Personal branding is one of the most important factors that influence successful careers within the music industry these days.
As the new singing talent show ‘The Voice’ has shown, looks matter. They have shown with their unique style that other popular talent shows are often biased and will regularly see the better singers/artists go out in earlier rounds simply because they don’t have the stereotypical ‘looks’ of today’s modern musicians.
Obviously there are exceptions to the rule as Michelle McManus – and more recently Susan Boyle – have shown that in order to avoid being disadvantaged by their looks, they need to be at the other end of the spectrum.
Today’s modern acts tend to be either Susan Boyle-esque or Justin Beiber-esque. But what do you do if you aren’t blessed with natural good/bad looks? The average Joe needs to stand out from the crowd in this competitive industry and the best way to do this is by making the most of your personal branding and stand out from the rest in your own unique way.
Take Jessie J for example… average looking I’m sure we’ll all agree. However, she stands out from the crowd and has turned herself into a star by using personal branding techniques in the form of unique looks to stand out from the norm with her spiky lipstick and pale skin underneath jet black, fringed hair. Not to mention her half-nakedness!
Now, we’re not saying that you need to go all Gothic in order to succeed – unless you wanted to of course – but we’re merely saying that you need to be fresh and unique from the word ‘go’.
This doesn’t necessarily need to be in the form of looks; there are lots of other ways to promote your personal brand i.e. catchphrases and slogans etc. (think Jason Derulo) however in this post we’re solely focussing on the image of the artist.
A brand image is the vision you portray of yourself that you want others to see, and the first step in the creation of vision is through your looks.
There are a number of ways to change the stale image you currently have and some are simpler than others. Here we explain the material things you can change with your image in order to reinvent the look and feel you want to give off in order to offer a fresh, unique style that’s likely to get you noticed.
Take care of these few things and you’ll be well on your way to reinventing your image:
Create an Alias
Changing your name is the easiest way to change the way you look. Granted, it isn’t a physical look, your name is the first thing your fans will see when they look at flyers. It is the first thing they type into the search engines in order to find your music and it is the first words they say to their friends when they’re spreading the love so it’s essential to choose a great band name.
Having a name that can express your image with words is an added way in which to wow your followers. Names that provoke thought like Duran Duran – taken from the cult film Barbarella in which the villain was named Dr. Durand-Durand.
Or maybe names with meanings that can show the brand image in what the word means. One such name could be the band Evanescence. They have a dark, mysterious brand image and is evident in their name: The word “evanescence” means “a disappearance or dissipation, like vapor.”
Change Your Wardrobe
One of the most powerful ways to change your appearance is via the wardrobe. You need to present yourself in the image you want your fans to see. As well as being heard, the music industry is all about fashion and styling. If you’re lazy in your approach to your image, your branding will seem sloppy, however if you’re on the ball in this department, your fans will see the smart appearance expected of a top musician/artist and appreciate the effort.
Changing the way you look can often be expensive, especially to those who want to be viewed as a fashion guru. Their wardrobes need to be regularly maintained and updated to the newest trends and the impression you get from these types of artists is that they hate being caught wearing the same thing twice. It’s almost as bad as wearing nothing at all to some!
Styling can, and often is, a full time job. So, if you’re serious about your image and want to make a great impression without drawing your attention away from your music, it is often advised to hire a stylist who can take care of your wardrobe while you concentrate on doing the thing you’re best at… creating your music!
Stylists will take care of everything from clothing to accessories and will have you looking cool in scarves, glasses, hats, shoes, bags and the latest gadgets as well as the usual apparel. If it’s bling you’re going for, your stylist will have it covered or if it’s a shy/retired look that you’re after then your stylist will bring it so you won’t have to worry about having anything to wear again!
Change Your Appearance
The easiest way to change your appearance is to change the way you look physically. This can often be very difficult for artists who have been around for a while and are looking to refresh their image. It’s easiest for new artists as they have the freedom to create an image of whatever they want. There are no boundaries with this and it often pays to be creative.
A hair cut or professional hair styling is the first thing you should consider. It’s surprising how rejuvenating it can be for artists to drop the usual, boring look and step out with the latest hair trend but with their own individual twist! It can improve confidence immediately and often shows in the work-rate and dedication of the individual following their new trim.
Even if you’re not looking to totally reinvent yourself, a good trim/style from a pro twinned with a new look from a clothes stylist can often provide the mental boost needed to conquer such a competitive industry.
Also, as the physical body is all the rage these days, it’s advisable to look after yourself by eating well and keeping yourself fit at the gym or through exercise.
A healthy individual can be spotted a mile away; especially if they’re standing next to a load of slobs! Make sure you’re not the slob that’s stood next to the guy that’s oozing swagger!
If All Else Fails, Grab a Gimmick!
In order to be unique, artists are coming up with newer more innovative ways to stand out from the crowd. Fans favourites such as Deadmau5 and T.E.E.D. are renowned for their over-sized mouse head and dinosaur suit respectively. They are essentially DJ’s (like hundreds of thousands of others), however they went the extra mile and created a gimmick in the form of a costume which made them unique.
Gimmicks make people stop and listen. For some reason a guy DJing in a dinosaur suit is way cooler than just a guy DJing. It’s the fickle mind of human beings these days but the good thing is, this will never change.
In order to stand out from the crowd, you need to offer something that your competitors don’t. Whether this is a certain unique style or costume or whether you have crafted yourself a brand new genre of music that nobody has ever heard, there will always be a place within the industry for new, fresh and unique characters.
Prove yourself as one of these characters by sorting out your personal branding!
Reach for the stars.
Founder and Editor in Chief of Cruzine.com. Cruziner is also a marketer, writer, programmer, and active strength investor in global cultural change.