Artist Branding in the Music Business
Music branding has become more and more popular as a topic amongst not only the hierarchy of the music industry but the average artist and independent companies. Artists are slowly beginning to realise the power of their own name and how they can generate not only another revenue stream, but an even more significant financial return that dwarfs the return from their music career.
One of the most significant markers was laid down not in the music industry but in sports. When Michael Jordan the basketball legend achieved notoriety when he signed an extremely lucrative deal with Nike to produce the Air Jordan range, the table was set and has continued in sports with many sportsmen including David Beckham and Tiger Woods.
The deal with Michael Jordan was not the first time various industries recognised the power of performers be it sportsmen, actors or musicians. Run DMC the famous Hip Hop legends after recording and releasing the hit “My Adidas” was approached by the sport wear giants when sales of the brand increased due to the songs popularity.
Some would argue even more significant than these cases are the cases of minor celebrities such as the late Jade Goody (Channel 4’s Big Brother) have shown you need not have achieved a significant success in any field to find success with selling your brand and being rewarded financially. Jade achieved significant financial rewards with her perfume line which grossed her a seven figure sum.
So what is a brand?
Whenever I speak to musicians and mention branding they always start to speak about logos and image, which has a place in branding but it is not what branding actually is. Let’s clear up the logo issue first. A logo is the visual identification of a brand.
Again, so what is a brand?
A quote from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos states “a brand is what people say about you when you leave the room”. I think many would agree that Amazon is a well known and successful brand. But how do you build a successful brand? For me the key ingredient of a brand is trust! Now if you notice trust does not mean you have to behave well and do everything by the book, as our post image we chose the Rolling stone logo which has become a brand that represents good rock and roll music, but was formerly identified with misbehaviour and rebellion.
Others in branding state that a brand is a promise of an experience as most women would get from a Herbal Essence ad is the promise of a sensual experience when washing their hair. One of the most successful examples of this promise is the Heinz food brand. When most shoppers who are not skint go to their local superstore if they are buying beans a large percentage for a long period of time would pick up the Heinz branded tin because it was branded as a higher quality product and it was so effectively marketed people did not mind paying more for the experience. That is what a well marketed brand will allow you to do.
What is your brand?
The music business is the king of the personal brand because if you did not have a good personal brand your success would be short lived. When developing your brand you need to know your brand values, what do you stand for? What do you want people to say about you? What are you promising? Are you guaranteeing a good time?Are you the rebel? Do you intend to enlighten the world? Or are you the sex kitten guaranteed to titilate and arouse? Work out your brand values and you will be well on your way to developing your brand.
Trust is never instant and neither is a brand it needs to be built over time and you need to live up to your brand values, your promise, if you do not, you will not have a strong brand therefore will not be deemed trustworthy or dependable to deliver the experience you say.
There is more to developing your brand but this is a brief overview and an invitation to you who are interested to research and start to develop that brand because if developed effectively will expand beyond your music to different areas as our earlier examples have shown.