You are your brand. Your music, your stage name, logo, website, social media accounts, lyrics, and even the clothes you wear collectively represent your personal brand. So what do you want your brand to say about you? What do you want people to take away when they view your brand? First impression is everything, so you better make it a lasting one. If your brand is non-existent, inconsistent, or incompetent, then you might as well forget any curator, A&R, label, editor, and even fan taking you seriously. Chances are if you don't know who you are as a brand and the message you want to convey, then neither will they.
One thing I want to make clear, I am not saying as an artist you have to be confined, redundant or predictable when it comes to your music. It is okay to experiment with different sounds, because that's how you find your "voice", keep your listeners engaged, and most importantly how you set yourself apart from other artists. However, it's not okay to entirely confuse your audience by doing hip-hop/R&B one minute then heavy metal the next. At least not in the beginning when you're still building your fan base. Although there's no doubt as you progress as a person, so will your music, which means as you gain fans you will definitely lose some along the way. It's just reality - sorry, you can't please everyone. Anyways, I digress. The point is be consistent and show people that you are here to make a statement. And that all starts with brand-building.
Obviously, the music is the starting point. What genre does it fit in? Okay good. Now what is the current market like? Take a look at what your competitors are doing and pay attention to whom and what is relevant in the game. Observe, study, report, and then formulate all that research around how you're going to fit into that spectrum and mold yourself into the artist you want to be. Next is the name. Does it roll of the tongue nicely? Is it memorable? Is it easy to pronounce? Does it have stage presence? Once you have those two down start moving on to the finer details such as logo design, web design, editorial, and more. Invest in a logo, this is your brand we're talking about, don't fall short on the logo when everything else is up to par. Because you want to picture everything as a whole and think long-term. Is my logo gonna be strong enough to sell on branded merchandise, showcased in the media, or imprinted on marketing collateral? Your logo will be everywhere, so make that shit stand out; make it impactful. Think big! Then, there is the website and your social media. What kind of content are you going to create that is going to spark interest and keep people engaged on your social media and your website? This is your chance to tell a visual story, so how do you plan to do that? Just get creative and start making dope shit and people will take notice. However, I can't stress enough, it's important to stay consistent across all channels and touch points - website, social media, ReverbNation, and so forth.
Consider this your success check list. Music, Name, Logo, Content, Website, Social Media, Distribution, Events, Revenue, PR. And start checking off each component of the list as you go, and keep adding to that list also. Think of it as your marketing plan. You research the competitive landscape and the current market, and then you develop your strategy on building your brand based on all that research you found. So I call it a success check list, because when you lay the foundation and have a solid plan you are setting your brand up for success. Remember, you are your brand, and every brand has a story to tell. So what's your story? Comment and share yours below.
Thanks for reading The Indie Hustle.