Working with bands and musical groups is such a cool experience that I’ve been lucky enough to step into! 🙌 I love helping them discover their musical niches and voices within their genres. 🎶 I want to get better at giving branding advice 💁 to all of my clients, but I do find that the music industry has a unique set of it’s own challenges. In a quick online search, I was able to find blog posts such as this one and this one that offer a great starting point for bands in their branding. Their key take aways ☝️ are that musical groups need to dive further into the purpose of their bands. Obviously, starting with “why” is a great first step!
But I found that my bands had already done the first few steps and they were now ready to get more specific with their aesthetic 🌈 so that their unique fanbase could find them faster and throw themselves in with more enthusiasm! Your music needs to feel accessible to the right person, not every person. Your band is a business. And businesses have to imagine personas, specific consumer profiles with distinctive behaviors, preferences, and patterns, to effectively target their markets. This goes beyond knowing your market, or genre, and even needs to be more encompassing than the ‘why’ alone. Who inspires your fan Caleigh Thomas? What will make Orion Gnash add your T-shirt merch 👕 to their wardrobe? Why must Seeley McGrather come to every single one of your shows?
So, as is the norm with all of my blog posts, if I’m not able to find it when I’m searching online, I just make the post myself! 🧑💻 And since I’m obsessed with lists, it developed into the form of a really fun little branding worksheet with listed questions. 📝 I tell the bands that I work with that if they aren’t coming up with answers to these questions, then they aren’t owning those little aspects of their brand. If you’re thinking about these kinds of things beforehand, then your audience will have less questions about whether your music was made for them or not. Some of the questions may sound silly 🤪, like:
Your drummer has a super-power but has asked you not to tell anyone else. What is it?
Or strange 👽, like:
One of your fans just woke up from a coma they had been in for the past year and the doctor’s orders were to play your music through headphones for them to restore their health. They report that your music gave them the wildest coma dreams. Who had they been living as in those dreams?
But some of them really hit hard 🔨, like:
If you weren’t selling music, what would you be selling?
All of the questions are meant to help you ✨manifest✨ the right energy around your band to create specificity and deliberate in your branding choices. At the very least, these help to get the juices flowing so that you can create more space in your mind 🧠 for your band. Remember: Your brand should evoke feelings, images, and a certain affinity. Come up with answers fast and go with the gut. Don’t second guess yourself. Be you! Voila (in no particular order):
- What do you do best (in life and musically)?
- What is the most integrous or authentic thing about you?
- When do you like your music? What are those contexts?
- When do you hate your music? What are those contexts?
- Are you going commercial or are you an artist?
- Who are 3 artists you love?
- Who are 3 artists you sound like?
- What are 3 albums that you wish you wrote?
- Word bank dump! Go!
- Lookbook! Go!
- Pinterest mood board! Go!
- What do your friends love about you?
- If you weren’t selling music, what would you be selling?
- What’s that one thing you do that your mom hates that you do, but you like doing it because it ruffles her feathers and she secretly also likes it when you do that because it reminds her of your father?
- What are the people wearing while they are listening to your music live?
- What does the venue smell like where you’re playing shows?
- What do you disrupt?
- What rocks about music?
- Do you have jokes in your padder? Does anyone laugh with you or at you when you’re on stage?
- What sucks about music in general?
- What is the sex position of your music?
- Which country would most worship your music?
- What do your lyrics taste like coming out of your fans mouths?
- If you were a beer, what would you be?
- One of your fans just woke up from a coma they had been in for the past year and the doctor’s orders were to play your music through headphones for them to restore their health. They report that your music gave them the wildest coma dreams. Who had they been living as in those dreams?
- What is the eyeshadow color that your fans wear to your shows? Is it different from what they wear to work?
- What is your band’s cocktail?
- What is the snack that fans NEED to order at your live shows?
- You’re taking photos in a shoot, would they be in studio or on location?
- Your band gets teleported back in time to reinvent music. How do you teach music to Mozart?
- What’s a place on Earth that is significant to your bassist?
- People who show up to your gig are already chattering with each other. What is the main focus of conversation?
- Who are you?
- Okay, who are you really?
- How do your fans smile? With their mouths and eyes? With a flash of their left painted-on eyebrow?
- What is the one thing that makes all of your songs sound like each other other than the fact that you’re behind it all?
- What’s a musical technique that you’ve stolen from another artist?
- What did your fans just recently spend too much on?
- Your drummer has a super-power but has asked you not to tell anyone else. What is it?
- Your vocalist/front-person has invented a dance move and it’s been coined the ___________.
- What is the middle name of all of your fans?
- Why must you make music?
- Why must people listen?
- What substances do your fans use? What are they smoking?
- Do your fans have any accessibility needs (address this question respectfully acknowledging that perhaps you will want to advocate for these fans)?
- What are your fans experts in?
- What level of education do your fans have?
- What are your fans’ nerd kinks? (the common thread that runs through the media they consume)
- What is the backstory of your superfan?
- Are your fans the younger children, older children, middle children?
- Who/what is your mascot?
- What do your fans go to therapy for?
- What would cause you to develop a mental illness if you weren’t able to do it?
- Two of your fans, Seeley and Orion, are having an educated dispute over what your sub-genre exactly is. How does Seeley peg you and how does Orion classify you?
- What cartoons did your fans watch growing up?
- All of your fans easily embody this Mario Kart character: ___________
- You get to help the world celebrate a monumental event. Is it New Years? Where are you?
- Who is your muse?
- What is the collective story of all of your fans? Coming of age? Underdog? What is their narrative? What have they overcome?
- What have you overcome?
- What’s your catch phrase?
- What is your mantra?
- What is their mantra?
- What is the most important thing that you are going to do in your life?
- What is the most important thing that your fans are going to do in their lives?
- What socks are they wearing?
- What’s the one thing that can always lift your spirit?
- And theirs?
I hope you enjoy working through this list as much as I enjoyed making it! 😀 The list is constantly being changed and added to, so come back often to continue working through your aesthetic. 👍 Please share it with others and let me know what really helped you lock in your Band’s Brand Aesthetic! ♥️
Original document here 🔗.