What image is conveyed when you read this description: “We play ska-country-jazz, have purple hair, and wear corduroys.”
It may define the group as being different, but is it the type of musician branding you would want people to remember when talking about your band?
A Nightmare to Brand?
The idea behind this post developed after a recent contest, where one judge was overheard saying, “Yeah, they’re talented, but they just don’t have a look. They would be a branding nightmare.”
Apparently, he was expecting an already complete package, and didn’t feel the brand of the band was obvious enough to push them on in the competition. I guess it means another step in the music business has become a DIY project.
So, let’s take a tough look at your band’s personal branding message. This needs to include the story and sound flowing from your music; reflecting through your look, content on your website and social media, even your posters, stickers, and CD covers. Is yours consistent, but is it also unique, special, and different? Something your friends and fans are talking about and say it relates specifically to you?
The Jimmy John’s Brand: A Love Story
We can easily compare musician branding and marketing a band, to branding and marketing any other product. Let’s show Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches as one example. The company has used the unique idea of getting freaky fast service for several years, and though the way the message is delivered changes (freaky fast to someone’s home, in traffic, at an airport, in a prison), the brand is consistently shown, and known, for the delivery of a tasty sandwich to a hungry customer in freaky fast time.
Now, back to the visual statement which needs to be included as part of your branding. Your band should dress in a theme to implicitly say, “Yeah, we are a band.” Think about a band in blue mariachi uniforms, those MC Hammer pants, the masks of Slipknot; then figure out your look. (No one really cares about four guys wearing khaki shorts with faded IT company shirts, right?) This has to transcend to your promo pictures, and as I saw one musician ask on Facebook, “Does every band pose in front of a brick wall or along the railroad tracks?”
How Do You Create a Band Brand?
Finally, after you’ve done all this work to give your band its unique brand, maybe you can turn the tables on your friends and fans? It’s a special influence seen by Jimmy Buffet and his Parrot-heads, KISS with the KISS Army, even Lady Gaga has her Little Monsters.
If people believe in your band and music, it doesn’t hurt to put the idea of a fan club out there. At worst, it will enhance relationships and make people feel they are a special part of something, helping you stay engaged with your tribe of fans.
And at best, you’ll see your band’s brand grow.