You Are the Brand!
Everything is branded from our sunglasses, guitars, clothes, food and especially the cars we drive. You and I are also brands, but not in a tangible object way. I have personally been grappling with this for years, but in the past year I have managed to come to terms with a brand through the help of friends and work associates. As opposed to brands which are products that we buy, our personal band is defined as “A particular identity or image regarded as an asset.” Each of us have special hobbies, interests or unique knowledge that separates us from other people. In my case music, musical instruments and music gear define part of my brand as do artist interviews and marketing methods. Each of these areas feeds the other also. Music gear manufacturers like me because I’m a person of my word and if I tell them I’m going to cover a product through TV, Radio or Print then I will deliver and I’m legit, so there is no pay to play and I can’t be endorsed. Artists enjoying being interviewed by me because I do my research and homework, listener to their albums and go deeper than the vague interviews they typically get. Plus, most music entertainers enjoy talking about their favorite music gear and are seldom able to do that through mainstream media outlets. Marketing, which comprises a large part of my real day job in TV, is my biggest strength since I like to promote artists and music gear especially ones that are fun to work with. In the realm of music gear and artists interviews I am carving out a pretty nice niche that continues to grow as I do more interviews and write more articles. In determining your brand as a person, artist or band you must determine what you as a brand deliver to your audience? I, attempt to, deliver deeper meaningful music artist interviews and hands on reviews of music gear. My target audience is heavier male skew and ranging from adults 25-65 years of age. The Rock & Review news interviews are broader appeal and include more women, while the radio is higher male listenership and more gear geeks like myself, print is 50/50 male/female and readership skews a little older. For you as a brand, who is your main audience or fan base, what is their age, male or female, what do they find unique about your brand and why should they prefer your brand above others? Also, ask yourself are you doing things that don’t support your brand and are you wasting time and effort? Should you be more focused on what fans of your brand are seeking? How can you broaden your brand appeal to pull in more fans of Your Brand and expand the base? I like to go old school and write things out on a piece of paper. What I did was draw a crude caricature of myself in the middle of the circle, then I drew circles around me identifying all of the assets that I was doing and put connector lines to the center. If I had items on this paper that did not support the brand Eric in the middle then I marked them off the list. I then used this plan to build out my “Brand” website with a talented website designer, John Matthews. I bought a new website domain from GoDaddy and John worked with me to fine tune my Brand vision as displayed through the website and in my other social media outlets. And, just like yours, a brand is never done. I continue to fine tune and develop mine as you will need to do with yours. This whole brand thing takes a lot of soul searching, thinking and planning. I also recommend gathering input from outside associates you know and trust that may have a very different view of your brand than you do. How we perceive ourselves is one thing, but how outside people who may only have a passing knowledge of who or what we are may view our brand in a drastically different light. To be a brand that is relevant and matters we must support the brand we claim to be. My brand is simple – music artist interviews and music gear reviews. Yours may be much more complicated but it must be distilled down to reach the target audience and promote it appropriately. You can’t grow a brand until you establish the brand and then support it through actions. Whatever your brand is you must know it inside and out and be able to explain it in one sentence. I like to call this the “Elevator Talk.” If you are stuck on an elevator with a stranger that asks what is your brand can you explain it to them before you reach the next floor? If you can’t then the brand needs to be trimmed down, better defined and more targeted. Good luck on your brand and I’ll keep working on mine too!