Artist Development 7
by John Latimer
They say a picture paints a thousand words. Human minds create much more than what is written in text. Combining our senses to focus on one brand or Artist will increase the likelihood of being remembered.
How are customers going to pick what to listen to?
When you think of any artist out there, you can think of the image. Right? Lady Gaga, There’s an image. Boom. Instantly. Beyonce. Instant. You can think about what type of artist that is. The Grateful Dead. Image. KISS. Image. It’s not only the look… but the sound. It’s the combination of sights and sounds that help create an image for an Artist. Think about the image of every artist you know. If the sound or look crosses into another Artist’s sound or look, it starts to get confusing to the fan and customer. The brand then starts to get meshed together. You may hear, “Oh yeah, that’s one of those hair bands.” They don’t have a set unique image. They get grouped in with other images to become a genre. So, there are things an Artist needs to consider when they starting to define their image. How can an Artist stand apart so no matter where a fan sees the Artist, they know who it is.
And how are you going to work on image? Is everyone in the group going to go with the same idea?
Right from the beginning, Artist must weave consistency throughout their whole promotional campaign. Start with the niche.
How to Establish a Brand Identity for an Artist
Creation of brand identity is one of the most important aspects of marketing of an Artist.
A brand identity is like a personality of the Artist. It describes the Artist’s ideals and targets in a flash with just one or two words, a look or image. Brand identity has been defined as, ‘A name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers: sellers being Artists. But, in the entertainment industry, specifically, the music industry, brand identity is defined by the style of music itself. The legal term for brand logo, design or symbol is a trademark (see section on trademarks). A brand may identify one item, a family of items, or all items of the Artist.
A brand identity is usually a unique and visually appealing combination of a brand name, a related tag line, an emblem or a symbol with specific designs, colors and fonts to suit the Artist’s identity and preferences of the Artist’s prospective customer base. Many times, the sound of an Artist becomes the basis for the perceived image of an Artist.
Creating a Brand Identity
Once the process of establishing the company begins, the Artist needs to answer some basic management questions. What are the Artist’s goals? What are the strategies of the Artist to reach that goal? What is the nature of the prospective market that might help the Artist achieve its goal? How does the Artist currently fill that role? Does the Artist’s role in its image drive the market? These questions might seem irrelevant to a layman, but to an Artist’s promoter or manager, these very questions help to strategize the brand identity of the Artist.
Artist Name = Artist Brand = Brand Name
It is essential to review the Artist’s catalog of possibilities, i.e.: product line or services in order to come up with a fitting brand name. Ideally, the brand name should easily help the customers identify a product of the Artist. It is suggested that the brand name should be short and easy to read and write. The font selected for the brand name should not be flowery and illegible. The basic idea is to help the fans and customers relate to the particular Artist just by reading the brand name.
Creating A Logo
A logo is a pictorial design used as an emblem or a symbol to complement the Artist’s brand name. Marketing experts state that logos have a better recall value compared to any other components of branding. The customer’s minds tend to retain the designs of the logo and can identify the Artist just by viewing the logo design. A logo should be visually appealing and in colors suitable for the Artist and Artist’s image. Managers generally opt for colors that are in sync with the current market trend, nature of the product or the age and preferences of target customers. e.g. Logos of eco-friendly brands are mostly in green color. Logos for brands meant for youth are generally in bright catchy colors. Some unforgettable logos that speak a lot for themselves are the Nike swoosh or letters N I N for Nine Inch Nails.
Facts about Brand Identity
- It is first of all essential to select a brand identity that will continue to remain popular for years to come.
- A brand identity is treated as an Artist’s intangible asset. Its value increases as the Artist’s goodwill rises.
- The brand identity of an Artist needs to be registered on incorporation of the company. Also, one needs to create trademarks to discourage illegal use of an Artist’s brand identity.
Brand identities often make the customers perceive that the Artist is selling the best quality products. It therefore puts an unshakable responsibility on the Artist and its management to live up to the customer’s expectations by constantly producing and releasing quality products and performances.
Brand Building in Today’s World
Brand building is vital in ensuring that an Artist is able to effectively communicate its ideas and values to customers. There are several brands around the world which have created a reputation for themselves for their commitment, dedication and ethics.
In today’s market, where Artists compete fiercely against each other to garner the attention of customers, Brand building plays an important part in building brand awareness in the market. There are some Artists which are known all over the world because of the efforts they have put in building their brand. Branding, many times, is putting your money where your mouth is. Practice what you preach. If an Artist promotes certain cause, they should not be a hypocrite and realize brand awareness.
Tips for Brand Building
- One of the first steps in brand building is a belief in the Artist and what they stand for. If an Artist is able to inculcate a feeling of confidence and self-belief in their music or their artistic statements, it will surely reflect on the branding efficiency of the Artist.
- If music industry collaborators do not have a high regard for the values of the Artist and/or the Artist’s organization, they will fail in performing to the best of their abilities. Brand building helps the Artist’s collaborators to relate to the company and feel that they are a part of it.
- Taking steps for building the Artist’s brand alone may not alone bring results, so it is important that the Artist measure and monitor the level of progress. Developing effective plans is one thing but it is important to ensure that what is written on paper is put to action. Monitoring the Artist’s brand building activity also helps them to get a feedback from their team and collaborators about what they think is working right for them, and what steps can be taken to improve the project.
- The Artist’s brand building strategy should be focused on creating a unique identity for itself. If an Artist does not take their chosen name seriously, fans and potential customers may become skeptical about the name or perceive it to be a fake and therefore affect the Artist’s brand. It is important therefore, that Artist’s think creatively and put in an effort to differentiate their brand from others.
- Brand building is carried out to create a positive perception of the Artist in the minds of fans and customers. The crucial point here is the relevancy. Every product is aimed at a particular market and it is important that the Artist keep their target audience in mind. If the Artist’s product is aimed at a relatively smaller customer base, it is advisable to not stretch the brand too much. Similarly, if you have a large target customer base, it is important that your brand is able to fit into a wider range.
Effective Methods of Brand Management
Brand management is an important strategy for every Artist, and it can really determine its future prospects. Today, there are a lot of Artists which are synonymous with their brands, and the prime reason behind this is their ability to manage their brands effectively.
In today’s fiercely competitive market, Artists are known by their brands. Brand management should be a high priority for every company that aims to develop a brand identity and create a loyal base of customers. With the advent of social media, new avenues of brand management are available to Artists, and today, there is an increased interaction between consumers and Artists. Several researchers who have followed the right way of brand management, have stressed on the need for investing time, effort, and capital to create a unique identity for itself.
Know your strengths and capitalize on them
Every Artist is unique and has its own strengths and weaknesses. It is very important for a brand to know its strengths – the qualities that set it apart from others. Rather than embarking on a holistic approach towards brand management, an Artist should focus its products and performances in such a manner that it reflects the Artist’s outlook.
Deliver on your promises
It is very important that the Artist deliver on what they promise to their fans. These fans are the Artist’s customers. Advertisements, marketing campaigns and promotions would be of no good use if the Artist’s recorded sounds or live performances is not up to the expectations of the fan. It takes a lot of time for an Artist to build a brand and leniency from the Artist can seriously hamper all the efforts. It is important that the Artist stay true to their word and deliver a consistent flow quality products to their customers. Every show should be the best ever. Every recording should be of the highest quality.
Be consistent with your quality
One of the biggest mistakes that Artists make is taking their customers for granted. A brand which has created a niche for itself can’t rest on its past laurels to sustain in the marketplace. It has to ensure that the quality of its products does not deteriorate over the years. A classic example of this is the Artist who relies on past hits and instead of releasing a new album, issues a greatest hits version. Or the Artist who tours playing all old songs.
Keep reinventing the brand
This may be difficult for beginning Artists but as careers develop, new songs and sounds will be discovered by the Artist and the brand will grow.
Ensure a great customer experience
For a brand to be respected, the after-sales experience of a customer is vital. In other words, to solidify a fan’s loyalty, an Artist needs to follow-up immediately. Fans come one at a time and they can be lost one at a time as well. Most Artists spend a fortune on promoting their product and getting new customers on board, but fail miserably when it comes to after-sales experience. Retaining fans is as important as acquiring them. People have the power to hail or harm an Artist through word-of-mouth feedback. It becomes imperative for an Artist to train their support staff and customer service efficiently to ensure that the brand image doesn’t take a beating, and their loyal fans don’t lose interest in the Artist.
Artists should always remember that the future of brand management lies in innovation and maintaining an open and honest relationship with the fans. To sum up, as Kenneth Blanchard opines…”A brand for an Artist is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.”
Brand Promotion Strategies
The varied methods that are used for the promotion of a brand have a direct impact on the sales of a product. In that sense, an understanding of the varied brand promotion strategies is necessary for the success of any business.
An Artist might have the best product in the market. They may have the best songs or the best performance or the best recordings. However, without people being aware of that product, there are going to be no sales. Having a quality product is an important factor but only one component to success. The ways in which the Artist promotes the product is also just as important. Along with the regular factors that are used in the promotion of a product, one very crucial factor is that of brand promotion as a means of product promotion. In other words, the Artist’s image and brand is the promotion of the product. The brand forms the identity of a product or service. It is classified as having a distinct name, symbol, logo and a distinct sound.
The sale of products largely depends on the brand sound and brand name, and the brand influences the sales of a product. Therefore, it becomes important to learn varied brand promotion strategies that can be applied to promote the Artist as well as to create a name in the market.
Brand Promotion Objectives
It is not merely with an objective of increasing sales that strategies for brand promotion are brought into play; there are varied other factors and objectives that also drive the brand. Brand promotion will lead to awareness about the varied products of the Artist that fall under that brand as well as ensure fans and customer loyalty.
A promotion of the brand leads to a direct promotion of the varied products as well. In that way, Artists do not necessarily have to advertise and promote each individual product, but an overall promotion of the brand will lead to a promotion of the products automatically. Which is why it is seen that famous brands are more popular and ensure more sales than lesser known brands. Customers who become loyal to a particular brand will generally opt for the same brand and the products that they produce.
Thus the main objectives of brand promotion are as follows:
- Dispelling information about the varied products and performances of the Artist
- Making the public aware of the factors that differentiate the brand from others
- Strategies to increase the demand of the brand
- Establishing brand equity (The power of the brand adds to the product)
- To stabilize sales to survive market fluctuations
- Eliminate competitive Artists’ marketing strategies
- To build a good image in the market
Brand Promotion Methods
While there are several direct, ‘above the line’ advertising strategies that are used, which bring about positive results, there is also the emergence of ‘below the line’ advertising that has become an important factor in the marketing circuit.
Direct Brand Promotion
Direct brand promotion includes factors like advertising on TV, radio, newspapers, through pamphlets and similar. Of these, we are aware.
In-Direct Brand Promotion
There are methods that make use of an indirect way of advertising and brand promotion – that being the usage of certain brand promotion activities and techniques. These are the following:
- Sponsoring Events: Sponsoring social events is a great way to promote a brand. Equating brands with a good cause, automatically lends a positive vibe to the brand.
- Associating with a Good Cause: Associating with a good cause creates a positive image in the eyes of the society. This positive image then carries forth to lend the brand a good name.
- Coupons and Contests: Giving out free coupons and holding contests works in the same manner as that of spreading goodwill.
- High Quality Products: Another way in which you can ensure brand promotion is to have only high quality products as a part of the brand. High quality products ensure that there is mouth publicity. This form of publicity makes a maximum impact in the general public, and that’s why it’s called “Word of mouth.”