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Branding and Music (Part 1)


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Image and Branding

 

In the Music Industry, image is everything. Your image is quite literally, how the world sees you. As an artist, your brand is built around the image being projected of the band members, but it also connects the band and the preconceived things the public would most likely associate with an artist’s music when they first hear it. This is true even when there are unexpected elements, on some level that connection still needs to be made.

 

Photographs, graphics and video have never been more important. In a social media world posts whizz by every second. Even on platforms like Twitter visual elements are used to make tweets more appealing. Yes your posts need to be eye catching and memorable, but the artwork associated with your releases, your photos, your new music video, your website, your logo, all need to be thought through. You need to think about what they represent to the viewing public. All these elements are stacked with meaning that is more readily understood and digested than your music.

 

This is exactly why artists lead the release of their new music with a look at the artwork and other visual content associated with the new release. New artwork creates a buzz of anticipation, an increased appetite for the music. It can even tease with an expectation of what that music will be like.

 

This is because visual content is designed to be a visual representation of the music. If you don’t use visuals, just imagine how much harder it would be to get people to listen to your music? What do you think would get more clicks as a YouTube video thumbnail: a plain grey screen or an eye catching, creative logo or album cover? Next time you browse YouTube and go to click, pause and consider why you chose that video? How much were you influenced by that thumbnail?


Good Design and Bad Design


A good design isn’t always as noticeably good as bad design is noticeably bad. This is true for visual image and overall branding. Because of this bad design, badly presented messages can really hurt your brand in a lasting way, so take care to think through your branding music marketing.

 

Album art is both a useful marketing tool and an artistic statement of intent. It becomes a marker in time and is adapted and re-purposed as any and all merchandise and marketing relating to the album release and the associated tour.

 

Good visuals and branding will affect your streams and your sales, but it goes much further. Graphics are likely to be used in your marketing material. Fans buy and wear tee-shirts, caps and hoodies, they hang up posters in their room, stick sticker on things, giving your brand more exposure, support and ultimately extra advertising.

 

Visual imagery is a vital part of your music marketing plan. When you think of your brand, be aware just how much more accessible imagery and graphics make your music. Designs represent the culture and identity of your brand and your music.

 

Doing It Right

 

So what do we need to do to visually represent our music and start to create an image?

 

Imagine the way your album artwork (including covers, packaging, music videos etc.) might affect a newcomer, someone with no experience of your music. Ask yourself what reaction they might have? How might it make them feel? Does it bring out an emotional reaction?
 

Your designs will want to anticipate the answers to these questions and represent them visually. The feeling or message they represent can then be designed in to all faces of your branding. 
 

If you want to be taken seriously you will need to look the part. You need to look professional in all that you do. With all the effort and money you put into your music trying to make it as professional as possible and knowing how much of a difference visual imagery and effective branding can make, you have to ask yourself: can I afford not to have a decent budget for graphic design and branding? The answer (in case you haven’t yet worked it out) is “No.” Hire a professional graphic artist, photographer, marketer, videographer etc to help you build your brand and image.


Take Aways

 

  • Show creativity, and feeling
  • Visually, show that you care about all aspects of your product.
    • It will help you to get more attention and to be take seriously by potential fans
  • Having an image doesn’t mean changing anything about who you are or what you stand for
    • It isn’t about rebelling
    • It isn’t about conforming
    • It isn’t about making grand statements
    • It isn’t about fitting in to a subculture
  • Be consistent
  • Commit to a specific look, feel and tone
    • Stick with it
  • Create something that people can stand behind
    • It’s more than just a product; it’s a brand they can believe in. A brand they can trust
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