So, what does branding have to do with your success as a band? I think the answer is everything. Branding can be looked at from two different perspectives. First, branding is a way to build a fan base. In this regard, branding is about you, the artist. Branding is representative of your image and marketability. Who are you and what do you have that people want?
Second, branding is a market. That is, smaller companies are now looking for ways to promote themselves with new technology that was previously unavailable. This is good news for the independent artists who have the advantage of making decisions for themselves. Independent artists can quickly work with a company to help develop a brand that has the potential to benefit both the artist and the company.
Let’s start with you. Most people understand the value of branding. We learn this very early in life if you think about it. That is, most everyone experiences a certain level of satisfaction from their uniqueness. We like to be known for our particular traits and sometimes our eccentricities. I recall how much fun it was to laugh at my friends and to laugh with my friends regarding our individual characteristics. Of course, I was frequently at the brunt of the jokes as I had more than my share of unusual habits and characteristics, but this is not about me.
For a band, brand can be the sound of the singers voice or the abilities of certain musicians. It is also a logo or an attitude or a cause or a look. We understand these things implicitly. The Beatles understood this very well with their unusual haircuts, Nairu jackets, Beatle boots and humor. Success is not guaranteed, however. Success only comes when these branding elements resonate with a large number of people. We also understand popularity on a small scale. That is, we know what works within small groups of people with whom we come into contact. What most of us do not understand is popularity on a large scale. That is, how do we get a lot of people to notice our wonderful gifts? Fortunately, if you are reading this, you live in a new era in which reaching large numbers of people is possible. Unfortunately, every other band (and millions of aspiring kids as well as adults with newly found hobbies) around the world also realize this potential, so we are back to square one, in many ways. That is, how do we get through to our potential fans through so much competition and noise?
Marketing professionals have studied this for many years. Your connection with your market is called reach and your success due to exposure is analogous to market penetration for a product.
Ok, let’s switch gears for a moment and talk about branding as a market for you as a band. Yes, I believe there is a potential market for your music associated with branding for small companies. Corporate branding was once available only to those who could afford it. It is a lot of work and it does require a great deal of knowledge and skill. There is also a potential down side when branding does not go well for the artist or the company. This is where knowledge and skill can help to find a good match between a particular artist and company. There is also a multivariable system that can sometimes be unforgiving, unresponsive, indifferent and sometimes hostile. This system is the market that we are hoping to attract. It can be disturbing when a lot of money and time are devoted and the result is the sound of crickets or even worse, the sound of an angry mob outside your door. This is why it is a good idea to develop a strategy and understand the markets that you are trying to penetrate.