Building an artist brand is an essential part of artist development and ticket sales, and it’s critical to an artist’s success. Think of it this way – the more people who know who an artist is (i.e., recognize the artist brand), the more people are likely to buy tickets to that artist’s events. In other words, if you’re not already working to build awareness and recognition of your artist brand, you need to start right now!
As a performer, you’re a product, and as a product, you’re a brand. Unless you want people to refer to you as “that guy,” “that girl,” or some other generic phrase that is completely meaningless and unmemorable, you need a brand name, and that name will represent your artist brand. But what does that mean?
What is a Brand?
In simplest terms, a brand is a promise to consumers. It tells consumers that whenever they purchase a product or service with that brand name on it, they’ll get a similar, expected experience from it. However, brands aren’t built overnight. It takes time for consumers to become aware of a brand, recognize it, develop perceptions about it, try the brand, and build expectations for it based on their experiences.
There are three primary steps to brand-building: consistency, persistence, and restraint. Let’s take a closer look at each one:
- Consistency: Everything about your brand must be consistent from the messages you share, the content you publish, the visual image you portray, and the experiences people have with your brand. Inconsistency creates confusion, and confusion is the number one brand killer.
- Persistence: Remember, brands aren’t built overnight. You need to persistently put your messages out there and get your brand in front of people if you want to build brand awareness, recognition, and ultimately, loyalty.
- Restraint: It can be tempting to accept every opportunity to expand your brand that presents itself to you, but choose wisely. If an opportunity isn’t consistent with your brand promise and consumers’ expectations for your brand, exercise restraint and say no.
With these three steps in mind, you can start to develop the tangible elements of your artist brand. These elements include your name, logo, color palette, fonts, and visual imagery. While every artist doesn’t leverage all of these visual elements, some do so very effectively. Logos for bands like The Rolling Stones and KISS have become globally recognized icons, and the Grateful Dead developed a wide variety of digital elements that represented the brand.
In addition, you can create auditory elements of your artist brand. For musicians, this will come directly from your intellectual property (i.e., your songs). However, I want you to think a bit deeper for a second. If you’re a musician, it’s likely you’ll have a signature sound when you start to gain some popularity. What happens to most artists when they veer away from their signature sound and try something new? Most often, there is consumer backlash. Why? Because of branding.
Consumers have developed expectations for the artist’s brand over time, and then, the artist releases something that is inconsistent with those brand expectations. In these situations, consumers are confused by the brand. As a result, they turn away from it in search of a brand that does meet its expectations in every interaction. While some artists might be surprised when their fans don’t embrace their experimental work, marketers understand completely. The audience’s reaction is typical based on the psychology of consumer behavior.
This doesn’t mean you can’t experiment, but just as big brands test new ideas to gauge consumer reactions, artists can do the same. When you’re building a brand, every action you take will have a reaction by consumers. If you want your brand to continue growing, you need to consider those reactions and make strategic decisions that support the ongoing growth you seek.
5 Easy Ways to Grow Your Artist Brand Faster
Thinking about the very brief introduction to branding that I provided above, I want you to review the five ways to grow your artist brand faster that are described below. There are many ways to build a brand, but the reality is most artists don’t have huge budgets to invest in marketing and branding. Twenty years ago, that presented a big problem to struggling artists. Today, it presents an opportunity because you have the ability to connect with and communicate with a global audience at your fingertips!
The internet gives you an easy and affordable way to promote your artist brand, so it grows quickly. Each of the techniques discussed below can be done without investing a lot of money if you have some tech savvy or you’re willing to take some time to learn. The only thing you’ll need to invest is time to make these techniques work.
1. Launch a Website
Where do you go to find information about nearly everything these days? Most people visit Google or their preferred search engine and type in some keywords. If they’re typing in words related to the type of work you do, then your artist brand needs to show up in those results. The first step to making that happen is launching a website.
A website is your home base online. It’s the one place online that you can completely control. While you might be tempted to simply create a Facebook Page or an account on a popular site focused on your industry, don’t do it because you lose control. Yes, having profiles and a presence on multiple popular sites is important to your overall brand marketing plan, you want all online roads to lead back to your website. However, if you use one of those sites as your online home base, you’re at their mercy. What happens if the site shuts down or becomes the subject of a global privacy investigation? Instead, create your own website and control the fate of your brand’s online home.
Finally, when you create your website, make sure it looks professional. This is a time when investing in a web designer and a copywriter can make a big difference. Remember, all of the imagery and messaging of your website should be consistent with your brand image. Be sure to include images and videos so visitors can immerse themselves in your brand in multiple ways.
2. Write a Blog
Blogs are incredibly search engine friendly and are one of the most important parts of any brand marketing plan regardless of what industry or profession you’re in. That’s because every blog post creates a new entry point for Google to find your website (yes, your blog should be a part of your website such as artistbrand.com/blog). Also, Google loves fresh content and typically ranks high-quality fresh content high in search results.
But that’s not all. Blog posts are also very shareable. People subscribe to blogs and share posts that they like via email and social media. It’s extremely common for people to share a great blog post on Facebook, Twitter, and more. Every time one of your blog posts is shared your brand’s reach is extended and more entry points are created for your blog.
Over time, blog content creates a domino effect that drives organic, sustainable traffic to your website. If you’re not writing a blog as part of your website, you’re missing a very big opportunity to grow your artist brand faster than ever!
3. Get Active on Social Media
Social media marketing is extremely powerful. The best part is that you can have success building your brand via social media without investing in ads. As long as you’re committed to publishing content on a consistent basis, sharing other people’s content, commenting on other people’s content, engaging with other people, and liking their content, you’ll get positive results in terms of your own audience growth and content reach.
Instagram and Facebook are two of the best options for most artists, but depending on who your target audience is, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even niche social media sites could be worth your time. Just remember to keep all of your content and comments consistent with your artist brand’s promise so you create the right perceptions of your brand in consumers’ minds and they develop the right expectations for it over time.
When you create accounts on social media sites, create them using your artist brand name as the profile or page name as well as the custom URL. Again, this personalization is important for brand consistency not to mention helping people find you across the web when they’re searching.
4. Publish Videos and Live Streams
Most artists can benefit significantly from online video publishing. Did you know that YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine? That means there are probably people on YouTube looking for videos from an artist like you right now. You need to be there!
Start by creating a YouTube channel and working to meet the requirements to get a custom URL for your channel (e.g., youtube.com/yourartistbrand). Currently, the requirements to get a custom URL for a YouTube channel are as follows. Your account has to:
- Have at least 100 subscribers
- Be at least 30 days old
- Have an image uploaded as the channel icon
- Have uploaded channel art
At the same time, start creating and publishing videos for your target audience that help them experience your artist brand visually and audibly. Be sure to include a description and title for your videos that not only explains what they’re about but also includes some keywords to help people find them in searches.
If you create multiple videos that are related to each other or are part of a series, create a playlist for them, so it’s easier for people to watch all of them at one time. This also helps to increase views for your videos, and more views equates to more chances for people to like, comment, and share your videos with other people via social media thereby extending your artist brand’s reach.
Live streaming is also very popular these days, and that doesn’t just include live streaming of big concerts. Performers are having great success building their artist brands faster by using Facebook Live to schedule live performances. Since more than a billion people use Facebook, it’s safe to assume that your target audience is there. You can promote an upcoming Facebook Live performance and connect with people in another way without investing a lot of money or an excessive amount of time.
5. Prioritize Publicity and Outreach
Don’t wait for publicity to come to you – make it! Reach out to radio stations and pitch yourself for an interview. You can do the same with local magazines. For online publicity, search for blogs and podcasts that your target audience is likely to read and listen to. Find the email address, contact form, or phone number for the owner or editor, and pitch yourself for an upcoming interview spot. The worst that could happen is that they’ll say no, so you might as well try!
Another way you can leverage the online audience to build your artist brand is by finding online influencers and brand ambassadors who can help spread the word about your upcoming projects, new releases, and appearances or shows. The key is to find people who already have the eyes and ears of your target audience. Start following them on social media and engaging with them to build a relationship. Share their content and show them that you think it’s valuable. When you have something exciting to announce, reach out to them via email or social media and ask them to help you spread the word by sharing it to their audiences.
You can also recruit your fans to become brand ambassadors. Ask them to share your content through their social media profiles and pages. When you have an online tribe working together to promote content, the results increase exponentially.
Your Next Steps to Grow Your Artist Brand Faster
Use the tips discussed in this article to start growing your artist brand. Create a website and blog, get active on social media, publish interesting and entertaining content, videos and live streams, and start asking for publicity through targeted outreach. While it’s unlikely (but not impossible) that your artist brand will skyrocket overnight, I can guarantee that if you follow these tips consistently and persistently, your artist brand will grow significantly faster than it would otherwise.