Branding Music in the age of the digital music download can seem as if you’re climbing Mount Everest at times. Many independent artists struggle to create brand awareness let alone sell their music online! Contending with major artists for exposure may seem like a near impossible task, but fret not! Here are a few practical tips that you can use to develop your brand from its infancy to maturation.
Tips For Branding Music, Creating Loyalty
1. Understand Brand Loyalty
”You learn that creating customer loyalty is neither strategic nor tactic; rather, it is the ultimate objective and meaning of brand equity. Brand loyalty is brand equity.” Emotional Branding : How Successful Brands Gain the Irrational Edge
The most critical and often time consuming part of developing music brand loyalty begins with targeting your fans. Figuring out exactly who your fans are lays the foundation for all your marketing efforts going forward. Things such as:
- qualitative information (e.g. fans’ favorite pictures, videos, music, etc.)
- quantitative information (e.g. fans’ age, income, gender, etc.)
- market trends
- industry influencers
3. Stop, Check Your Competition
Once you’ve figured out who your fans are, you’ll need to take a critical look at who you’re up against. If your music sounds similar to a recording artist like Chris Brown, then you’ll need to take an in-depth look at his team’s marketing messages, brand positioning, personality, promises, and overall branding strategy.
This doesn’t mean that you should become a carbon copy of them. This part of the branding process is to give you ideas on how to improve your current state. It might seem a bit overwhelming at first, but it’s a necessary step you must take toward developing brand loyalty.
Here’s a basic breakdown of an artist for sake of example.
Artist: Justin Beiber
Beiber is a Canadian singer–songwriter, musician, and actor. The multi-talented teen heart-throb generally attracts young women generally between the ages of 10-12 (“tweens”) as his fan base. Bieber plays multiple instruments, such as drums, guitar, and piano. Beiber’s team has helped create a “streetwise look” for the singer while still appealing to middle-class suburbia. Beiber creates fun, upbeat, engaging music that speaks to the “teenage/20-something crowd”. Beiber has amassed nearly 24 million twitter followers, over 44 million facebook likes, 2 million+ myspace friends, and 1.5 million+ youtube subscribers.
The aforementioned is a very brief summary of what Justin Beiber brings to the table, but it gives you an idea of what you’re up against if you’re in “Beiber’s lane”.
We learn, first, that Beiber is attacking 3 different parts of the entertainment industry allowing him to access 3 different revenue streams. As a singer he gets to take advantage of income for performing songs, while as a songwriter he taps into performance and mechanical royalties. His acting endeavors open him up to other revenue streams. Beiber’s target fans are the female “tween” generation with teens and 20 somethings filtering in.
Middle class suburban kids find him somewhat relatable. Beiber maintains just enough edge, however, to attract some of the urban crowd to his fan base.
If you’re an artist trying to start an ANTI- Beiber campaign as your crux to “win” in the music business, drop it. Beiber’s numbers are way too strong!
Where You Fit IN
Understanding the position that Beiber is in you’ll want to look for areas where Beiber’s brand could be potentially weak.
Example: Because Justin commands such a huge following, he is likely not able to have personalized interactions with many of his fans. Remember, brand loyalty begins with trust built from consistent, personalized interactions. If you’re a smaller band/artist, you can capitalize on this by attracting the fans he’s not building relationships with.
Something as simple as a Youtube response video to one of Justin’s hit songs could be a catalyst toward establishing loyalty among fans. Ask yourself “What is Justin doing that is working well for him?” “How can I implement a similar strategy in my business?”
Other tips to build brand loyalty are:
1. Maintain high standards and quality
2. Ask for fans feedback
3. Add value to your product/service
4. Show fans you appreciate them
There is no all in one solution or step by step guide on how to create loyal fans in the music business, but hopefully you’ve found these tips helpful as you move forward. Because there are so many aspects of branding, time will not permit them to all be covered in this post. Use these tips simply as another tool in you music tool box to help you navigate the music business.