6 tips that will help you on your branding quest:
What makes Eric Omondi be Eric Omondi? What comes to your mind when you hear the name Beyonce? Why would someone log onto YouTube and watch one of Wizkid’s (Nigerian musician) songs and not a musician from their locality? These are questions you should ponder on when it comes to branding.
The creative industries have picked up thus cut-throat competition is the order of the day. To remain relevant in the industry, you should create a brand that can withstand the test of times. With the popularity of social media, it has become easier to build a world-class brand and earn from your craft.
Creative artists including comedians, musicians, filmproducers, actors, and directors need a brand for longevity and location.
Longevity is memorability. Why should I watch your TV series after the first season? You need people to recommend your work to others, stay in touch with you and keep on wanting more of your work.
Location simply implies that people should be able to find you more. If they can’t access your work then they won’t buy it. For example, a Kenyan spoken word artist, Poet Teardrops has social media profiles where he normally posts his pieces. If you need to read one of them, you simply locate him on his Facebook handle.
Now that you armed with the knowledge of why you should build your brand as a creative artist, here are 6 tips that will help you on your branding quest:
- Define yourself
To be you unique, you must identify what makes you different from other players in the industry. You are the brand. People will go for something different in very work. Some of the questions you should ask yourself are;
- Which new vibe am I bringing in the industry?
- What do I really care about in my specialized craft?
- Who is my target market? Who do I want to relate with?
- You must be vulnerable to put yourself out there and have people criticize you and your work.
- Embrace your uniqueness
The saying goes that ‘fake it till you make it’. To build your brand, you just have to be you. In the arts, people will notice when you are trying too hard to impress. The secret to being you is to identify your unique trait and tap into it.
Check out these different ways of describing a photographer;
- “Photography which captures the mood and emotions of the subjects”
- “Socio-political videographer with an eye for detail”
Both of them are photographers but each one has a distinct character/ brand which sets them apart. One is probably ideal for emotional events such as weddings and funerals while the other may be suitable for non-governmental organizations projects and politicians.
- Identify your target market
Now that you have figured out what makes you tick, you have to identify who you want to sell to. You have to be specific about who your audience is. They will be your die-hard fans.
Your audience are people who you relate to as an artist. This is someone at home who will be watching your performance on TV and say, “I like her because she sings about what I go through every day.”
Your audience should be specific in regards to demographic and physiographic factors like gender, age-group, music preferences. For example;
- “School-going, urbane girls.”
- “Over-40 men, single and lovers of classic music.”
- Create an image
It’s normally said don’t judge a book by its cover but when it comes to branding, polish your cover because people judge you by it. How you present yourself to the public matters. People will use your image to associate with you. This may be a caricature of you but it’s what will attract them to read your book, buy your graphic designs or listen to your album.
The image is not only done by taking part in glamorous shoots but everything else that portrays you in a certain way. This includes your mode of dressing, opinions on social issues and activities not related to your craft. For example, Jalango (Felix Odiwuor), a famous comedian and radio presenter in Kenya often dresses in a green suit and leopard-print shirt when appearing in adverts and events. He doesn’t wear it daily but only when he is on duty. When you see the suit, you definitely know it’s him; now that’s the image he has created.
- Establish a social media presence
Social media has made branding easier in the 21stcentury. Random people can build influential brands while hiding their faces behind a computer. Think of famous bloggers who have a large following on social media yet we don’t know how they look.
Because Kenyans spend an average of 4 hours a day on social media, it’s the ideal forum to reach your audience. These are some of the tactics you can employ;
- Use Twitter to network with people, share your work, ask questions and respond to your fans.
- Create a Facebook Page about your craft such as writing, spoken word, and interior designs.
- Have your bios posted on Wikipedia and other user-generated media.
- Produce your own audios and videos on your niche and post them on audio and video sharing platforms such as Sound cloud and YouTube.
- Create a website and showcase your creative work.
- Sell yourself
Put yourself out there. When starting out, you have to grab attention and make people notice you. You have to attend shows, events, and network with experienced artists in the field. Changing business cards with people and reaching out to those you admire is a way of climbing up the ladder.
You don’t have to make money the first day. When starting out, you can showcase your paintings at a gallery for free and distribute your music CDs to disk jockeys. Once you build a brand, monetary benefits will follow.
It’s worth to build your brand as an artist. Let flexibility be your habit because trends come and you will need to change to stay afloat. So always be ready to realign your brand depending on the shift by your audience and the marketplace.
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