The brutal truth needs to be told and I have taken the onerous responsibility of telling it.
Here it goes: many Nigerian artists don’t take their craft seriously enough. And I say this in the least critical manner ever. When I say Nigerian artists don’t take their craft seriously, I mean a lot of them refuse to approach music (as a career) as what it is: a business. Going into the details, one of the aspects in which many of these acts lack is branding.
Branding. Whew, that word has been terribly used till a point where it hardly carries any impact. People just throw the word around these days without showing (a little) concern about what it actually means. The importance of branding cannot be overemphasized. Generally, in the world of business, branding plays a major role in the success of organizations. If a company has solid branding, it can easily scale through even if there are flaws surrounding its existence. I’m itching to cite a Nigerian company (in the entertainment industry) that’s a typical example but I’m not prepared to go down that lane.
Note: Don’t go and put all your efforts on branding while neglecting other parts and now say Haywenzo is the one that misled you.
Just like companies and businesses, artists (public figures, basically) require branding if they hope to stand any chance in the jungle that’s the Nigerian music industry. I suspect that it might be a tad difficult to define what branding is as regards a musician. Sit back while I work my magic. I’ll explain it as simple as I can.
But, firstly Shifu Haywenzo, what is branding?
According to Brandingmag, “Branding is a marketing practice in which a company creates a name, symbol or design that is easily identifiable as belonging to the company. This helps to identify a product and distinguish it from other products and services.”
I like this definition of branding in particular, because it states that branding is a marketing practice. Branding is like the subtlest form of marketing. It’s the most noticeable thing for your audience and potential customers. Branding is what sets you apart from your competitors and makes you distinct. There are many parts to branding which includes your logo, customer service, personality, promotional merchandise, and more.
Okay. Now let’s define branding in terms of music as a career. Branding is the identity that a musician creates for himself/herself. It’s the visual representation of the musician’s personality and ideas. Your brand identity as a musician must be strong enough to attract new fans and give your already existing fans a reason to smile and brag to other music lovers. As a brand, you should connect to your fans on an emotional level and unconsciously appeal to their psyche.
It would serve you well as a Nigerian artist to be particular about your image. Starting from your stage name, to your artworks, to outfit and photo shoot, to the merchandise you’ll employ in promoting your brand as a musician, your branding must be impeccable. Surely, it doesn’t come easy for many acts and that’s where the artist manager or A&R comes in. Usually, they are more proficient in that aspect than the musician except he or she — the artist — is a creative genius who profoundly understands the rudiment of branding.
A good example to cite in terms of branding is Mavin’s superstar, Rema. His branding as an artist so far has been nothing short of remarkable. His appearance speaks volumes and the album art(s) for his projects have been incredible. Rema is at a position where his brand continually resonates with his (potential and existing) fans and they would rather give up their lives than not hop on his wave.
(Surely there are other examples to mention. Pardon me as I cannot think of any other musician right now).
The internet is rife with articles and resources on how to properly brand yourself as an artist. Instead of spending all that time thirsting in girls’ dms or pointlessly scrolling through comments on the posts on Instablog9ja, venture into the world of Google and emancipate yourself from ignorance. After all, your career heavily depends on it.
Words By: Haywenzo