promise to them in your brand message, what it is that your brand fulfils for them as individuals. It is a core means of marketing, of fan communication and not one to dismiss lightly. To lose out on the benefits of a strong brand through ignorance, is incredibly sad, a huge pity, a massively missed opportunity and a future regret.