Personal Branding for Creative Minds: 12 Techniques to Shine

There are hundreds of people starting their businesses every day.

Did you know that there are 400 or more songs being released each day?

  • How will your song, your product be noticed?
  • How do you make your brand stand out?
  • How can you be seen in a saturated world?
  • How can you get through to your fans?

When you are an artist, a musician, you give everything you’ve got to your art, your music. Many long hours are spent in the studio to perfect your songs. It is important to you to make this or that note sound the way it is in your mind.

  • You give attention to details.
  • You work hard.
  • You spend energy, time and money on your art.
  • You forget to eat.
  • You neglect your friends and your family.
  • You think only about one thing: produce that song right!
  • You’re obsessed.
  • In class you can’t concentrate.
  • At work you have melodies and arrangements in your head.
  • You polish those vocals.

Then finally after months of back and forth, you release the song, the album. hoping someone will notice it. But no one really cares… No one really takes the time to listen…

  • Maybe a few friends bought it?
  • Maybe you gained a few fans?

You feel disappointed, discouraged, you are ready to give up.  Of course, you don’t because that’s all you can do, it’s who you are.  Making music is your life, your passion; it’s in your blood!

What happened?

Your vocals were on point, they were emotional and professional; the arrangement was original, very well put together. What happened?

Possibly….A lack of Momentum, a lack of Branding & Launching.

But who has time for that right?

When your album and your songs are ready, its the time to think about the visual and marketing aspects of the business. Your Personal Brand.

DOWNLOAD the PDF of the 12 Branding Techniques here.

Let’s start with defining what really is a brand? 

It is your mark on people, the way people will recognise you and perceive you, this is how they will remember you. 

You want your brand to be recognisable and memorable, and even more important you want a brand that’s truly representing who you are and your message. Ultimately you are the creator of your music, your art and image. YOU are the essence of it all.

The goal of your brand is to attract fans.

“Branding is provoking thoughts in others. Challenging the status quo. It’s authenticity at its best.” ALH

So how does one create his/her Brand, work at it, and still stay authentic?

Here are 12 techniques you can apply today to start creating your personal brand, get more specific, and BE more YOU.

I have divided these 12 techniques in 3 categories:

A. Mastermind

  1. Create a Mastermind
  2. Find the right band name
  3. Which colours, clothes, images represent your band the best?
  4. Which fonts represent your band?

B. Your Essence

  1. Find your values
  2. What are your specifics?
  3. What is your story?
  4. Describe your music in 20 characters

C. Your Public

  1. Who would you like to touch with your music?
  2. Who do you make music for?
  3. How to make the bridge in between you and your public?
  4. Your fan’s journey

A. The Mastermind

1. Create a Mastermind 

A Mastermind is a group of supportive people who will give their thoughts to the conversation.

The intention of the Mastermind is to find solutions and answers to questions.

It is to get as many different viewpoints and perspectives as possible. Every viewpoint is valued and viewed as one possibility among others.

How does it work?

  • Get together with 4 to 8 people who are willing to help. It could be friends, other musicians, family members and fans. You choose your group. Select the people who are creative and think differently. Try to select a variety of individuals.
  • Select a scribe who will write everything down and take notes of the answers said in the session (even if you record the Mastermind session, do have a scribe, because you’ll need to read the answers at some point)
  • There is a guide (most probably you). The guide makes sure the conversation stays respectful. He keeps everyone’s intention on the discussion’s goal. The guide is fair and has everyone in the group have their turn sharing viewpoints.
  • You will write down the questions/the problems you’d like to solve.
  • Stick to one subject for a whole Mastermind session. Have one person at a time state his/her issue. Depending on how many participants would like to state his or her question, you determine, before you start, how long each person has. You can always ask a few questions about your band, take a break and then another musician or entrepreneur asks his/her questions.
  • If everyone would like to have a turn in asking questions, determine a set time for each person. So the sessions do not get to long.

Examples of questions for your Mastermind group:

  • What is a good band name for the music (product, art, ____) I make?
  • How would you describe my music (product, art, ______ )? Give me specific adjectives and descriptions.
  • What colours represent best my music (product, art, ______ )?
  • Which fonts represent best my music (product, art, ______ )?
  • If you could choose, what would be the best concert (event, meeting, course) experience?
  • What kind of merchandise could best represent my music (product, art, ______ )?
  • What kind of logo should my band (team, brand, course,____) have?
  • What do you expect from going to a concert (an event, exhibition, ______ )?
  • How would you like to feel listening to my music (consuming my product, ____) ?
  • While showing them an example of an image: How do you feel when you see that image?
  • Show them a choice of images for your Album Release (Product, Meeting, Course, ______) and ask them what feelings come up for each image.

Here are some basic rules for the Mastermind to produce the best results:

  • Everyone is free to talk or not talk
  • Nobody interrupts
  • All answers are noted equally
  • There are no judgment on the answers provided
  • There is no correction being made on what someone else says
  • Everyone listens to the other’s viewpoints
  • People take turn talking in a natural way

You sit in a circle or in a living room, and the guide asks the questions. Whenever someone has an idea they say it.   Everyone waits for their turn to speak and then shares their thoughts-feelings-ideas; the guide is there to maintain a friendly and peaceful conversation.   The scribes job is to write the answers.

At the end of the process, which is determined either by time or just when all answers have been exhausted, the main ideas are read to the group.

You will gather lots of information and ideas for many subjects, see things in a different light and come up with names, descriptions and words you would have not thought of by yourself.

It is a process that creates bonds between the people who are participating and enhances creativity for everyone in the group.

A win-win for all!

2. Find the right band name

Which name would symbolise and represent your music? After having it as a question in your Mastermind group, you can do the following investigation: choose a few random people and tell them the name of your band.

Ask them a few questions like:

  1. What do you feel when you hear that name?
  2. What do you see when you hear that name?
  3. What kind of music fits that name?

If you are a Metal Band and your name is “Flowery Fields” it doesn’t feel right.

By getting feedback from a few people who don’t know you, you are making sure your chosen name matches your music.

Your Band’s Name must = Your Sound

3. Which colours, clothes, images represent your band the best?

The first process: “know the other artists”

  • Pick 3 artists you admire
  • Search online for them
  • Take a piece of paper which you’ll divide in 3 columns, write their names at the top of each column
  • Choose categories: clothes style, album cover colours, logo, accessories, hair, make up, instruments, scene, website, image on social media etc. Choose categories you are sensitive to, you resonate with and write them on the lines. Like this:

 

  • Fill it in

Second process: “Know Yourself”

Create the same table for yourself, add all kinds of categories like: clothes style, album cover colours, logo, accessories, hair, make up, instruments, scene, website, image on social media, favorite social media, favorite way of communication, etc.

  • Fill it in with the intention of creating or discovering your own image

Third process: “Your Image”

  • Now that you have decided on your clothes, colours, accessories, hair etc. Buy magazines or take old ones.
  • Cut out images, parts of images that match your description of yourself as an artist, choose images you like and that make you feel the way you’d like to feel on stage
  • Glue them on to a paper and create your image

Fourth process: “Apply it”

  • Look at all the images you have of yourself and determine if it fits your new look or not.
  • Go online, search shops or second hands shops, buy what you need
  • Book a photo-shoot or do one with a friend, take pictures of yourself in the new image, see if you like it
  • Repeat the process until you are sure it matches your feel, your personality and your music/product

Consistency will make you stand out, people will be able to recognise you, it will make your image a brand.

4. Which fonts represent your band?

Fonts have a personality. When I see some fonts I feel in the 1960’s or I feel futuristic. Choosing your font is an important part of defining your image.

  • If you feel able to, try to write your ideal A and B
  • Go online and search for fonts
  • Find a few that have the substance of what you are looking for
  • Download them
  • Write your name with them
  • Show them to your Mastermind or your friends
  • Match them with your image
  • Ask a designer to build your image with your font (www.fivverr.com is a great resource for little works like that)
  • Have a logo made

DOWNLOAD the PDF of the 12 Branding Techniques here.

B. Your Essence

What makes you YOU? What is your essence? I outlined 4 ways to make your essence shine.

1. Find your values

Each and every one of us is driven by some core values.  Some examples of values are:

Collaboration * Friendship * Family * Gratitude * Asserted * Heartfelt * …

You can find a list of 418 values on this website: https://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2004/11/list-of-values/

How to find your values?

Maybe you are already clear on which values are your core values. If so write them down so your brand can reflect them.

If not ask yourself those questions:

  • Why am I making music?
  • What do I want to give my public?
  • How would I like my public to feel while listening to your music/consuming my product(s)?

2. What are your specifics?

Here are a few questions:

  • In your eyes, what are your most important qualities?
  • What are your weird spots?
  • What do you like that others don’t know you like?
  • What do you never tell anyone?
  • Do you have a morning routine?
  • Do you have a night routine?
  • When do you play music?
  • When do you write?
  • Do you have a day job?
  • How do you make money?
  • How do you plan to make money in the future?
  • Are you in good health?
  • What kind of eater are you?
  • Are you straight or gay or…?
  • Etc.

All of these questions will make a map of your specifics. Things only you know. All those definitions and descriptions are what make you YOU. See how you could use some of them in your brand.

3. What is your story?

We talk a lot about someones personal story . People love to hear stories and be part of your life. Fans want to be close to you.  We see  the value and importance of stories  all the time on social media, starting with Snapchat and followed by now Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp. Every day has its own little story to follow. When you follow your favorite stars plus your inspirations, you see what they are up to, and feel closer to them.

I am asking you now to go into your past and dig into your memories.

Which stories, experiences had such an impact on you that they shaped you?

The way we tell a story is very important:

  • There is a hero like you and me
  • The hero is in trouble and experiences something unexpected
  • The hero goes through a transformation
  • The hero comes out stronger, better, evolved

So what is your story?

If you are curious about my story, I gave a talk about it, check it out: www.arianeleanzaheinz.com

4. Describe your music in 20 characters

Often when playing in festivals, clubs or even just filling out forms for Spotify or your digital distributor (like CD Baby) you are asked to describe your music shortly.

It is handy to have it prepared.

Here are some good examples: “We’re a country rock band with a touch of electro twist.” or “My music is sad melancholic pop filled with energy synth.” or “I write motherly lullabies on pop melodies.”

These are examples that are not descriptive enough: “We are a mix of everything.”  Or “We sound like Coldplay or Rihanna…¨ “We’re a rock band”… they’re too generic.

Be passionate and creative with your 20 characters. The essence of your music should be revealed in your description.

The following exercise could help you come up with yours:

  • Write 100 things you like to do
  • Describe 100 sounds you like
  • Describe your personality and your band’s members personality in 100 words
  • Play with the words, find the ones which reveal your core

C. Your Public

After you have discovered and targeted your essence, you have to get clear on the person who will listen to your music. This person is your ideal fan. It is the person you make music for.

1. Who would you like to touch with your music?

Here are some key questions:

  • Who do you want to talk to?
  • Who would you like to give to?
  • Who would you like to touch?
  • Who would you like to move?
  • Who would you like to change the world for?
  • Who would you like to inspire?

2. Who do you make music for?

She/he is the person at the other end of your creation. When you know whom you are performing for, you gain clarity on how to perform and on which experience to give your public. So let’s create a portrait of the ideal fan, write everything down, like you are talking about a cherished friend:

  • Where do they live?
  • How old are they?
  • Where do they shop?
  • What are their favorite bands?
  • How does his/her ordinary day look like?
  • Their sexual preference
  • Their health status
  • What kind of relationship do they have?
  • Etc.

Describe one day of your ideal fan. Imagine what they are doing, where do they go and who they hang out with.

Having a clear picture of that person will help you create your personal brand in alignment with them, an image that fit your world and their world, so they can notice you. You are creating a bridge towards them.

You are clear on who you are talking to when you write, create, advertise etc.

3. How to make the bridge in between you and your public?

You are the one who will decide how to make the bridge in between your music/your products and your public.

Here are some key questions:

  • When does your fan buy your product and consume your music/product?
  • What does he have to do or encounter in order to get across your music/product?
  • And how does your music/product impact his/her life

4. Your fan’s journey:

What is the journey you are getting your listener through from the first encounter until they buy something from you. 

You have to map out your customer’s journey. If you want fans to buy something from you, you have to make it easy for your ideal fan to get to you. The next task is to write down different scenarios in which at the end your fan will come to a concert or buy your album.

For example:

Let’s say that your future Fan is on Musical.ly

  • She/he finds your music there
  • Makes a Musical.ly video with it
  • Then go on Spotify to listen to your music
  • Checks out your website to see where you’ll perform
  • Signs up for your mailing list
  • Receives special news from you
  • Comes to a concert
  • Buys an album
  • Meets with you
  • Get the album signed
  • Buys a T-shirt

Another possibility:

  • You get featured in a magazine
  • Your future fan reads it
  • Goes on to your website
  • Watches your video
  • Goes on Amazon Music to download your songs
  • Goes back to your website to check when the concerts are
  • Comes to a concert
  • Buys some merchandise
  • Buys a pass to meet you

There are many possibilities on how a fan could “meet” you. Make a list of different possibilities and make sure there are no holes in your customers journey.

  • Make sure they can subscribe to your newsletter and that you send them regular news, fans love to get your emails.
  • Put in place a welcoming funnel through your website for your fans to get to know you.
  • And make sure they can find you on all the platforms they go to (online and offline).

I see musicians not writing enough to their fans, I see them thinking that it will be too much, but fans love hearing from you. They love to be part of a community.

By applying those 12 techniques, you will start gaining clarity and your image will start working for you.

“Being real is finding your colours, deciding how you tell your story and not being afraid to say what you feel.”

Be Bold, Conquer the World, Do More

DOWNLOAD the PDF of the 12 Branding Techniques here.