Branding your art? Does that seem like a paradox in itself to you? If so, this post might help you shift perspective.
I don´t believe in long intros that take up people´s precious time. You have probably come here, because the headline generated interest, right? So, let´s not waste time and answer the question right away!
Truth is I am not in the spot to decide for you whether or not you are in need of an artist brand, BUT I am a strong advocate for creating one. So there you go. My short answer is: yes!
Look, like most artists, I myself do not like the idea of being put and locked inside a box. Who wants to limit themselves anyway? However, some boxes we create in our lives are actually quite cozy. Think of your home. You get to create the interior you want and it is a place that is truly yours.
Think of defining an artist brand of a way to decorate your “artist home” as well. Make it something that is yours.
Why does an artist brand matter?
Branding your artistry is a way to help you communicate with a specific targetgroup more easily, as we all know that people connect more easily with something that seems consistent and resonates with their own ideas. But aside from the target group, I view your brand as a way to help you understand yourself and your art in the first place. Defining a clear artist identity will help you have clarity about who you are as an artist, where you are going and what you want to achieve and what not. It is a compass that will help you and your followers navigate through the cluttery noises of your competitors (even though I do not like that word). A brand identity is the thread in the needle that stiches your path.
Now, how do you define/create an artist brand?
The good news is: There are many approaches and there is no right or wrong. Including in how broad or narrow your definition is. You might just have a lose set of definitions like values you want to transport through your music/artistry, or purpose you find as an artist. Or, if you like to dig deeper, you may want to think like a business and look into established brand archetypes.
You might have heard of archetypes in psychology. This idea was formulated by CG Jung and was adapted to branding by marketing experts.
A beautiful overview on brand archetypes can be found here: https://iconicfox.com.au/brand-archetypes/
The overall idea is to find out how you can best “dress” your core messages, so that you people (including yourself) have a certain image of you . Are you a very extroverted artist, who loves to provoke? Then maybe the “outlaw” or the “explorer” archetype might be something to look into.
Are you someone that loves to console and provide comfort? A caretaker maybe?
Or are you all about being intimate and seductive. The “lover” might then be your core identity.
However, there are many options in creating hybrid brands as well and I would encourage you to do that. You might mix the “lover” with the “magician” and create a sparkly new combination.
You might combine the “hero” with the “jester” and be a bit self-ironic etc.
Once you know who you are, all else will seem much easier to define as well. Your imagery, your language, the platforms you chose to promote your art…. For example if you are very clear, direct and forward-coming, use strong colors and not too many distractive elements in pictures. Are you mysterious and magical? Be playful and less consistent etc.
Creating an artist brand can even help you change up your song productions and arrangements. Keeping things simple or very twisted. Mixing vocals loud and front or reverby and washed out.
I think the more we look at branding as a tool to help us be playful and explorative, the more fun it is. This is not about building a prison for yourself. It´s about building a home.
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