Zari is known as The Boss Lady and Bobi Wine is known as The Ghetto President. While both are talented in their respective lines of work, it’s their brands that have allowed them amass millions of fans worldwide and earn hundreds of millions of shillings via endorsements, apparel merchandise, concerts etcetera.
As an upcoming artiste, many think they shouldn’t be concerned about branding just as yet but hey, the earlier, the better. You need to create your own unique brand identity to help you build a long career. Fans don’t only buy or listen to your music or pay for your shows, they also buy your personality. Having a strong brand is very vital in building a loyal fan base that later turns into your ‘army’, ready to defend you at all costs. We have all seen how ‘Firebase Army’ defends Bobi Wine each and every time. Zari doesn’t normally fight her battles, she unleashes her loyal army and it crushes the adversary to pieces.
As an emerging artist, you need to create your own unique brand to have a long, successful career. Branding helps you create your persona and stand out from the other countless artists trying to get their music heard. You might not be sure on how to start this ‘so called’ Branding journey and that’s why I’m here; just start off with these 5 tips and you will surely be on your way to superstardom.
1. Identify your unique selling point.
Each and every person walking this earth has at least one unique quality that differentiates them from the others. Take time off and identify that uniqueness in you. As an artiste, only your fans should be able to experience that special quality with you. It could be your sound, your fashion style, your views on trending matters etc. Just think about what you want to stand for and share it with your fans.
2. Write a great bio.
I have been in this industry for a long time now but I have not seen any compelling bio of a Ugandan artiste. Branding simply means telling your story over and over again consistently. That way, your fans build a deeper connection with you and start relating to your personal story. Many kids in the ghetto have built a deeper connection with Bobi Wine and it’s been through his story BUT, that story is not in a bio but rather his music. For Bobi Wine, only those that understand the local language will develop that deep connection.
Your bio should give your fans a glimpse into where you’ve been and possibly where you are going. If you can’t write your own bio, get in touch with a PR firm to develop a bio for you that can be shared on all your channels.
3. Develop your image.
As part of human behavior, people tend to build their perceptions of you basing on your image. That is in how you dress, how you speak during interviews, how you engage with your fans and the general public etcetera. The brand image you adopt also helps in selling your music.
Create your own look to help you stand out from the crowd. You can consult with a stylist to help create a style that represents your brand. A publicist will also help in developing your image by crafting your brand story, identify the best channels to tell your story, and teach you how to handle yourself in front of the media.
4. Consistency is key!
Being consistent easily helps your fans to easily identify you, even when you’re in a huge crowd. The fans should always have the same experience whenever they interact with you, whether its business or not.
Develop a format of your stage performances and always present a consistent image every time you release new material plus make sure all your channels are speaking the same language.
5. Be original.
Without a doubt, there will always be peer pressure. We have seen many artistes who force themselves into a certain genre just because its the one trending at the moment. If I may, let me use the example of Rema Namakula and Winnie Nwagi.
Rema started out like any other girl on Cease & Sickle which was a hardcore style. She did this because Bebe Cool was in control of the project. As time went on, she discovered herself and focused on the melodious soul side, remained authentic and now the audience knows what she stands for. Winnie Nwagi on the other hand has failed to discover her originality. From Afro Pop, to Kidandali, Band music, Dancehall reggae, a Nigerian sound… she has made it hard for fans to easily identify her style association. Identify your artistic niche and stick to that, it will take you far.
This is my last piece for this year. I look forward to more interaction with you in January and as thus wish you a safe and festive entry into the New Year and pray you have a fruitful 2019. Like always, let me get that feedback in the comment section below. See you then.