Marketing Tips for Caribbean Musicians from the Best- #2 BRANDING
This is an ongoing series on marketing tips that most dominant Caribbean musical brands use to distinguish themselves in the market.
Consistent and Recognizable Imagery and Messaging
It sounds so simple, but, it’s amazing how many Caribbean artistes dismiss the value of associating a consistent image and tagline with their brand.
The ones who get it, however, are definitely profiting from it in the form of brand recognition and product diversification. Nike does it, Coca Cola does it, all the globally recognizable brands do it-they have a consistent logo and tag-line that introduce their presence long before they do or say anything. In the marketing profession, it’s sometimes referred to as visual and audio cues to help your target audience recognize and connect with your brand. A prominent logo and consistent tag-line are powerful tools in building a brand.
So what is a brand anyway? In any context, a “brand” is what your audience thinks of when he or she hears your brand name. It’s everything the public thinks it knows about your name brand offering—both factual, and emotional. Your brand name exists objectively; people can see it. It’s fixed. But your brand exists only in someone’s mind.*
The power of branding is demonstrated when soca lovers around the globe here a woman’s sexy voice saying, ‘The most Versatile DJ in the World.’ Immediately antennae’s rise up, anticipating a mix from DJ Private Ryan, one of the strongest DJ brands to take Caribbean music internationally. Private Ryan has mastered the art of successfully building a strongly recognized name that he has been able to diversify into branded Carnival events across the Caribbean and U.S.. The events are always full to capacity and boast a healthy waiting list. The income he makes from this event is in addition to that made from gigs that take him all over the world. A strong contributor to the brand building was that haunting tag-line that is known by anyone who has heard his mixes.
Another Caribbean artiste whose brand has successfully led to strong recognition and diversification is none other than that of Bob Marley, arguably one of the most recognized Caribbean musical brands the world over. Bob Marley has almost become synonymous with reggae music. And though some of us who know the complex history of the genre, understand there were many other founding contributors to the genre, to most of the world, Marley=Reggae. The Marley family has taken complete ownership of their name and the image of the late great Bob Marley and diversified the brand to include not only music but also branded clothes, drinks, concerts, event spots and the list goes on.
Think about it…what do you think of when you hear the name Capleton? For me I immediately conjure
up images of fire and energetic jumping on a stage-hyping up a crowd. How about Bunji Garlin? That little Viking image starts to swim in my brain along with anticipation of a lyrical flow that keeps me hanging on to every word eagerly waiting for more. Bunji Garlin =The Viking of Soca, first stop, the end.
So how do they do this successfully? Whenever you see or hear the name, then you see or hear the branding. No exceptions. It can be an image, a hashtag, a tagline or all. They are always there,like an annoying little sibling. Across every social media channel, distribution channel, demo, e-blast, album cover- they are there. Branding efforts are consistent, focused and unwavering. It is how musicians can own a space in listeners minds despite the many distractions out there. Successful musicians/artistes choose a differentiator that they want to own completely and then make sure that they keep reminding their audience why they should own it, at any chance they get. After a while even casual listeners cannot help but register the cues introducing the brand. And with enough persistence casual listeners can become loyal fans. At the end of the day, for Caribbean artiste to reap tangible profits from their music, it will serve them well to build a strong brand to accompany their beautiful music. Branding is POWERFUL!
Check out our First Tip: Create an Experience, not Just Music
Stay tuned for our third Marketing Tip …….
Disclaimer: This is by no means an exhaustive list of Caribbean music acts, but, a sampling from the author’s personal experiences.
SOUND OFF: What are YOUR top picks for Caribbean artistes with strong brands?
MISSION: To elevate the brand of Caribbean culture in the fields of MUSIC, BUSINESS and the ARTS by celebrating the work of cultural ambassadors while advocating for upcoming Caribbean talent1.