Taking Your Music Brand To The Next Level With Brand Positioning

One of the most important processes for an artist, band, engineer, producer or record label to undertake is discovering their brand, which I’ve covered extensively in previous posts. Once that process is complete there’s another step however, and it may be the most critical one of all for success – brand positioning.

Brand positioning can be one or both of the following:

The Differences Between You And Your Competitors
What’s The First Thing That People Think About You?

Many times positioning comes in form of a slogan. We hear these from big global brands all the time but may not have realized their significance. Here are a few that you’re probably being exposed to almost every day:

BMWThe Ultimate Driving Machine
AvisWe try harder because we’re #2
WalmartAlways low prices
TargetExpect more. Pay less.
Home DepotYou can do it. We can help.
TideGets whites whiter

You might have noticed that many bands have adopted a positioning statement as well. I bet you’ve probably seen these before, mostly with cover bands:

Rated the #1 band in ….
The oldest band in ….
The #1 party band
The original ….

The Who even adopted a similar positioning slogan early in their career – Maximum R&B. This was important in England at the time since American R&B was the rage and provided street cred if that was the music that you played. Many bands played R&B at the time, but The Who made sure you made no mistake about what you were going to hear from them thanks to their positioning slogan.

Not many bands have a positioning statement right in their name but The Beach Boys and The Surfaris (“Wipeout”) come to mind. The name tells you exactly what kind of music to expect, although in the Beach Boys case they evolved somewhat over the years, but still the sound signifies Southern California even to this day.

There are some producers and engineers who have positioned themselves as masters of certain genres of music and that’s all they work on, while there are others who position themselves as being able to work in any genre so they don’t get pigeonholed so can continue to work when a genre goes from hot to cold.

Some examples of more modern positioning statements could be:

Authentic Rock and Roll
My place – Your sound (for an engineer or producer)
Country music only! (could be a venue or a band, but you know exactly what you’re getting)
Chewing gum stuck to your brain (My favorite statement regarding a song that you can’t get out of your head. Not used by an artist yet to my knowledge so steal away).

So how do you position your musical brand? There are 6 steps to get there.

1. What’s your current positioning? Do you have some positioning that’s already built-in that you might not have realized before? Longevity? A change from the norm? Your name? Notoriety?

2. What makes your brand unique? Is there something about your music or stage show that’s cutting-edge? Is it a throwback to another time or sound? Is it hot in another country? Has it been acclaimed anywhere?

3. Identify your competitors. Are there other bands or artists that people think you sound like? Maybe they play at the same venues? Do you compete for the same customers or listeners?

4. Find the differences between you and them. Is it the audience? The stage performances? The image?

5. Find an idea that you can own. Is there something that you can do that no one else does? Is there a different twist to something that you do or to your sound?

6. Describe your position in the fewest words possible. You’ve seen examples above of how it’s done. That doesn’t mean that it’s easy, but there’s power in a simple phrase.

Branding is a necessary for an artist or band if they want to become successful. Positioning is the last step in making it effective.

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