If success is the aim, then branding is the game. You reap what you sow and all that… Your branding needs to be a huge priority on your long list of artist tasks. Without well established branding, we’re either going to forget who you are or just end up confused. If you want to stand out for all the right reasons, then you need to polish off that artist branding.
I guarantee you can tell me who each of these brands are without the name even being involved. This is because their branding is so strong. Of course, they have a heap of money to throw into the pot, but even if they stripped that back, we’d all still know a giant yellow M anywhere.
It might sound silly, I bet you’re thinking, well of course I know myself. I don’t mean get to know you as a person. We’re not talking ice-breaker questions while looking in the mirror in the morning. What I mean is, get to know who you are or want to be as an artist. You can’t expect fans and followers to come flocking in straight away if they don’t know who you are. How are we supposed to understand what your artist persona is all about, if you don’t understand it yourself?
Your artist image might be exactly like you as a person, so it might just be a case of being yourself. If your artist name is the same as your own personal name, then it might be pretty straight forward. However, if you’re trying to build a strong artist ally, then you need to know who it is you’re trying to portray. You can’t flick in and out of being yourself, then your artist, as it may end up being confusing. Stick to your artist page being for exactly that, you as an artist.
Ask for help
Don’t ever be too proud to ask for help. We’ve all done it, struggled through, and made things 10x more stressful. You don’t need to though, and we’d never recommend it. I’m sure you’ve been told before, and I’m just here repeating it, but, there’s no shame is asking for help.
We all have to start somewhere. Starting out doesn’t mean you need to have everything figured out. Do you honestly think that all these high performing artists got there through never taking some advice or help offered? It’s not possible to do everything completely on your own, and it also isn’t as fun. You can learn so much from people who have been in the industry for some time. Take their knowledge and learn from their mistakes. It’s only going to benefit you!
What do you want your artist branding to say?
Try finding a clear message you want to give across to your fans and work around that. Is there something you intend to share through your music? Ensure you incorparate that into your work. Consider a brand statement. You may be focused on pushing music boundaries or standing up for what you believe is right in the policital world. It could be anything, but, if you’re going to push it through your music, make sure it is clear within your branding.
With this, you want to have a think about your values. Is your aim to give back to your fans? If so, how could you achieve this? Do you want to raise money through music for a charity or cause you believe in? If that is the case, your fans need to be on board with this idea too. Let them know what it is and why it is so important to you that they support the cause too.
Have you heard of KSI, the YouTuber who also released some much loved music? His name stands for; Knowledge, Strength, Integrity. He has chosen 3 keywords to define himself as an artist. This is a great idea when starting out and wanting to close in on the way your artist name is perceived. No one hears his name and instantly thinks about what it stands for. He’s now just become a household name through his music. However, when you break it down, his artist name has meaning and this relates back to his core values.
Learn from your mistakes
We can’t get it right every time. If we did, we wouldn’t be human. Mistakes are going to happen, but it’s how you bounce back from them that is important. Trial and error within your early days is going to be crucial to your success. While your following is lower, try those crazy ideas, find out what does and doesn’t work for you. That way, you gain knowledge and experience on how to improve for next time.
Unfortunately, things will go wrong for your entire career. By this, I don’t mean it’s all going to go wrong. In fact, most things, if you’ve planned them correctly, should be a walk in the park. We’re rooting for you and hope everything comes easy! We have to be realistic though and understand that not everything always works out as intended. You need to establish a backup plan for if something flops. How are you going to come back from it and make next time even better? Artists that succeed are the ones who aren’t afraid of failure.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. I guarantee I’ve told you that before, but it’s an important one. There are so many tools out there that can make your life a lot easier when it comes to planning releases or social media engagement.
If you’re coming up to release day, you want your brand to sell itself. It needs to be visually interesting, so people want to know more. Your release can’t speak for itself until it’s gone live. So you need to ensure your branding is doing the work for it.
Come up with a schedule that works for you. Plan all of your posts ahead of time and link up with a site like Canva, so you can sit down and prepare your social media posts. This way, it doesn’t have to become a challenge while you’re caught up in the excitement of your release. You can sit back and enjoy it while knowing your platforms are promoting your work.
I guess another obvious point, but this one might be the most crucial. Ensure your social media accounts match your brand. I don’t mean just one or two or them. All of them. To gain a following, you need to post regularly and this all needs to tie in with your branding. If your artist image is all rainbows and pink flowers, it’s not going to look right if you suddenly throw in a black gothic vibe, is it?
Social media is where everyone finds out everything these days. It’s where your fans will go to follow your journey and where they’ll be waiting for the next release announcement. This is why your social media needs to be a high priority. You can’t ignore it for months and then suddenly pop in to let people know you’re releasing new music. It could work for a well known artist, but if you’re just starting out, you’re more likely to lose followers if they think you’re not interested.
Interact with your followers and your competition. It doesn’t have to be an eye for an eye. You can all succeed. It’s not going to hurt, giving your compeititor a like or a comment, letting them know they’ve done a good job. In return they’ll possibly do the same when your release date comes around.
The way to stand out from your competitors is through your branding. Make it sharp and unforgettable. If everything fits nicely together; your Instagram photos, your Facebook header etc, then you’re going to look far more professional. On the lead up to your release especially, you want to be posting your track artwork but before this, you need to have created a brand people will recognise.
If you want to be a household name, or even just have a following that support you and stay engaged, you need to solidify your branding. Make sure you focus on this as a priority towards the start and avoid switching it up too often. Of course, going back to what I said about making mistakes, you may find your branding doesn’t fit your vibe any longer. That’s ok, don’t be afraid to change it. After all, having a brand that flops is worse than changing your image completely. Try to avoid changing it often though, this will leave your fans confused. They may not notice who’s posting and decide to unfollow.
You want something clear that, without even having to put your name to it, they know who it is. This could be a strong colour scheme or a logo that stands out. Build up your branding and make it an important feature. The rest will then follow.