5 Questions to Ask When Creating Your Artist Brand
As a musician myself, I can’t stress how important your brand identity as an artist is. You put hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into creating and recording. When it’s done, I understand the appeal and excitement of putting that post on Facebook saying “IT’S HERE!” I get that feeling of accomplishment when it’s out there! But there’s undeniably that feeling the following day when you don’t know what to do next.
I know that initial social media post is a crucial and awesome part of releasing new music. All of the likes, comments and shares create a feeling of immediate gratification you can’t get in any other way. What happens next though? How do you reel in more than your friends and family and create a version of yourself that will appeal to, and grow, your ideal audience? What is your voice? What does your image sell? How does your brand sell your music?
Working with some of Nashville and Manchester, England's most promising up-and-coming artists such as Omega Swan, James Ross, and Cassidy Stone (Rebrand from Tim Gallagher,) Innovo Management LLC. is a company with an authority on the subject of artist branding. I recently had a conversation with the founders of Innovo, Sam Saideman and Ian Rodriguez about how to create the perfect artist brand. Here are five simple questions that they often ask their signed artists - and artists they consult with - to work through that may be helpful to you:
1) What makes you different?
We've found that there’s always a quick answer to this. However, once we dig a bit deeper there's always something bigger and better to separate you from others. That bigger element is what you need to find! With digital streaming being the forefront of music discovery, the market is extremely competitive. Knowing what makes you different as an artist is a great tool to stand out.
2) How is your music going to have an impact on your fans?
It's always good to think about long term impacts as well as shorter sighted goals. Is your music going to affect people emotionally? Can it inspire cultural changes or maybe influence moral beliefs? Does it make your audience move and smile? It's important to consider the impact that your music can have when launching a career and create an image based off of the impact that you want to have.
3) Why do you make music?
Are you making music to get fame, recognition, and money? Are you doing it because you want to impress the girl/guy next door? Or maybe because you need to cope with a past or current event in your life? Whatever it may be, knowing the why will help drive the decisions you make, the opportunities you accept and decline, your social persona, and everything else vital to a career in music.
4) What is the first thing you want others to understand about you?
You need your message and brand to be easily digestible to new fans. Whether someone’s first interaction with you is a song they stumbled upon, a live performance, or a targeted Facebook ad, you want them to understand you and your music. Cohesiveness is central to growth. All avenues to discovery should give people the same feeling, information, experience, and message no matter where they find you. Be consistent.
5) Who do you want as a fan/consumer?
Let’s face it, you can’t please everyone. It’s just a fact of life that we all learn sooner or later. That being said, you can still please enough people to have a rewarding music career. Finding a target audience makes your ads more cost efficient and strengthens your support. This makes it easier to reach the people who will care. Drake’s team isn't targeting his ads to Slipknot fans and the Red Hot Chili Peppers aren't targeting their ads to Skrillex fans. Save money, know who you want to reach, and reel them in in the most effective way possible.
By working through the above questions, you're on your way to creating a more cohesive artist brand! Innovo said it best:
In creation we often forget perception. You can spend so much time writing, recording, performing, and promoting that it’s often easy to forget that there's another side of the coin. You can pour your heart and soul into the message you’re trying to convey, but if no one believes that message it doesn't matter how good the music is! Authenticity outperforms every time, and the best way to convey that authenticity is through your artist brand.