[pullquote2 quotes="true" align="left" bgColor="#2e353d"]While You Were Busy Cooking Up Hits In The Studio, Someone Was Marketing[/pullquote2]
Today’s music industry demands that musicians have an in-depth understanding of marketing; it is now a prerequisite for indie talent aspiring to make a break in the music business.
Unfortunately, it is all too common for musicians to take the subject of music marketing and branding lightly, specifically in regards to brand identity.
A musician’s brand identity is defined as the visible elements of a brand (such as colors, design, logotype, name, symbol) that together identify and distinguish it in the consumers’ (fans) mind.
Establishing your brands identity requires careful thought and consideration. The colors you choose, type of design, logo, name choice, and any related symbols all set the standard for how the public will perceive your business.
Here are a few specific things you’ll want to consider before developing your brand identity:
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- Core Competency
- Target Market
- Competitive Advantage
Even though you may be a musician, it’s critical to hone in on what specifically you’ll be bringing to the table as a product or service. Are you offering mixtapes or albums? Are you a live performer? Is your core offering audio engineering services?
Know, in detail, what you’re bringing to the music marketplace.
One of the most important aspects of marketing in the music business is knowing EXACTLY who your target audience is. Knowing this information lays the foundation for all your promotional efforts going forward. Leave no stone unturned here.
Things such as:
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- City, State, Country
- Buying Habits
are all things to be mindful of when preparing to develop your brand identity.
Why is a question that you should become familiar with as you’re building your business in the music industry. As an indie musician you should have a list of clear, concise reason(s) why people choose you over another musician’s company.
Your competitive is advantage is what differentiates you from all other market competitors. It is the result of matching core competencies to the opportunities available in the music marketplace. Your competitive advantage should not be easily mimicked or replicated.
Be meticulous when determining what your competitive advantage is. If needed, study other successful businesses for ideas on how to form your competitive advantage.
Every successful business has a well-oiled machine behind it. That machine is called a team. Who is apart of your team? What does each person bring to the table that benefits the business?
As you can see, before you actually dive into the nuts and bolts of your brand identity you need to do some homework.
Next we’ll dive into 3 aspects of your brand identity.
Name & Logo
Your company’s name and logo should reflect and embody your business strategy. When it comes to your brand identity, the relevant strategy should be clear. The majority of successful businesses have clear, easy-to-understand competitive advantages and well defined target clients. Their names and logos tend to reflect these characteristics as well.
Often business start ups will make the mistake of choosing a name and logo with no long term vision for their business. Poor logo and name choices will result in a weak brand identity. Avoid this with systematic planning and preparation.
The colors you choose to distinguish your brand identity are just as important as the name and logo. You want the color choice to mirror your company’s mission statement and send the correct message to the public.
If you’re specializing in music sales and promotions, you might not want to have your entire site being the color black. Choose your colors wisely.
Per Digital Skratch here is an overview of what colors mean in regards to music marketing.
Red is a very strong color. It is a noticeable color that is often used on caution and warning signs. It is often associated with stop or “beware”. It’s a hot color that evokes a powerful emotion of passion, lust, sex, energy, blood and war. Red is a good color to use for accents that need to take notice over other colors. Red is often used in flags for nations, as it is a symbol of pride and strength. It is also a sporty color that many car manufactures choose to showcase their signature vehicles.
Orange is a combination of Red and Yellow. It is also a bright and warm color. It represents fire, the sun, fun, warmth and tropical images. It is considered a fun light color that has appetizing qualities to it. Orange increases oxygen supply to the brain and stimulates mental activity. It is highly accepted among young people. As a citrus color, orange is associated with healthy food and stimulates appetite. Any design relating to the tropics, something fun, easy going and youthful should incorporate some type of orange into the design. A darker, richer shade of orange can be associated with autumn.
Yellow is the brightest color to the human eye. It represents youth, fun, happiness, sunshine and other light playful feelings. It is a cheerful energetic color. Yellow is often used for children’s toys and clothes. Yellow is often hard to read when placed on a white background so designers must be careful when using yellow, that it isn’t’t too difficult to read or notice. Though yellow is a bright cheerful color, as it starts to darken it, however, quickly becomes a dirty and unpleasant color. Yellow can also be associated with being scared and, cowards. The term “yellow belly” is proof of that.
Green is the color of nature and health. It represents growth, nature, money, fertility and safety. Green is a relaxing color that is easy on the eye and has a healing power to it. It is often used to represent anything having to do with health. Many pharmaceutical and nutritional companies use green in their logos and material to advertise safe natural products. Dark green is commonly associated with the military, money, finance, and banking. However it can also be associated with being new or inexperienced as being green or a “green horn”. Green is becoming a very popular color in design for web sites.
Blue is a cool calming color that shows creativity and intelligence. It is a popular color among large corporations, hospitals and airlines. It is a color of loyalty, strength, wisdom and trust. has a calming effect on the psyche. Blue is the color of the sky and the sea and is often used to represent those images. Blue is a color that generally looks good in almost any shade and is a popular color among males. Blue is not a good color when used for food as there are few blue foods found in nature and it suppresses the appetite.
Purple combines the stability of blue and the energy of red. Throughout history purple has been associated with royalty, nobility and prestige. It symbolizes mystery, magic, power and luxury. Purple is often used to portray rich powerful kings, leaders, wizards and magicians. Purple combined with gold can be flashy and portray wealth and extravagance. Light purple and pink is good for a feminine design and is a popular color among teenage girls. Bright purple along with yellow is commonly used in promoting children’s products. It gives the appearance of something that is fun and easy to do.
Black is often a color used to portray something evil, depressing, scary or even death in western civilization. It has negative imagery with it at times such as “black mail” “black list” “black hole” etc. Black is also a very powerful color that also portrays one of class elegance and wealth. Classy clothing is designed in black from the “power suit” to the “sexy black dress” to formal “black-tie attire”. Black combined with other colors can have a very strong statement. Black is a color that can fit into almost every design to add contrast, type, and make the other colors stand out more.
White is often associated with being pure, clean, fresh and good. The color of a fresh snowstorm brings up images of a peaceful and pure winter scene. White is a common background for Webster’s as it is easy to read black or dark text on it. When used with a design using lots of negative space it gives a very clean look to it. White is also used lots for charities and non-profit organizations to denote something good and positive. Hollywood often portrays their characters in white as being good; the white horse, the cowboy with the white hat, the white wizard etc. White usually is associated with being pure and almost heavenly. White is associated with hospitals, doctors, and heaven.
For a DIY musician, processing all this information at one time can be intimidating and just plain uncomfortable. Don’t rush things. Take things in small portions.
Remember that great brand identities almost always feel uncomfortable at first. Do your homework. Nurture and grow your brand in a structured decision making process. If you take the aforementioned tips to heart, you’ll be well on your way to a stronger, improved brand identity