Table of contents
- How to communicate your brand
- Putting your brand story together
- What is your brand story?
- How to promote your brand image
- The 3 C's of branding
- Brand expansion with social media
- Brand growth strategies
- How to tell if branding is working
building a fanbase? The secret ingredient is branding
As strange as it sounds, to be a real player in the music and brands game you need to be out of the game.
Let me explain:
If you take a careful look at the industry, you will notice that the top 5% of artists aren't even playing on the same level as the bottom 95%.
They have may more money and bigger followings than the remaining 95%.
Why? How? Let me tell you the REAL reason behind this phenomenon.
See, this is simply because everything these top artists do is for the purpose of standing out as much as possible (in the right way.)
Now you may be thinking, "that's cool, they stand out. But how can that help me?"
This is actually the thing that can get you from being a nobody to an accomplished artist!
But before I actually get to that I want you to ask yourself this question:
Have you ever had those moments where it seems like a lot of people are checking out your stuff, but nobody really stays?
Damn, it's the most so frustrating feeling in the world!
Looking around, it doesn't seem like the top artist were facing this issue while coming up, what gives?
Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem. It just may not be what you think it is.
Well, actually there are two types of solutions.
There are quick fixes (promotions) and long-term fixes (music artist branding and interactions).
I want you to be aware that these two solutions are equally crucial for music and brands career success.
For example, I can easily give you a strategy that can get people to land on your page and check out your sweet, but... what's next?
How can you actually get them to stay as fans in the long-run?
That's the hardest part, but also the most rewarding - the only solution to this is branding.
Think about it, how many social media posts and profiles do you scroll past every single day?
Do you remember every single one?
If you said yes, then you're just capping!
It isn't possible to remember everything you see, your brain just isn't wired for that (it would be so dope though.)
That is the reason why music artist branding is so important.
Our minds are selective with what it chooses to keep in storage so you must stand out in order to be remembered.
This is where branding comes in.
It's the long-term solution to this problem.
Music is way too competitive so in order to have a long, fulfilling, rewarding career in the music industry you can't skimp out on this.
Your great brand will have an X-Factor:
Something that sets you apart and leaves a lasting impression.
I know this is going to sound horrible to hear this but without branding, you won't get any type of lasting success in the music game.
I'm going to touch on this further in this article but I really want to get this out there first. '
As soon as you realize this, you'll be able to work on it and grow as an artist!
50% of your brand is communication
Let me explain this to you as simply as possible:
Communication is the art of getting your message across to show your side of the story.
See, when you master communication, you can then express your brand image in the perfect way and your audience will be able to digest it.
Communication is the true path to getting your artist image noticed and recognized.
Now that you have communication in mind, let's hop into putting your brand story together.
let's put your brand story together
Right now, you're way ahead of most artists.
You are about to learn the foundation behind getting real recognition.
Firstly, I really urge you to fully read this article and follow these steps I'm laying out for you.
It will give you opportunities you never would have thought of.
There is so much importance in successfully putting your brand story together.
It needs to distinctively stand out because that's what everybody looks at when they sniff out "star talent".
To tell your story you must first know your story, that's how you get music recognized.
That starts with knowing yourself- understanding who you are, is the base that your artist career is built on top of.
To get things started, let's take a little trip down memory lane.
Think back to the very first moment you either heard your favorite artist or made your first track.
Channel back that rush, excitement, and emotions that made you who you are today.
They say when you write something down you understand it better so I really want you to write this down, don't just keep all the good stuff in your head.
Not only that, writing things down will keep you more accountable and urge you to stay focused on reaching your goals.
Stop reading this right now!
Go grab a piece of paper or use your phone's notes (I prefer paper though) and just take two or three minutes to write down three things:
- Who you are as an artist
- Who you are as a person
- What you define as "greatness".
Make sure that there is an overlap between these three topics.
At the end of the day, your music and brands are just mere reflections and expressions of who you are as a human being.
Ask yourself what your 'why' is.
Why are you in the music game? Is it...
- To get music recognized?
- The money?
Or is it just the fact that you can express yourself and influence the world in a better way?
Of course, every artist has a different 'why'.
So long as you deeply know your 'why' you can express yourself nicely and target your audience a million times better.
This 'why' will give you a powerful look into what type of vibe and aesthetic you should go for.
Overall, the sooner you know your 'why' then the sooner everything you build can go in one constant direction.
(It's more apparent later in this blog.)
So you have your 'why', lets now get your 'what'. As in, what is your story?
looking deeper at your BRAND story
The best way to communicate is through stories.
Back before reading and writing were invented. (before practically anything was invented)
Humans would communicate concepts and information through stories.
We have a natural built-in tendency to follow stories.
This is crucial for your music artist branding because your 'brand image' is simply your story.
When we dissect a story down to its main components, we think of the emotional journey and themes that come at play.
The Weeknd is an amazing example of great storytelling.
The Weeknd's story is of a soft-hearted man expressing his emotions about his love, passions, and tragedies.
Both his older and newer works tell the story but keeps building on top of this.
This is why people really connect the Weeknd's brand image.
He was able to build a strong and loyal fanbase through his brand story.
You can do the same! You just need to follow the very basics of your storytelling:
Just think of what you value most and your ideal music subject matter.
Keep this consistent and really dig deep to show your side of this and progress with it.
Bam. That's your story.
There are many things you can include in your brand story, oftentimes it's your ideal lifestyle living through your art.
A cool way to tell your brand story across is by discussing your views on the music game and life as a whole.
Think Joey Badass - his entire career is essentially just this type of storytelling.
You can also use the successes and failures of your past and (potential) future as the candle that lights up your story.
The sky is limitless, and so are the ways you can portray your story.
Now that you wrote down your 'why' (or at least I hope you did) you must now mix it together with storytelling and that becomes your main artist brand concept!
This is what people refer to when they say 'artist image.'
Since your artist image is a reflection of yourself, you'll find it easier to stay authentic if you actually live your brand's message.
It's a great feeling too because your personal story is being appreciated as well.
A question to ask yourself is:
what makes you different/unique while keeping it authentically YOU?
Here are examples of things that can stand your brand apart:
- You play musical instruments
- You have a great singing voice
- You have other skills are unrelated to music (design/visuals, videos, etc.)
These things grab a butt-load of attention and create an attractive element around you that will make people want to stay.
Keep the brand-building going and don't let the hate or negativity wear you down.
100% of artists face brand criticism at any point in their careers so you must find a way to use that as fuel to keep going.
It's not easy navigating through the music industry jungle, but these obstacles will stop bothering you over time.
Welcome to the jungle, baby.
promoting your brand image
At this point in the guide you should:
- Know your 'why'
- Understand the importance of communication
- Have your brand story together
There are many no-name artists that don't have a single story and because of that aren't worth a damn cent.
It's harsh to hear, but that's the cold truth of the industry.
The value your brand story is shown when somebody sees.
Now only do they see your music but also see the 'why' and will resonate with your concepts and values.
This connection is what will turn followers into fans.
XXXTentacion, Tupac, and Playboi Carti are three great examples of artists that properly communicate their brand story.
In everything they do/did, there is always the aspect of their brand.
Due to this, they have (arguably) some of the most die-hard cult fanbases!
You must always include your brand touch when you're promoting anything so that you're maximizing the full effects.
Remember the 3 main C's of branding
I didn't come up with this concept, but it is extremely valuable.
In order to help you visualize your branding overtime you should use the 3 C's framework to piece it together.
This is it:
How easily is your audience able to understand exactly what your story is?
If you're making it overly complex and there is too much clutter then people will have a hard time finding the deeper side of you.
Make it clear so you can communicate your story better.
A good way to do this is just focusing on one main brand message in each work you do and double own on getting that across.
By doing that you can save your time, energy, and resources to perfecting that image.
When you discover that higher results are achieved through a certain communication style, keep going that way.
If you're changing up every 5 Seconds you're not going to get a long-term fanbase.
Just imagine if J.Cole started making country music songs and his music videos were of him vibing in Kentucky.
Strange, to say the least.
He would lose a lot of his fanbase almost immediately because everybody would lose confidence in his ability to release good hiphop music again.
Constancy is similar to consistency but the only difference is that it's within all your platforms, not just in your music.
keep it constant in your visuals, social media, etc.
That way anytime somebody sees it they will see your brand immediately.
Social media: the greatest gift to artist building a brand
We really could not have been born in a better time than right now.
The amount of reach you can get on social media today is absolutely unthinkable in the past.
There has been no other time in history where you can get your story shown to many others with very little work.
You have the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of people- and you can do it absolutely free.
That being said since it's so easy you can expect your competition to get tougher every coming day.
That's why you need to stand out through branding to get music recognized.
Not using social media to your advantage is pretty much the same as shooting your music career in the foot.
Ouch, that's a lot of damage to your career!
To prevent you from missing out, here are great tips to help keep your social media in line with your brand
You can't polish a turd.
No matter what you do to improve something, if it's fundamentally crap then you need to cut your losses and start back at square one.
See, the music industry is just one part of the entertainment industry so you need to keep it entertaining.
If you have to I strongly suggest that you remove all your boring/unnecessary content and keep all your future posts interesting and appealing.
Some of the ways you can increase your appeal are by having higher resolution photos, adding nice visual effects, and adding an emotional touch to the posts.
This really makes it pop and goes a long way. We do this in our posts, here is a breakdown:
Make sure that you throw in different types of posts.
Don't be the person that posts the same thing over, over, over, and over again.
When you look at top artist profiles they have a variety of different types of posts because it keeps things fresh.
The fans know to expect something new and interesting every time.
Even psychically looking unique can score you some points.
Some artist look so unique that you can pick them out from a crowd.
Look at these artist and you can immediately see how they stand out:
Theme and captions
Themes and captions are great for personalizing your profiles.
Try to keep a consistent theme in all your post so it matches your brand story and your artist's image.
Travis Scott does a great job at having a brand theme.
Not to mention, your captions should reflect your personal story as well, so keep it engaging.
Sometimes it's okay to be controversial in your captions.
I'm not saying turn into a full political spokesman or saying foolishness for controversy, but stick up for what you believe in and fight for your beliefs.
So long as you do this in a way that nobody's reputation gets hurt it can bring a lot of attention to your page and make you stand out.
It builds an artist's image of a great personality!
Targeting your posts
This by itself is probably one of the biggest things that artists mess upon.
Make sure all your content targets your exact demographic; the people who really support your brand and help it grow.
You may be thinking "if I target more people that means more fans, and more success!"
If it was that easy then anybody would have G.O.A.T status by now.
Instead of trying to hit a brand new demographic all the time you should focus on what you already have, you'll find more success through just growing in one niche.
There is a culture surrounding your brand so really dig deep in that culture and find the right people who fit that culture.
Some examples of the 'culture' are the hypebeast culture in Playboi Carti's brand, and alternative culture in Tyler the Creator's brand and then woke culture that follows J.Cole.
Really target this culture and your story will speak for itself!
Interact with your potential fans
Something so simple yet so forgotten.
Don't ever forget that you need to interact with your followers because your followers turn into fans.
It sounds so foolish, but there are actual artists that think ignoring their fans makes them look more "official".
Some more fitting words for this are dumb and inconsiderate.
By interacting with your page visitors consistently they will get to know you better and be more willing to check out your other music and platform.
Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint.
Build meaningful connections rather than just a following.
There are many different ways to interact with your audienc.
Some ways could be through live streams, DM, Snapchat, etc.
Our fan interaction guide digs deep on how you can interact with people to turn them into fans, so go read that for a full breakdown!
Showing gratitude and love back to other artists in the music industry can also turn them into your fans, don't overlook that part!
Part of networking is forming the connection- it goes a long, long way.
Try not to just spam comment three fire emojis; it doesn't cut it as an acceptable response.
Do you remember the last time somebody left "🔥🔥🔥" under your posts?
strategies that make your brand stand out
Let's get into the practical stuff - these 5 marketing strategies will make your brand shine.
1. Host A Giveaway
Most artists don't invest very much in their careers. I mean at all!
Simply hosting a giveaway will make you stand way ahead of the crowd.
People forget a lot of things, but the chance to get free stuff isn't one of them!
The whole idea with the giveaways is that the reward has such great value that people will pay extra attention to it.
A great example of this was our Boost Collective Mega Giveaway.
This allowed us to gain over 4,000 new followers to our Instagram account!
Many of these followers stayed in the long-term because they got the chance to experience our brand story.
(Heck, that's probably the reason why you're reading this right now!)
You want people to see this type of dedication in your brand.
You don't need to give away $8,000 prizes, even small things of great value will set you apart from the average artist brand.
A few things to give out are:
- $20 amazon gift cards
- Your own free beats or buying them a $20 beat from Beatstars
- Writing them a bar or giving away verses
- Any other skills you may have (cover art design, mixing, reposts, etc.)
Be creative, it's a lot of fun!
2. Create an artist website to showcase your brand
"Why should I create a website- my social media showcases my brand already!"
It's a professional industry standard to have your own live artist website if you really want to be taken seriously.
All the top music executives or labels that you will want to work with in the future are going to take your music brand much more seriously when you have a website.
Remember: your fans aren't the only people your brand needs to stand out for!
The Boost Collective website is a great example.
How many of you would take us seriously as a music branding agency if we decided to not build a website?
Whether you're selling music or other products, websites are essential to branding.
3. Fundraising builds your brand as well
Fundraising and giving back is an amazing thing.
Life isn't always about taking, taking, taking.
Every now and then you should give back, it's one of the most epic moments ever. You will feel so good and it truly shows your appreciation for others.
Look at it from the viewer's perspective: there isn't a single person that sees a fundraising event and hates the brand.
You will find that nowhere on this earth.
This really helped to repair Xxxtentacion's brand.
X's fundraising events really show this amazing branding effect.
His fundraising events made his emotional and humanitarian image much more memorable.
This was so remarkable even after death he is remembered as an overall good guy despite his edgy history.
Fundraising events give your brand a good type of influence and make you more trustworthy.
Helping others is a win-win situation.
4. Follow a content strategy to build your brand
"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." -Benjamin Franklin.
That's the exact same approach when it comes to putting out content.
Do you honestly think that your posts mean anything if you just do whatever, whenever?
I really want you to adopt a different mindset towards everything you do in your career.
You gotta plan this sh*t out!
Some artists don't even put out regular content aside from the music itself.
Simply posting isn't enough to gain sufficient traction on your songs, there needs to be some sort of content to introduce a visitor to it first.
Think of a content strategy as a really strong magnet to attract fans.
It takes some time to learn magnificent strategies for successful content releases but as you get better over time the process with become easier and streamlined.
Just take a look at Boost Collective's content and you can clearly see that there's a strategy behind our posting.
We go deeper with strategies in our fan interaction guide, you should use it if you want better results on your posts!
It's always quality over quantity.
Gary Vaynerchuck says put as much content out there as possible, and as you put more and more content out you're going to discover what really works and what doesn't.
After testing this, I was able to grow our Instagram to 13.7k+ followers as of April 2020.
Just look at the numbers
I would really follow this.
The best tool at your disposal is analytics because it adds up the numbers and directly displays results.
These results will help you find out how to proceed in your future posting for maximum results.
Over time you can adjust and change up the type of content posted so that it fits your audience better.
Go out there and start making content in a more strategic manner!
These constant changes and improvements in posting strategies are the reason we are able to put out so much fresh new content and really build our following over our social media profiles.
We really urge you to go and do the same thing if you want to stand out and grow in the industry!
5. brand deals building up your brand
I spoke about brand deals before in our guide showing how you can get a brand deal.
These deals are amazing because not only do you get paid, but your brand takes the next step into looking more official.
By having other companies willing to do deals with you shows it that you have an entrepreneurial brand and are ready to take your music career up to professional levels.
Even if you don't get a brand deal it's important to have a media kit to show others.
how to tell if your branding is WORKING
How can you tell if it's working? Simple answer: results.
Time is the greatest test of success so you will recognize what truly works that way.
People can lie (and often do) but numbers don't. You're going to notice patterns.
Over time certain themes will show higher results and traction than others, so you must stick to that.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that you need to totally sell out to the numbers and likes.
The point is that higher numbers often mean that there's a higher impact on your true fanbase.
The "results" to look for are meaningful interactions with your fans, such as:
- People leaving deep and meaningful comments
- People DM'ing you to show love
- People asking you to do collabs/projects
These metrics show that you are on the right track because most 'followers' don't do this for everyone- only real fans do!
I mean, do you show this same love to EVERY single person that you follow?
There isn't even enough time in your day to do that so you selectively decide who to show love to.
As you put more stuff out there you can test it and know what works and what doesn't over time.
Make sure that you put out different types of content with your same brand a story, or even communicate it in various ways.
I promise that you will notice the real effects.
It's never over until the fat lady sings.
Let's summarize what we talked about here: you already know that you have a great brand image in your head.
The only thing that needs adjusting is how you communicate that and get it out there.
Since there are so many distractions so much other content your brand building is the edge you're going to have.
That beautiful feeling of getting noticed and recognized for your great work is what matters most.
I hope that by actually following this article step-by-step you will be much further in the journey of getting noticed- no, in your music journey in general.
So, are you ready to go out and build a huge brand?