If you’re making music, you are a brand whether you had it in mind or not. Your brand is a representation of your music, and in many ways it’s actually more important than your music itself! Your brand is often the thing that makes new people interested in listening to your music for the first time, and it contributes to the growth of your audience and the success of your career.
After defining your sound in your music, you need to define your public voice before you even create a biography—or it’s the thing you have to examine and potentially refine as you develop your brand going forward. It’s the way you express yourself in writing on your website, online profiles, email exchanges, promotional content, and your social media posts. Your public voice also extends to the way you speak in interviews, as well as interactions with your fans and fellow musicians.
Naturally you’ll have more than one public voice that depends on the setting, such as the difference between contacting media outlets and interacting with your fans. No matter the setting or circumstance, your voice needs to always be professional and reflect your brand in an authentic and positive way.
Your image is the next component of your brand to define and build upon as you continue in your career. You should have a logo that will be the visual representation of your entire brand. Symbols convey much more than a collection of words and sounds can, because human communication began with signs and symbols. A logo will express your identity, while also giving your audience a symbol to identify with, enabling them to form a feeling of connection with you. The primitive unconscious mind in humans gravitates toward symbols, and has a deep, tribal need to be part of a group.
Your image develops further with your cover art and promotional photographs, which we wrote about in an earlier article. If you create music videos, perform live, or make public appearances, the outfits you wear and the way you perform are another aspect of your image—the main thing to focus on in these regards is consistency.
Your brand also needs to have a unique story. What sets you apart from other artists? What is the driving force behind your artistic expression, and what experience do you aim to create with your music? Don’t worry if your story is short and possibly half-formed to begin with: your story will grow, develop, and become more unique and creative as you progress in your career.
Now that you have all of that figured out—at least in your mind—you have to make a location for your brand to flourish. You need a website that will be your home on the internet. You probably have profiles on several websites, and showcase your music through multiple streaming services and retailers, but you need a central location to fully develop your brand. You need a website where you can present all the different elements of your brand in one location, while also creating a meeting place for your fans to help them experience the feeling of belonging.
You don’t need to know how to code to create an amazing website that showcases your music, expresses your brand, and makes your fans feel even more connected to you. We always recommend WordPress for its ease of use, wide range of features and add-ons, and vast selection of attractive themes to choose from. There are many other services you can use to build a website, including Wix and Squarespace.
Protecting your brand is absolutely vital to the success of your career. Everything you do in relation to your music career needs to reflect your brand in a positive way, or you risk turning off many potential listeners and current fans of your work as well. Keep all of your interactions with media, promotion and public relations companies, event organizers, and record labels professional and respectful—many companies network with one another, and you don’t want to develop a bad reputation that can spread and damage your career behind the scenes.
Your social media posts can reflect your personality and foster a sense of community between you and your followers. You cannot afford to forget that everything you put on the internet will last—possibly for as long as the internet exists. Even if you delete a post you made, a record or screenshot of it might remain.
Unless your brand centers around religion, politics or activism, you should always avoid sharing your opinions in these regards. These topics in particular are so divisive that you can easily drive away people who are already part of your audience as well as ones who could’ve been. If you’re about to hit the button to post or send your message and you wonder if it’s too controversial, don’t risk it. Your brand is too important to gamble with.
Define or refine your public voice. Be authentic, but keep your communications professional and respectful, even in casual settings.
A logo is a representation of your entire brand, and a memorable, recognizable symbol people can identify with will go a long way toward growing your audience.
Your cover art and promotional photos should reflect the quality of your music and be consistent with the rest of your brand’s visual identity.
You need to have a unique story that will draw people in and help them identify even more with your music. Your story will grow and evolve as your career progresses.
Don’t be disrespectful or unprofessional with any businesses you work with in the course of your career. You don’t want your brand tarnished and creating a bad reputation behind the scenes with those who could advance your career.
Everything you put online will last and can follow you forever. All of your social media posts should reflect your brand in a positive way.
Avoid divisive and controversial subjects in your posts that can damage your brand in the eyes of others who don’t share your opinion or point of view.
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July 9, 2019