Music branding strategies are probably the last thing you’re thinking about when you make music. However, they are very important in making the most of your work when you release it.
Building a brand as a singer, artist or musician requires an effective music branding strategy. This will involve synchronising your socials and creating a unique and memorable image. You can do this by creating content and implementing your brand throughout.
Music branding doesn’t have to be complicated. We’ll break down marketing and branding for you so that you can start creating your own distinct image in the music industry.
How do you build a following for your music?
Building a following takes a lot of time, patience and effort. You have to invest in your craft as a performer and recording artist whilst constantly building your fan base. Very few artists make it to the very top but many carve niche careers for themselves by building a loyal following.
There is a big factor that separates artists that make careers for themselves and those that don’t. Many artists just focus on the music but those that invest in their visual branding often find it easier to build a following. Branding is incredibly important for any artists no matter what stage of the career they are in. However, it is important to remember that it is a long term strategy and doesn’t happen overnight.
Music branding checklist
- Synchronise your social media
- Make your brand memorable
- Find your brand’s voice
- Design your brand’s logo
- Find your aesthetic
- Create content
- Align yourself with other brands
What is music branding
Music branding is often associated with the image of the artist. However, it encompasses so much more than that. An artist’s brand will be known for the style of their music, the look and image that they have and also their whole identity.
You need to consider an artist’s beliefs, values and culture when defining their brand identity. An artist will naturally align themselves with particular genres and demographics, which will be reflected in their fans. This is because fans will find a way to relate their own culture and identity through the artist’s brand.
How do I build a music brand?
The most successful artists are the ones that can have an accessible brand that crosses over multiple demographics. A crossover brand needs to have a lot of thought into its strategy and come up with creative ideas to engage new audiences.
However, it’s important to remember the core audience and your most loyal followers. You could have thousands of people that know your brand and think it’s alright or hundreds who love it more than anything. It’s a business at the end of the day and you’ll earn far more from a few people loving you than loads of people’s not really caring.
Music branding strategies and ideas
We’ve put together some great tips and ideas to help you get started on your own branding strategy. Remember that this is a long term commitment and that you need to take small steps to get started.
Synchronise your social media
Using the same imagery across all your promotion and social media sites strengthens your brand as an artist. Use the same display pictures, backgrounds, names and colour themes throughout all your social media pages. It looks more professional and official.
People will never wonder if they are on the correct page if everything matches as opposed to having different themes and pictures on each account. Building a brand essentially gives your fans something to remember you by. Synchronizing everything is a big part of this and makes your fans access to you a lot easier.
Make your brand memorable
Remember that a brand has to be something that fans will remember. The best acts make a memorable brand that can be implemented across multiple visual aspects. For example, merchandise, artwork and general design schemes should all be easily identified as a particular artist.
This can be done through multiple ways, such as particular colour schemes, fonts or art style. For example, Kanye West’s first three albums all featured a distinctive teddy bear and had titles related to university: The College Dropout, Late Registration and Graduation. His first album after that, My Beautiful Twisted Fantasy, had a completely different visual style that prepared fans for a new musical aesthetic.
Find your brand’s voice
Of course, the first thing people will judge you on is what you look like as an act, but that may not be the lasting impression they have when they leave. What you say and the beliefs of positions you hold are also very important for your fan base.
Lots of acts are remembered or liked for reasons other than their music and their look. For example, some fans might like an artist because of their political beliefs of their support of environmental causes. It’s all about the brand and the whole package of an act, not just the image and voice.
This is important because fans like to align themselves with artists that hold what they view as socially positive beliefs. Supporting an act that speaks out against a certain issue is a way for a fan to essentially demonstrate that they hold that belief too.
Design your brand’s logo
A logo is an incredibly powerful branding tool. You can put in so much effort into your musical style, visual look and vocalisation of your beliefs but it’s a lot to process in one take. However, with a logo, you will be able to embody all of that in a single image.
Take plenty of time to develop the right logo and use a professional designer if you can. Implement your logo into all aspects of your work and people will begin to associate it with your whole brand identity.
Find your aesthetic
The aesthetic of an artist is can be described as a consistent set of rules or styles that make up their visual or musical identity. Every artist has their own look or image but if it is changing all the time then how will your brand associate itself with your look. Branding is about consistency and having visual guidelines to establish your look can go a long way.
Defining certain fonts and colour codes are all part of finding your brand aesthetic. Many top brands are incredibly strict about the fonts, colours and style guidelines they use in any form of promotion. It doesn’t have to be complicated and something as simple as a filter you use on anything can help establish an aesthetic. However, you need to stand out and be original to create a brand identity and people will visually recognise.
It’s worth noting that some fans may like that you don’t follow any rules and switch up genres and styles. If that’s who you are then there is nothing wrong with that. It can be good to keep fans on their toes but you still want to have an instantly recognisable identity.
You should already be doing this if you are an aspiring artist. This will typically be through your music but you need to make videos and create promo images as well. Album artwork is another great opportunity to create content and help you define your brand.
Consistently creating content will help you stay relevant in the eyes of your fans. You will always have something to post and talk about and it gives your fans an excuse to engage with you.
Align yourself with other brands
Fans already have plenty of brands that they know and love. The culture and identity of these brands are important to them and you can engage with them by aligning yourself with these brands.
Knowing your audience and what brands they like is really important when you’re aligning yourself with another brand. If you choose the wrong one then your fans may never forget it. Do your research and be sincere. There is a good chance you already love the same brands.
Alternatively, you could use your platform to introduce new brands. Curating underground artists and clothing will demonstrate your knowledge to your audience. You may pick up on the devoted following of these small brands and you’ll add extra incentive for people to follow you.
Aligning yourself with a brand is really easy to do. All you have to do is show yourself using a brand or simply talking about how much you love it. When you’re big enough, you’ll be able to go one step further and form a brand partnership.
What are brand partnerships?
Brand partnerships are often seen as a collaboration between two separate brands. This is becoming more common in music as brands look to tap into the social media followings of different artists.
A brand partnership should be mutually beneficial. The artist will be promoting the brand to their fans and the brand will offer a larger platform to help the artist gain fans. The audience of both parties need to be considered as an artist could gain promotion through a brand that their audience may hate. This will put the artist’s fans off of their music as they will begin to associate the artist with something they don’t like.
Brand partnerships don’t usually happen with smaller up and coming artists. You need to have an engaged fan base already and be able to offer value to a specific brand. Focus on your own branding and audience first before you start thinking about brand partnerships.
Best music brand partnerships
There are a lot of music brand partnerships. Some can miss the mark but there have been some really great ones. Have a look at some of the best brand partnerships from the past few years.
Billie Eilish x Adobe
Billie Eilish is one of the music industry’s youngest and visible superstars. Adobe is the company behind the most widely used visual production software in video, photography and graphic design. Somehow, this unusual partnership makes complete sense. In fact, it could inspire a whole new generation to start creating videos and images for themselves.
Pharrell x Adidas
Pharrell is one of the 21st century’s most recognisable musicians. As a producer, singer and songwriter he’s been there and worked with almost everyone who matters. He is also heavily involved with fashion through his label Billionaire Boys Club (BBC).
He has consistently worked with Adidas to create multiple lines of clothes and sneakers under the HU and BBC name. This long-running partnership has been so successful that it’s not even really a partnership and more of a joint venture.
Florence + the Machine x Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones will go down as one of the most iconic TV shows of all time and its final season was watched by millions. At the end of one episode, the voice of Florence sings “Jenny of Oldstones,” an original song sung by a character in that episode.
Instead of leaving this as a verse or two only to be sung in the show, Game of Thrones partnered with Florence + the Machine to create a fully produced track. Florence’s medieval-inspired aesthetic couldn’t have been a better fit. This well-aligned partnership meant that releasing the song stayed true to both brands and created an opportunity for them to make more money.
Why image is important in the music industry
We can only listen to music but we care so much about the image of the people making it. The music industry puts such a big emphasis on the artist’s image because labels know it’s what fans care about. We can quickly identify whether we would listen to an artist or not because we do tend to judge a book by its cover.
This is helped by fashion having such a strong relationship with music. So many styles of clothing are tied to musical genres and we can often guess an artist’s genre by their style. This then informs fans of what they should wear or how they should look if they want to be associated with a particular artist.
How can I get fans and promote my music on the internet?
Building a brand is an important step in gaining fans and promoting your music on the internet. However, simply creating a brand isn’t enough. You need to engage in marketing campaigns to help grow your brand and make it mean something.
Branding is about creating your identity and marketing is communicating and promoting it to an audience. A strong brand makes marketing much easier but there is still a lot of leg work to do. Creating music, videos and promo shoots are amongst many things artists should do to market their brand. This creation of content gives you the opportunity to create products and experiences for your fans.
Promotion is often seen as the hardest part of marketing because there is so much noise to cut through. Social media is one way to do it but you are also competing with everyone else in people’s feeds who are essentially promoting themselves too. Paid promotion is an option with social media but it isn’t really the most sustainable way to promote yourself.
Engagement is incredibly important online and in person. Talk to your fans and get their thoughts and opinions. Ask them questions and encourage them to support you. Make sure you can add value to them whether that’s through your music or brand as a whole. You won’t get fans if you have nothing to offer.
How do I market my music as a singer?
Marketing yourself as a singer needs to consider the target audience that you are marketing too. For example, a singer looking for a band needs to engage with musicians and showcase their vocal ability. If a singer is looking for a job as a vocal teacher then they need to market themselves to parents and aspiring young singers.
Your target audience should always be at the front of any branding or marketing strategy. A singer looking for a metal band will have a very different look to a singer looking for a jazz band. If your visual identity in person and online reflects the culture of your audience then you will find it much easier to engage with them.
Let us know what artist or musician you think has the best music branding strategy!