photos: Reba McEntire courtesy BMLG; Carrie Underwood by Timothy Kuratek/CBS; Dolly Parton by Quantrell Colbert/NBC…
Most artist hate the thought of working on their entertainer’s brand. That’s because they just don’t get it. There are so many talented artists and bands. Trust me, in the 40 plus years that TSE has been booking entertainers in Texas and across the South and Southwest, we’ve seen countless up-and-coming performers with a wealth of talent.
All, but a few, never get beyond being a local or regional entertainer. That’s because they think it’s all about their music. They’re wrong. Booking agencies, labels and others in the music industry are looking for entertainers who have or have the makings for a good brand. Why? Because the industry is driven by the profit motive. If you can’t generate cold hard cash, they could care less about the quality of your music.
As Alabama’s song goes; “If You’e Gonna Play in Texas, You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band.” The same goes; “if you’re gonna play big gigs in Texas, you gotta have a brand for your band.”
It’s hard for many artists to come to grips with the fact; Today music is not enough. Let’s be realistic. Most artists don’t seem to care or pay attention to their brand. They think that because they are good song writers and play good music, it will get them a label and booking contract.
You need a brand as well. Of course, good music is the cornerstone of your brand. Without it, no amount of branding will help make you successful.
Why Entertainers Need a Brand
Let’s start with the basics. Why does an entertainer need a brand?
Like it or not you already have a brand. It what music fans think about your band based on what they see, hear or read about you. It’s how they regard you and your music. It’s what comes to mind when they hear or see your name.
The business world learned long ago to not let people form their own impression of their products in a vacuum. I wrote a post some years back about the importance of brand positioning. In it I stated the following:
Remember: Perception is Reality! What a customer perceives, whether accurate or not, is the truth in the mind of that potential customer. Consumers’ unconscious minds don’t stop working. Left to their own devices, consumers will create their own perceptions about your company, brand or product.
Your goal is to manage customer perceptions and create positive predispositions toward your brand.
You can read the entire post; Brand Positioning Creates Positive Predisposition, Drives Sales
I’m talking about your image as an artist. Do you really want to leave it to chance?
Texas fans are no different than music fans from other places. They will subconsciously form an opinion about you based on any number of factors. They include the quality of the impressions they see or hear, whether they be audio, photos, videos, etc. It could be the number of followers you have on social media or the quality of your website (assuming you have one). It could even be your physical appearance or how you dress.
Taking control of your own brand is key to a successful career.
Brand building is the deliberate and skillful application of effort to create a desired perception in someone else’s head.
What Goes into an Entertainer’s Brand?
One simple answer is everything. It’s the sum total of the graphics, photos, experiences, ideas and interactions with a solo artist or band. It’s the visual and social elements that go with your music.
It’s more than a logo, photo, bio, and demo tape. It’s your personality. It’s how you engage with fans at a gig or on social media. It’s sharing backstage moments and your own thoughts. It’s the total package.
It’s what makes you different from the thousands of other talented artists out there.
While building an entertainment brand sounds like a huge undertaking, there are some basic things to get you started. In future posts, we’ll discuss the elements of creating a good and lasting brand.
In the meantime, read our Artist FAQ to learn more about what this Texas-based booking agency looks for in an artist.
Bob Brecht, Ph.D.