4 Steps To Nailing Your Band’s Identity

Branding. It’s one of those words we hear tossed around a lot, but no one ever really takes the time to explain what it means.

So let’s start there.

In a nutshell, branding is what you think of when you think about your favorite artist or product. Likewise, when you think of your favorite artist, a certain feeling and aesthetic probably come to mind. You can picture their fashion, the mood and lighting at their shows, the feel of their music, how it makes you feel. That’s branding.

When done well, branding isn’t something your audience should ever really notice. It shouldn’t stand out or draw attention to itself. It should just attract your target audience and slowly but surely you should see your engagement and interaction go up. 

Branding done right is an incredible way to get in front of more of the people who naturally like what you have to offer, and to create a strong, lasting bond that can lead to a more engaged fan base, higher live show turnout, and merch sales. It’s not always easy to narrow in on your brand, but it is essential to a lasting career so whatever you do, don’t skip out on this article!

Step 1: Study the bands you love

If you’re having trouble visualizing what exactly all of this looks like, take a peek at what your favorite bands are doing. Study their social media, read their interviews, and take in their live show. (If you’ve never seen them live, watch a performance online.) Eventually, you’ll start to see the same theme and patterns appear. That’s their brand.

Step 2: Get to the core of why you do what you do

Everyone has a “why.” Dig deep to get clear on why it is you do what you do. Quick note—answers like “for the money” or “for fame” or “for the accolades” don’t count. Those are all a result of the work, but they aren’t the driving force.

Figuring out your why isn’t easy, but the process is simple.

Think about what it is you (or your band) all care most deeply about. What is it you were after when you started this band? Was it just to hang out and have fun? Then maybe your message, your brand, what you really care about more than anything is friendship and camaraderie. Did you start the band because you had gone through a deep depression and wanted others to feel less alone? Then maybe your brand is connection. Pay attention to what feels right and what clicks.  

Step 3: Create your elevator pitch

One way to find out really quickly if you’ve nailed down your brand is to try to write out an elevator pitch. You know, that thing where you should be able to say in just 1-2 sentences very concisely who you are and what you do, in a way that sells the listener and leaves them wanting more. 

For example “We are Band Name and we make ear-shattering, horror-inspired sounds that’ll send chills down your spine.” 

Not going to forget them are you?

Try writing yours down—if you’re having trouble verbalizing who you are and why anyone should care, you may need to revisit step number 2.

When it’s time to spread the word about your music, it’s time to look at Promote It

Step 4: Put it into action

Once you’ve nailed down your brand, it’s time to think about how you’re going to convey that to the world. Don’t worry, eventually this will become second nature but for now, you want to start to think about how to make sure you’re conveying your brand through:

That’s just a sampling of some of the main areas you’ll want to focus on. So, if you’ve decided your brand is all about just having fun and partying and the party lifestyle is what you want to convey, then your press photos are going to show you and the band having tons of fun, goofing around, laughing, smiling, you’ll probably have a lot of colors in those photos…all things to signify fun. 

Then, you’d want to make sure your social media wasn’t just about your music (it should never just be about your music) but instead includes behind the scenes photos of you guys being silly, or celebrating, or different articles that show the things you believe in that relate to the party life (like a funny article on a party bus gone wrong), etc. 

And your live show would probably include a lot of on-stage antics and banter, a distinct clothing style, and so on. 

See where I’m going with this? Start small with things like your press photos and your bio, and then work your way into more branded social media posts, live shows, and everything in between.

Although it can take a little bit of time and experimentation to get your brand just right, trust me when I say it’s a game-changer. Once you know who you are, the message you’re trying to convey, and the audience you’re after, everything else will become so much easier, because your brand will inform everything you do. So you won’t have to wonder what to post on social media anymore because you’ll clearly know if something is aligned to your brand. You won’t wonder which sponsorships to go after because you’ll know if they make sense for your brand and audience.

Take the time to do this right the first time and I promise, it’s going to make everything flow so much easier.

 Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.

Rebecca4 Steps To Nailing Your Band’s Identity

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  • “The Past Tells” - November 20, 2019 reply

    Just wondering if our Duo isn’t getting any gigs because we’re too old?
    We are a very experienced and talented duo. We have music degrees, have played hundreds of venues in our career. We are a male/female duo with male playing keyboard/synthesizer & female playing guitar. We are very well received at any venue we’ve played, but just can’t seem to find many gigs. We live in the North Georgia area.
    I don’t really know what needs to be done to attain more gigs. Was just wondering if there is not enough interest in our genre of music? We do cover songs from the 40’s up to 90’s in Retro Pop, Classic Rock, Motown, Classic Country, Jazz, Doo Wop, Irish, Big Band, Show-tunes, Standard Classics & requests.
    Maybe we need to change our name, or something. We just want to entertain more often, but just feel that maybe it’s our age!
    Any advice would be SO appreciated.

    Eric - November 21, 2019 reply

    I don’t have definite answers because I’m “struggling” with similar issues; however, perhaps narrowing your field of play so that you’re a more defined band? At least in your sales pitch define your elevator pitch to one or two genres of music, that doesn’t mean that you can’t play all the others throughout the gig. Also, maybe your fishing in the wrong pond. Are the venue’s y’all are trying to gig at the right fit for your band?

    In our band, we are in our 50s and, like y’all, play a wide variety of songs but we classify them as classic rock (though I cringe when I pitch us as that). I personally never want to be the old guy that should have hung it up years ago. I think that I can continue gigging as a cool old fart if I am will to adjust my music and image as the years pass. With all that said, we are looking to break out of the same old bars and expand our venues but getting a foot in the door is very very difficult. I’ve been told that there are only so many slots and too many bands, which may be true. But I struggle with how to make that first connection, especially in today’s environment. I used to hand out promo packs, but none has a CD player anymore or looks at print material (probably most of my hard work in creating the packs at my expense went into the trash can before I walked out the door). So I give them a card with our website address and phone number. I also try to make contact thru FaceBook but have had little success with that; who knows maybe I’m doing it wrong? *Please insert advice here* : )

    So lately, I’ve changed direction and we’re creating a packaged product to “sell” to try and book private gigs. We’ve shot new band photos and we’re aiming at local rotary clubs for example. If anyone has any advice on how to book private or corporate gigs, please offer some advice. Thanks, good luck and best wishes!

    Beth - November 21, 2019 reply

    Follow the above instructions by Angela, then put together a professional promo package with bio, song list, photos, testimonials, a high quality demo video/audio of your act, etc… and submit it to booking agencies. There are several in the Atlanta area. Variety cover bands as yourself are huge revenue for booking agencies for all kinds of events and a lot of these musicians are way over 50. Your experience, track record, and musical versatility are a plus.
    BTW- I am from the North Georgia area too. Who are you? I might know you!

  • Nate Dal Cais - November 20, 2019 reply

    Thanks, im definetly going to share this and contact you about your PR firm.

  • john molea - November 21, 2019 reply

    get a battery amp and play in high volume streets n with a tip jar ..ill bet you make 75 for 2 hours

  • Matt - November 24, 2019 reply

    Great article Angela! It really helped me create my bands mission statement.

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