Musician Marketing: Branding

This is the first article in a five-part series that details exactly what you need to market yourself as a successful musician.

Like any other profitable endeavor, music is a business. And as a musician, it's important to understand the basics of musician marketing if you want to be successful in this highly competitive industry. Start by developing a branded image, one that immediately tells your fans who you are and what you do. The following lays out the details on how you can develop a branded image that will help you take your music to the next level.

Importance of a branded image

In business, a branded image is your logo, tagline, colors, fonts/typesets and other attributes that visually represent one's company. In music, the same is true: Every band should develop at least a band logo to instantly gain recognition and set a mood for your audience. The more your audience sees your branded image, the more likely you are to gain credibility and earn fans... paying fans.

A branded image establishes you as a legitimate musician and makes it easier for your fans - or "customers" - to identify with you, and it presents upsell opportunities such as apparel, hats and other merchandise. Without a branded image, all you have is a name. With a branded image, you have a unique style that sets you apart from all other musicians.

How to identify your branded image

To identify your branded image, think about what genre of music you represent. Consider your fans, their likes and dislikes, their passions, and what they respond to. Research competitors to see what how they represent themselves - your most successful competition can lend great insight, indeed. Identify how you are different from your competition.

Next, list the results of all your research: Write down everything you know about who you are in a few words and phrases. Now, consider your own passions - what unique aspects you bring to the music world - and jot those down as well. Put everything together and come up with a preliminary tagline to describe yourself as a musician.

Finally, take your musician definition and consider creative ways to represent that in a word or two. Synonyms and rhyming dictionaries, historical texts, and other resources might be extremely beneficial. Come up with three potential concepts and choose the best - the one that resonates with you - as the name for your band or as a tagline for yourself as a solo artist.

Branding through design

Skilled graphic design can transform your musician's branded identity from a written concept to a visual motivator. This image is what the world will see, and the public will perceive the ideals and emotions that your image expresses.

Your logo doesn't have to be complicated - a simple text style or a few shapes will do. Consider Metallica's first logo (with the lightning bolt "M" and "A") or the Stone Temple Pilots' "STP" logos - they're both simple brand images for exceedingly popular bands. Though simple, when you see these logos you instantly know who they represent, what style of music they play, and whether you're a fan. When you achieve this, you've developed a powerful musician brand identity.