A Quick & Dirty Guide to Branding
By Robin Yukiko - March 8, 2013
As a textbook Gemini, I struggled with branding for a long time. It was frustrating to me because I would see beginning artists nail this aspect without realizing it simply by being who they are (matching their inner self with their outer self). But when you feel like two (or more) different people, it's tough to reconcile these pieces.
The trick is finding cohesive elements within yourself that are slow to change. I have broken down the topic into elements I feel are important when branding yourself.
Message (or Mission Statement)
- What do you sing about?
- What do you strongly believe?
- What are you trying to tell the world?
- Can you incorporate your other interests?
- Are you a hoot? Melancholy? What’s your default state? (Note: Your persona does not necessarily have to be your real personality. You can create a “character”, but it has to be solid.)
- How do you get your point across? Through shouting, pondering lightly, with pure, ice cold logic?
Image - Make your look match your sound
I never understood the point of designer labels until I started shopping consignment and really got to know designers. Clothing brands have a style, a favored cut, a personality. That’s not to say they don’t branch out, but most of the time I can tell who the label is without even checking. It’s called good branding. That’s why you need to know how to dress yourself so your look matches your sound. Things to consider:
- Cuts you wear (flattering for your body shape)
- Colors (be mindful of the following:)
- Skin tone
- Color scheme connotations (e.g. black/red = goth, hot pink = pop, earth tones = folky, etc.)
- Accessories (tough? dainty?)
- Makeup (if applicable)
It's also important to have an everyday look that you can level up to a gig look.
Peruse some magazines and find brands that you gravitate toward. They don’t have to be big labels, but their style should be clearly defined. Then copy-cat the look for cheap, or shop thrift/consignment.
This is the easiest, but most tedious. Make sure that, once you have your message and your look down, you can make these things visible and streamline on your website. Then match every social media platform you use to the best of your abilities.
When you brand yourself successfully, you empower yourself. You are fortifying your self-awareness, confidence, and taking control of people’s perception of you (to a point).
Those who are afraid to label themselves are afraid to commit.
Commit to yourself! Do it by branding.
Robin Yukiko is a Berklee College of Music grad, singer-songwriter, pianist, and music educator in San Francisco. She performs regularly and hosts the SF Singer-Songwriters’ Workshop at the Musicians Union Local 6. Robin is currently producing her second album and enjoying nerdly pursuits. Join Robin’s mailing list at www.robinyukiko.com/contact.