Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Emerging Artists = Branded Endeavor
Cheryl Hughey, of Cheryl Hughey productions, commented on an article about market cannibalization recently; a piece about Coke and Pepsi fighting it out over the 70's and 80's, Coke eventually taking drastic measures and changing their formula in an all-eggs-in-the-basket dump, yielding horrible results in a marketing blunder registered in the history books.
Hughey, one of our town’s local gurus in music booking and promotion, pointed out that this type of market cannibalization can also be applied to the business of music marketing and bookings. “Launching too many products or too many show variations in one market can eat into your profit margin”.
As a branding guy, I think it is necessary to point out how necessary it is to have a very significant “story telling” behind the artist, particularly if it is of a blues and/or roots genre. And lets face it, if the artist stays in one place too long, moves around in the same circles, the same town, selling the same product, the same songs, the same CD’s and the same merchandise, (don’t forget about a DVD)…you can bet you will not be touching new folks. That said, without the above; a comprehensive branding identity and a collective effort to broadcast it, you will meet fewer people, fewer social media broadcasts to be leveraged, and fewer folks to join your tribe to get you booked, to get you paid from new venues.
Branding has never been as important as it is now for artists and the sale of artistic intellectual property. And the combination of the story telling, the marketing, the merchandise and collective ability to broadcast that imagery is what makes the difference--this and the fact that you will eventually have to hit the road if you want to be successful.
When I look at bands like Rockin Jake, Alvin Jett, Jeremiah Johnson, I see the distinction like everyone else; what sets them a part from their contemporaries. Let’s face it, to be in the game, the music has to be kickass and the showmanship has to be spot on, this in addition to showing up on time and provide discipline towards the venues standard of conduct/vibe. These guys all have that. As a result the consumer recognizes (but may not know they recognize) that they want more! And, they are willing to consume it in a variety of ways and pay for it. Blogs, websites, facebook, twitter, showing up at Jams, after show Meet & Greets, DVD’s depicting real life and the personification of the artist(s), this is what will stimulate brand emergence. More music, more influence, more video, more access to the culture of the music and where it comes from, more. Did I say that you have to hit the road?
The story telling is what will engage the listener beyond the music and it will undoubtedly create loyalty. Inspiring the consumer to participate in the social media broadcast is critical, getting them to opt in and get involved with the culture that you have created based on your story telling. You are a reality show, un-contrived, authentic and captured in a variety of mediums, branded. For sustainability, repeat the whole process about ever 7 months.