The key to establishing yourself online and within your niche is building a strong musician brand. Unfortunately, this is far easier said than done.
The process of designing, building and nurturing a new brand means you have established:

  • Your WHY – the reason you make music in the first place
  • Your Goals – you can’t build a brand unless you are building towards something
  • A memorable look and feel
  • A unique voice
  • Consistent compelling content
  • A trustworthy reputation

The problem for most comes down to the simple fact that there is no single path to achieving any one of these things. And yet, you need them all in order for your brand to blossom.
A ‘brand’ is such an abstract, malleable concept and it may be difficult to know if you’re heading in the right direction. In fact, it can be down-right frustrating.

Here are the top 5 challenges we see what it comes to building a music brand:

1. You Must Be Aesthetically Inclined

Your musician brand is, of course, a major part of who you are as an artist. Having strong brand ties not only into what your music sounds like, but also how you look/present yourself, your logo, visuals, and beyond. This is why it’s vital to stick with a style that is not only true to you as an artist, but also something that ties your music to your lifestyle.
Your online appearance tells more about you than you might think. It’s important to put thought and creativity into your entire brand which includes your onstage look and your photos (including behind the scenes) as well as colors, fonts, logo and album/single artwork. So if you are not masterful at this you must get a great photo and graphics team.

2. Defining Your Musician Brand Voice Takes Time

Whenever branding (whether it’s a musician brand or product brand) is discussed, and after your colors and fonts and logo has been selected, the next component to be included is the idea of establishing a ‘voice’. This ‘voice’ must be rooted in a signature story and include your own unique approach.
It won’t work with just one or the other.
This voice may not come to you right away. In fact, it is normal for this to take a VERY long time to fully get right.
Are you dry, sarcastic, funny, silly, intellectual, low-brow, etc. you must consider how you develop your voice and what feels right on target to you.
Once you do fully realize this voice, your focus and ability to create consistent compelling content it all gets easier.

3. Doubt Will Raise It’s Ugly Head

Doubt has to be the number one killer of brands. And when you are first starting to define your voice the nasty little voice inside your head might come up and make you doubt yourself.
Because building a brand is a long-game and takes time to establish, you’ll often feel like you’re posting for no one (or for very few people).
Because of this, it is important to find any successes, even if they are small, that you can not only rejoice in on a regular basis to keep you motivated.

  • A handful of Facebook ‘likes’ on a status update
  • A few comments on an Instagram post
  • A Re-Tweet or an @
  • Streams on Spotify, SoundCloud, or any DSP

To stay positive and focus on goals in this article, I suggest writing down 5 successes per day to keep yourself motivated.

4. There Is No Moment When You Will Know Your Musician Brand Is “Ready”

That moment you may see in the movies doesn’t exist.  Successful musician brands are built on steady streams and small moments.  A huge gig one month builds onto a successful flurry of posts the nest which build on your next release which builds on (well, you get the point) There won’t be that AH HA! I’ve MADE it moment.
It’s a journey, not a destination.
Even when you do hit your stride you might not see it as a “moment.”

5. Your Must Care About Engagement More Than Anyone Else

Let’s face it, it is human nature to avoid disrupting the status quo. Very few people are willing to put themselves out on a limb, for the fear of being judged is too great. It is this simple reason that studies show people fear public speaking more than death.
Now let’s take the idea of putting yourself out on a limb, and add in the fact that through social media you’re now doing this in a VERY public forum where anyone and everyone can judge you.
If you consider this, it makes all the sense in the world why your Instagram posts are not getting huge amounts of likes or your questions on Facebook aren’t being answered.
Fans aren’t always inclined to speak up.
Because of this, it will be absolutely normal that your commitment to engaging your fans be far greater than their commitment to engaging with you.
It is only once you establish yourself with the trustworthy reputation that any ideas, comments, and responses will be heard, validated and appreciated, that your fans will start to match your commitment to engagement.

If you want to start building the path to a strong brand that aligns with your audience you must first know who your audience is. Download this exercise to do just that:

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