Words by Kavina.
For the same reason that a brand is essential to a musician, building a live music brand helps your setting stand out and brings in loyal customers. Think about iconic live music venues like Ministry of Sound or Whiskey-A-Go-Go, which have become institutions for dance music and rock; they have also become brands which boast the best in live music. While we are not saying you should take over the world by building the correct music brand, you can at least take over the neighbourhood.
So, here are some key things to consider when creating your live music brand.
1. Find or cultivate your unique character. Cocktails with a serving of ice-cool hip-hop soundtracks?
It’s time to do a bit of soul-searching and figure out what your music venue stands for and how this makes you different from other live settings. The sea of live music sites out there is vast, and you’re a ship in the night, hoping to entice in punters with what you have on offer.
Your brand is vital, so, bring a unique concept to life. Try pairing it with something that your venue is known for, so the music complements your image. For example, if you’re a local wine bar, you could offer a paired world wine and jazz event to accompany an exclusive set wine list for the week. The world is your oyster, or your fried chicken and Freddie Mercury covers. Too far?
If you’re unsure about which direction to go in, try supporting local Aussie talent. By giving up and coming artists a go it could give you a reputation as a hotspot for new bands and set the trend in local music.
Also, like song lyrics, if your event name sounds catchy, customers remember it when considering what to do next Friday - Freddie and fried chicken night - See what I did there!
2. Create an Identity for your brand and a framework around your offering
Any good brand needs a consistent visual identity or system to build recognition and help customers understand who you are and what you offer. The same goes for building a live music brand. It needs an idea, whether this is a theme or consistent set of offerings and a set of principles to guide you. When creating a framework, consider your mission statement and why you are offering this kind of live music. Who does it appeal to, and why should they be interested? Think about the words and images that bring your mission statement to life. Creating a framework for the brand helps you to keep a clear idea of what you offer, so you can be consistent with your brand while keeping it fresh. It means you don't confuse your customer base or yourself as you try to build reliability and brand loyalty.
3. Book artists that align with the brand you’re trying to create
The musicians you choose to perform at your venue are a direct representation of your brand and as such need to be congruent with what you’re portraying, just like Nas in that one song about representing hip-hop. It’s essential to think about the genre artists play and how they present themselves. Music is an element which cements your image in consumers' minds, and it is what they come to expect when they enter your doors. Picking the right genre can represent a chill or luxe status. Alternatively, it can highlight your niche hipster street cred for your Hawaiian/Japanese fusion tiki bar, by having DJs play alternative genres like surf rock and tropical disco. I’m really into that idea!
4. Build and engage with your audience
Once you know which direction you want your live music brand to go in, you need to start building an audience. So, it’s time to figure out who you are trying to attract. Learn about what their interests are, and the best ways to connect with them. A handy and direct way to keep customers in the loop is by using tools like email marketing to share updates on forthcoming events. Making your customers the first point of contact shows a level of engagement on your part by actively reaching out. Creating a community of trust and fan engagement makes customers feel they are part of the experience, and in turn, they become your most loyal advocates. Open social media channels like Instagram or Facebook allow fan interaction with scheduled live music events and the opportunity for them to ‘share’ comments and reviews. All feedback is good, especially when you actively respond to it and acknowledge a positive comment by letting someone know how grateful you are, or directly address a query.
Once you figure out ways to engage with your audience, you are ready to:
5. Promote your event/brand like it’s going out of style!
Get the word out and create a buzz around the event. Use bright fliers to capture people's attention in your venue and get them talking about that intimate courtyard gig next Tuesday. (What? Where?)
Once again, social media comes to the rescue. Besides its customer reach, it can build a story around your music brand by adding a visual element to accompany your sound. Use it to entice customers by showcasing songs, photos and artists affiliated with your brand and cement live music into your image. Live clips and pictures of gigs capture exciting moments and give people a taste of the fun times ahead and act as instant advertisements.
6. Consistency is key
Successful live music brands aren’t built overnight. Like Ministry of Sound and Whiskey-A-Go-Go, these things take time and consistency. Sticking around is the only way to build brand loyalty from your followers. By offering a weekly or monthly event, you give your music brand an avenue to build momentum. You don't want to keep people guessing about the next gig because by that time interest is lost, and they have moved on to something else. Also, the only way to become amazing at anything is to do it consistently, which is how many great live music venues become established.
7. However, keep it fresh
Remember, although you need a consistent framework for your live music brand, you need to keep things appealing by varying the artists you book and mixing things up. Keeping things interesting helps build anticipation and leave customers curious about what’s next. The world is turning, and times keep changing, so you must find new ways to offer something fresh while remembering to make sure it still fits within your brand framework.
So, get out there and make your mark!
If you need advice on finding the right live music artist for your brand, Muso App can help. We specialise in connecting hospitality venues with local up and coming musicians in a no-fuss way, by making it our business to handle the whole booking process from start to finish. We’re also happy to assist with your music direction along the way!