In our last blog post we looked at how exhibiting personal values in your communications can contribute to building a musical brand. Today we’re concluding our look at branding for musicians by examining branding can work for a band in practice.
The Band As A Brand
Let’s use the classic Guns & Roses lineup as an example of a ‘brand’.
We have the classic rock and roll iconography on display. Leather, denim, shades, tattoos, bandanas…this visual tells you exactly what sort of music they’re going to be making before you hear a note.
The visuals on their classic album covers help reinforce this hard ‘live fast, die young’ ethos.
Their hard partying reputation precedes them. Stand offish, brash…the ultimate rock and roll hell raisers.
GnR portray the ultimate rock and roll values: sex, drugs and rock and roll.
Consider their clasic album/song titles: Appetite for Destruction, Anything Goes, Mr Brownstone. The ‘brand values’ are embedded in their music and their song writing. They sing about the brand. It’s a holistic venture, all parts of the brand are interconnected reinforcing each other.
Let’s examine my own band The Lancashire Hotpots.
From the off, even if you have never heard a note of our music, our visual identity conveys a bright and breezy disposition with laughter firmly at the forefront.
This personality is evident not only in our photography but also the content we make and share on social media (see below).
Our brand values celebrate the culture and region where we are based. Our brand ethos is good times, food, beer, forgetting your troubles and having fun.
Our biggest hits reflect our brand values including songs about fish & chips (Chippy Tea), drinking in pubs (Thirsty Thursday) and celebrating our place of birth (We Love The North).
As a practical exercise, examine some of your favourite artists. Describe their image, personality and values. Are these values portrayed in their music? Now do the same exercise for your own music.
Final Thoughts On Branding For Musicians
One of the biggest challenges a musician faces is defining themselves and their music in the minds of their audience. A strong brand will not only help cement ‘who you are’ in the eyes of your followers it should help guide your creative process.
When embarking on any aspect of creativity you can ask yourself ‘will this fit into and enhance my brand?’. A strong brand should be embedded into the DNA of your music and used as a ‘tone’ benchmark.
- Building your brand adds value to the music that you create meaning that your creativity will be worth more to other people. In a world of free music, branding is one of the best ways to get more money for what you are selling.
- Social media should be less about ‘selling’ and more about ‘brand building’: showing people who you are.