In 2021, artists and teams have more power than ever to increase the visibility of their brand along with the value it holds in the music marketplace.
E-commerce titan Shopify defines brand equity as a “term that describes a brand’s value. That value is determined by consumer perception of and experiences with the brand. If people think highly of a brand, it has positive brand equity.”
A team that rethinks their artist’s strategy through the lens of “how to build brand equity” can enhance an artist’s presence in the marketplace. From this process comes an increase in the compatibility and attachment consumers feel with a brand. As we mentioned in our Tyler, the Creator write-up, consumer buy-in to an artist’s brand (in other words, creating superfans) is the most lucrative KPI for an artist and perhaps the most important point of leverage an artist can aggregate.
We developed a brand equity framework for artists and teams to follow to raise their value and optimize for direct-to-consumer revenue streams that should relieve the pressures of taking lopsided deals for quick money. We’ll use Aminé to illustrate brand equity’s direct tie-in to the music industry.
Note: This is a Stem-produced analysis and not an official report.
BRAND AWARENESS: Be Memorable
In this brand equity framework, the first step is to expand the awareness around your brand. But, this does not simply mean getting in front of more eyes. This means achieving a level of memorability with your messaging that sticks in the mind of each pair of eyes that you’re able to get in front of beyond initial exposure. It’s no different from the quality-over-quantity mantra. Your goal is not to focus on maximizing impressions as much as it is to maximize click-throughs.
If you’re an artist or team member reading this piece, chances are that you produce great promotional assets (album covers, tracklist designers, trailers, and story assets) around a launch without giving it much thought. But what makes an artist’s presence truly memorable is the messaging behind the art alongside various multimedia sprinkled in between promotional assets.
Aminé’s releases present a blueprint on how to execute such a holistic approach. In the weeks leading up to his sophomore album, Limbo, he fulfilled the necessary quota of traditional assets promoting his then-upcoming album on Instagram. But in between the promotional uploads are a few selfies and fit pics. This added a personal dimension to the rollout in an environment where creating “memorable” release campaigns sometimes seems impossible.
Below are some examples of access points that artists can utilize to round out a memorable presence, and how Aminé has handled those access points in the past:
- Album-adjacent post slideshows
- Making press and interviews your own
- Creative emoji usage
- Real-life mini-vlogs
- Website concept
BRAND LOYALTY: Be Easily Identifiable
Creating memorable moments with digital touchpoints that capture attention leads to the next stage of the brand equity-building process for artists: immediate identifiability.
Before fans can become genuinely loyal to a brand, though, they need to be exposed repeatedly to various manifestations of your creative ideas, such as albums, short films, photos, music videos, and other multimedia.
The best formula for establishing an easily identifiable brand is, very simply, remaining authentic. Though potentially a cliche sentiment, authenticity is the key element to developing a product with an original voice that can stand alone in the marketplace. In the context of brand equity, this originality allows you to remain true to your ethos as a creative in all of your messaging.
Authenticity and originality are difficult to codify, but the motifs Aminé built his brand off of, from his first single “Caroline” to his sophomore album Limbo, provide prime examples of originality, and how it bred iconic, memorable moments in his career.
BRAND EXPERIENCE: Enhance Your Quality
Aminé’s smash hit “Caroline” and its accompanying video catapulted him into stardom. His ensuing single “Spice Girl,” and eventually his debut Good For You, carved out a distinct artistic voice that consistently generated attention and conversation amongst consumers.
By the time he began launching the rollout campaign for Limbo, Aminé’s cohesive brand presence granted the music marketplace with an understanding of what to expect from him artistically – a well-rounded lyricist who could deliver songs with jaunty wordplay alongside interviews touching social injustice.
While his “Caroline” days incorporated bananas in various promotional assets, the creative attack of the Limbo era showcased an intense increase in album-branded merch plugs. There was also a hint of panaché around the materials Aminé put out in the lead-up to the album. The promotional elements around Limbo had elevated since his debut. The graduation was evidenced in his approach to his late-night television appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, where he opted to perform cuts “Woodlawn” and “Burden” in a hot air balloon.
Premium-priced Limbo merchandise still lives on his clubbanana.com website. Though we don’t have access to data or figures that trace how the growth in Aminé’s brand equity impacted sales over the years, fans’ comments and tweets surrounding Limbo’s assets showed that their perception of Aminé’s brand and product had reached a new echelon.
Download the full playbook to Applying Brand Equity to the Music Industry below!