Join Bobby Owsinski for an in-depth discussion in this video What is a musical brand?, part of Social Media Basics for Musicians and Bands.
One of the things that an artist or band hears a lot these days is the need to promote their brand in order to get ahead in the current era of the music business. That's all well and good, but you can't promote your brand unless you know what a brand is in the first place. So what exactly is a brand? A brand is a promise of quality and consistency. Good example of a brand is McDonald's. First of all, no matter where in the world you go, you can always recognize a McDonald's franchise by the now famous golden arches. Then you know that a Big Mac will taste like a Big Mac in Beijing, Cleveland, Amsterdam, or Sydney.
It will always taste the same. If we look at the world of music, there's Fender. You can always tell a Fender guitar from it's distinctive logo and head stock and the sound of its single coil pickups. For an artist, brand means a consistency of persona and usually a consistency of sound. Regardless of which genre of music the artist delves into, the feel is the same, and you can tell it's none other than that artist. As an example, Madonna has changed musical and fashion directions many times during her career, but her sound and persona always remains the same. The Beatles tried a wide variety of directions, but you never once questioned who you were listening to.
It was always fresh and exciting, yet distinctly them. The same goes for any legacy acts that have lasted twenty plus years. Which is why they lasted that long. So how do you determine what your brand is? It's easier said than done. In order for an artist to successfully promote their brand, they must have a great sense of self awareness. You must know who you are, where you came from, and where you're going in terms of your music and your career. You must know what you like and what you don't like. And what you stand for and why. And you must have an inherent feel for your sound and what works for you, which is usually against the grain of the current trend unless you happen to be leading it.
In the end, brand self-awareness is extremely important, because it sometimes differentiates between a superstar from a star, and a star from someone who wants it really badly, but never seems to get that big break.
Stay tuned for more courses in this series. Bobby covers platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and YouTube in depth, as well as other promotional tools like blogs, mailing lists, and more.