Sunday, August 5, 2012

The 3 Pillars Of A Successful Brand

Brand image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 music industry blog
I've discussed branding a lot here and in my Music 3.0 Internet Music guidebook, and I've found that the thought of it either intrigues or appalls most artists. One of the problems with the process of branding is that by being such an obvious goal, it can feel like a sell-out. That very well may be true in some cases were the branding is created more for manipulation than for overall promotional strategy, but it is a new fact of life in the current music business that everything is based upon brands.

The problem is that whether you like it or not, if you're an artist you're already a brand. It may not be a strong brand, but then again, it very well may have become just that without any thought or effort on your part. What I want to outline here is exactly what a brand is and how it's created.

First of all, what exactly is a brand? In all situations, it's a promise of quality and consistency. For McDonalds, that means that anywhere in the world you can easily recognize a franchise, and a Big Mac will taste the same. For an artist, that means the sound and feel of their music and their image will retain the same familiarity. Madonna changed her style in clothing and music over the years yet her sound and image has always been relatively the same. The same goes for The Beatles or any of the legacy acts that have lasted 20+ years.

So what are the pillars of building the brand? There are 3:

Familiarity: You can't have a brand unless your followers or potential followers are familiar enough with who you are. They don't even have to know what you sound like to be interested if you have enough buzz and they've heard about you enough to want to check you out.

Likeability: Your followers have to like you or something about you. It could be your music, or it could be your attitude or your image. You could even say how much you hate your fans and do everything to ridicule them, and that could be the thing they like about you. It doesn't matter what it is, but there has to be something.

Similarity: Your fans have to feel that either you represent them either in a cause or movement (like a new genre of music), or that they can be you someday. Female Olympic athletes usually don't do well in this category because their sleek and muscular look is so far beyond what the ordinary girl or women can attain that they can't relate to them. On the other hand, young girls love Taylor Swift because they feel that she could be their best friend from next door.

If you have those three things along with consistent quality product (which hopefully is your music), you've got a brand. I wouldn't intentionally try to manufacture your brand so it absolutely complies with these pillars (people usually see right through that), but always keep these things in mind that this is how your audience looks at you, although none of them may even know it.
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Rhian Oxenham said...

Hi Bobby, brilliant ideology here. Just wondering, should it be '3 Pillars'?

Bobby Owsinski said...

Yes, good catch Rhian. Don't know how spell check didn't catch that.


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