Branding an artist is tricky. It takes a lot of skill, a lot of effort, and a lot of luck. Some people think that the only successful artist branding is that of major artist. But this is a gross understatement. A successful brand, like a successful artist, is not measured by chart position: consider earnings, fan base, the longevity of the music, social impact, etc.
Whatever the goal that the artist is looking for in creating his or her successful brand, there are three tips to consider:
- Know your fan base – Know what is important to your fans. If you forget your fans, they will forget you.
- Think about media mix – In my last post about branding, I mentioned the need to develop marketing campaigns that are specific to the types of media on which the artist seeks to target listeners. With the wide range of media available – computers, smartphones, TV, etc. – artists may have the biggest advantage in increasing their fan base if they expand their branding efforts to various media. Doing this depends on many factors, including the media used by the target market, financial resources, and creative resources.
- Prove and improve your branding – In order to know the effectiveness of the artist’s branding efforts, the artist should have some technique in place to evaluate the effectiveness of the marketing campaign. Once the artist knows how well or how poorly their branding efforts are, or has been, the artist is ready to develop strategies to improve.
As mentioned above, there are different ways to measure the success of a branding initiative. A 2011 study by Nielsen, entitled Beyond Clicks and Impressions: Examining the Relationship Between Online Advertising and Brand Building, shines light on reasons why an artist should interpret branding success on various factors.
According to the study, the click-through rate of digital advertisements does not illustrate the relationship between clicks and brand awareness. This means, for example, that just because the listener did not click the link on the artist’s facebook contest doesn’t mean that the branding effort was a failure. The listener likely took in, and remembered, the brand.
The study also shows that brand awareness correlates to offline sales impacts. As mentioned before, the listener may not have clicked on whatever it was that the artist had in association to their marketing campaign, but the branding effort may have been successful because the listener may have purchased music, merchandise or concert tickets that were not associated with that particular advertisement.
The study shows that online ads can increase the impact of the brand; however, artists should use the brand awareness to differentiate themselves. Since online branding efforts are working, artists need to take advantage of their digital efforts to showcase how amazing they are as compared to similar artists.
With 249.3 million Americans on the Internet, according to Nielsen, it is also useful for artists to do their homework in developing branding efforts and measuring success.
According to The Kern Organization’s 2011 Mid-Year Marketing Trends Study, 37% of marketing organizations believe that Facebook is the most important social media channel (followed by Twitter and LinkedIn). In light of this, 16% of marketing organizations find satisfaction in current social media efforts.
Although this study looks at marketing companies in various industries, and is not exclusive to the music biz, it does highlight the importance of social media and highlights the need for artists to revamp existing social media marketing campaigns.
A similar consideration for artist to take in is search engine optimization (SEO). Kern’s essay finds that Google has 88 billion search queries per month while Twitter has 19 billion, Yahoo has 9.4 billion and Bing! has 4.1 billion. By understanding the services that a potential fan base uses to search for music or information about artists, an artist can develop a more impactful SEO and marketing plan.
There are many ways to determine the success of branding. By coming up with strategies to best achieve the desired success, and evaluating the results, artists can create the brand that best suit their goals and their fan base.