Identifying yourself as an artist is one of trickiest things to get right as a musician. Your image is your brand. It’s one of the things the public is likely to remember about you and what will make you stand out even before they have heard you sing or perform.
But how do you create a brand as a musician and how do you find your own unique image?
In this short guide we will outline some tips on musician branding, how to create an image in the music industry, and links to further resources you will find helpful.
How to create a brand as a musician or singer
#1 Have your own style and identity
The reason many singers have done so well is because they’ve created their own style and used it to their advantage. It’s not always about being the sexiest or best looking act in the industry although that can help; it’s about having a style that reflects your personality and stands out.
Lady Gaga and Paloma Faith are perfect examples of artists that have inputted their personality into their style to create a unique image in the music industry. It’s important that what you perform musically matches your image. The most important thing to remember is to be comfortable on stage with what you’re wearing.
Looking at other artists with similar music to you and see what image they’ve adopted, youtube and artist websites are a great resource to observe what others are doing.
#2 Understand and identify your target market
Your singing and artist identity won’t be for everyone. As a performer, you will have to market yourself to a specific type of audience.
To help you get your music in front of the people most likely to engage with your image and brand, you need to identify exactly who those fans are.
The more you understand your target market, the better you can create an image as an artist to cater for your fan’s needs.
Ask yourself what your ideal fan looks like. By that we mean what do they like, what do they believe in, how do they see the world, and where do they hang out online?
For example, if you are pro-animal rights like singers such as Ariana Grande, Joss Stone, and Pink are, the fans you could attract are going to be receptive to message regarding compassion for animals.
To engage with potential fans who support the same ideals as you, your social media posts could include themes related to animal rights.
This will help to reinforce your branding as a musician, giving you a consistent image in the music industry whilst identifying you as an artist with a very specific target market.
#3 See how other artists define their brand
Check out some of the artists and musicians you admire and inspire you. What elements of their music branding and identity do you see jumping out at you?
This is the key here; if you can easily identify them as an artist by the way they communicate, their social channels, branding, merchandise, and shows with just one quick glance then you know they have their branding as a musician on point.
Make a list of what they are doing and take as inspiration on how to identify yourself as an artist – you might also be interested in this practical guide for branding as a singer which contains additional tips.
#4 Create a memorable logo
All the top musicians and singers have a memorable logo that is recognisable with one quick glance. For example, if you see that lips and tongue logo, you immediately know it’s the Rolling Stones. You don’t even need to see the name of the band!
Your logo can be used as a consistent brand and image elements on your website, social media, merchandise, press kit, and when performing.
#5 Consistency is key for musician branding
Your image is the thing that sells you when you’re not singing. Therefore making sure you’re consistent with all aspects of your brand is essential, from the logos on your artwork, to your social media, to your outfits and promotional material.
You want the public to recognise your brand instantly, if they click on your website or your Facebook page it should be obvious they’re on the right page.
#6 Get yourself out there
The best way to find your image is to physically go out, perform and see what you’re comfortable with. Playing at regular gigs will give you a sense of what you’re comfortable wearing and what songs you get a good response.
This experience will help you to identify yourself as an artist.
#7 Don’t define yourself by a genre
Be hesitant about your music being labelled as one specific genre as it will restrict your image.
You’re still trying to find what’s best for you as an artist, so restricting your image to one genre can potentially hold you back and not allow you to express all areas of your personality within your music.
#8 Create a press pack with consistent branding
Electronic press packs or kits are essential for any artist looking to create a consistent image in the music industry. It can be as simple as a one-page PDF with your details on, but the best press kits are a bit more comprehensive than that. Yours should include:
- A biography as an introduction to you, your image and identity – your story!
- Links to demos of your music.
- High quality photography.
- A downloadable version of your logo.
- Links to your social media channels.
Once developed, you can give this to venue managers, press, booking agents, and anybody who you feel might help to further develop your music career.
#9 Monitor your brand online
Your brand, identity, and image are what define you as an artist.
Did you know you can monitor online what people are saying about you and your artist image?
For example, you can use Google Alerts to get an email every time your artist or band name is mentioned on the Internet.
You’ve worked hard to create your brand and image as an artist, so it’s key to know what people are saying about you.
By monitoring mentions online, it gives you the opportunity to not just respond if needed to help further your image and identity, but also get feedback you might not otherwise get to hear.
#10 Don’t force it and be true to yourself
A lot of time, how you identify yourself as an artist will lead to your branding happening organically.
However, if you understand musician branding and have successfully found your image as an artist then you can use your brand to deliver a consistent message to reach more fans.
Effective branding will help you attract the type of fans who share your beliefs, who will support you, share your music and messages, and enter into long-lasting musician / fan relationships.
In short, if you don’t understand what your brand and image is as a musician, you can’t expect anybody else to.
There are so many singers, bands, and musicians competing for attention that the development of your image and identity can’t be ignored.
One last thing; create your image in the music industry to be as authentic and real as possible. Fans will quickly turn off if your efforts feel forced and un-natural!
Hopefully this guide to musician branding has given you tips on how to find your image as an artist! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.