By Guest Blogger: Liz May of SoundLizzard Productions
“It’s all about the music.” We hear this phrase often from musicians and songwriters who just want to be heard for the raw art that they create. There are a lot of pressures for artists to represent themselves through their art. This causes them to be protective of their craft which can prevent them from sending their intended message to their audiences. A big part of what many songwriters and musical performers miss is how to use their music as a means of branding themselves.
Branding is used in marketing of all situations when representing a company, a product, an idea, and in this case, a musical artist. It creates a way for you to connect to your audience and fans so that they know what they are getting. Branding a musical artist involves three major things: visual images (graphics, colors, textures, photos, logos), publicity items (press releases, biographies, elevator pitches, genre and instrumentation descriptions), and media (music, videos). At SoundLizzard Productions we take an artist’s music and then help develop the other pieces to aid in creating their “brand.” In teaming up with companies like Across the Horizons we are able to offer top quality specialty assistance with branding for musicians.
The photos for a band can end up being one of the most critical components to their package, following the music itself of course. Everything from the locations the photos are taken at, to the poses and wardrobe the band has chosen (including colors and styles), even the editing styles that are used are all vital components to productive promotional photos. The photos provide a visual image that fans can relate to. The last thing an artist wants is to be misrepresented. An artist would be disappointed if they were a jazz singer but were seen as a rapper or maybe a pop rock band that looks like a folk country group to prospective fans. Photos are a huge piece to the branding puzzle that connects the visually inundated world that we live in with the artist. In addition to photos the rest of the visual package, which includes colors, textures, patterns, logos, and other graphics, are used to show a cohesive and consistent message and image across all types of media.
Publicity should put into words what is already being portrayed through audio and visual media. This includes not just biographies and articles about the band, but also anything that describes the genre and instrumentation of the artist as well. Sometimes character can be developed through words, phrases, fonts, and other subtle hints of the artist’s personality.
Digital media is incredibly crucial to portraying what the artist can do. Quality and not quantity is the biggest rule of thumb here. An artist should make sure that the media that they produce is a quality product, no matter the size. Live videos can showcase the artist’s abilities in a live performance situation. Nobody, including fans and agents, wants to see and listen to a video that is so terrible in quality that it is painful to sit through. The same goes for a CD. Make sure the songs match in consistency and there are no “weak links.” Promotional videos are the last piece to this part of marketing as they are edited videos to showcase the best of a band in 3 minutes or less. It’s essentially creating a commercial for a band and represents sections of their best songs, videos, images, and press clips. This is a golden ticket for many artists seeking to get booked for larger events and compete in festivals.
It may seem like a lot of things to consider as an artist, but once they can identify their “brand” it can be applied to all their media and images. Finding someone to guide an artist through this process is very beneficial. This allows the artist to focus on what their strengths are and help creatively lead the “branding” process for their music, while leaving the business side of the branding to someone else with a skilled marketing eye. A branded image puts a musical artist into a career category by showing their dedication to a cohesive image that they know how to market.