Do not be intimidated by the word “brand” because it simply means your packaging or how you carry yourself. Okay, if you still don’t like the sound of the term packaging, let’s try to make it simpler: it’s your identity. It’s how people recognize you, it’s what sets you apart (even very slightly) from others. As artists, this need to be distinguished from others and to have originality is innate but creating a brand takes more than having natural quirks and dressing up creatively. Branding requires a certain balance of the following: your genuine identity+ how you market yourself+your works+what your niche market likes.
YOUR GENUINE IDENTITY
Before trying to develop your frills, make sure you know who you are to the core. That is because, as a general rule, you only have to ENHANCE who you are if you’re despite all the talk about marketing and pleasing your followers. Now, defining who you are is not simple. No one can really define clearly who they are even if they’re 100 years old people change constantly. However, you can tell if something is close to who you are and if something is totally “not you.” By identifying the things that you really can’t do, you’re defining who you are. For example, it’s not your personality to wear pink, then you must absolutely not cross that or else you’ll start to hate yourself.
IDENTIFY YOUR NICHE
Who is that specific group of people you are targeting? Do not say everybody! You cannot please everyone and not everyone will love your music or art. Who are they? Are they mostly women or men? Are they teenagers, 20s,30s, or seniors? Where do they hang out? What types of music do they listen to? Put them under a microscope and get to know them. Get to know them because your career depends on it. Well, not entirely, but it’s a big factor. Once you’ve identified you niche, that means you’re more focused and defined when it comes to how you brand and market yourself. For example, if you find out that they’re into sneakers, you can sell them custom painted sneakers.
MAP OUT YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY
Based on the things you’ve discovered above, and based on your products, you can now make a map of how you’re going to enter the market. Get advice from your PR team on how you should market yourself online and offline. Make sure your strategy and brand is clear in all aspects to avoid confusion from customers. You do not want to keep switching your brand.
SHOW YOUR BRAND IN YOUR PRODUCTS AND IN YOURSELF
One great way for people to identify you is to have a fashion item that you always wear wherever you go. It could be a hat, it could be sunglasses, it could be pink hair color, it could be a shirt (Mark Zuckerberg only wears grey shirts!), it could be a mask during a performance (The Bucketheads, Daft Punk, Slipknot, etc). Show your personality and your brand in the items that you sell whether it’s a dropcard or a key chain. Make sure that the items you sell are the favorites of your niche. Before even conceptualizing an item, remind yourself of your brand and ask yourself if what you’re making still complements your style.
It’s awesome and liberating to just be who you are. No one should tell you what to wear, how to behave, how to talk, what kinds of music to play, etc. However, if you’re trying to build a career, you have to change your mindset. Just make sure you get the right balance by staying true to yourself. If something feels “totally not you”, maybe it’s not a good idea. The goal is to maximize your personality so that you will be remembered, not to alter your personality to get sales.
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