You may or may not have heard someone in an indie music crowd suggest that branding oneself is just a faster route to "selling out," but is this really true? Aren't we naturally our own brands, as we are all individuals with our own stories to tell? Can we turn this into a positive?
So, does branding need to have a constant dark cloud hanging over it? So many artists sign to major labels and then when the concept of their image is pushed further & further into question - this is the point when they can often begin to wonder about the situation they've gotten themselves into. However, some of us truly believe that we can flip the shadow side of the idea of the insincerity behind an image and make it something that's a benefit to the greater good.
Forbes provided a few pioignant suggestions that really hit home for us. Some of those included "know who you are and who you aren't, knowing your 'why', understanding how others perceive you and being sincere."
The sincerity is where the key lies. As long as you're not forcing something that you think is trendy or cutting edge just for the heck of it, then you're on the right path. We all naturally are individuals with preferences and opinions. You already have an image. The key is to be even more "you" than "you" already are. Embrace what makes you unique, if it feels right.
We also believe that it's important to welcome changes to your brand and your image with open arms. Despite what fans, friends and family may say, while you're going through creative and/or personal growing pains - stick it out if you feel that you're on a journey to your next chapter.
If you are reading this and still wondering how the concept of branding still seems to be ever so vague, then let's zero in. If you're not sure what your particular brand is, start to consider concepts from specific colors, zero-ing in on your sub-genre, recognizing what type of lifestyle choices you stand behind, to the mood of your art. These are aspects of your brand, this is what marks your lane.
At the end of the day, a clear-cut brand is something or someone who knows who they are and what they stand for. Even if you don't stand for anything, then that's your brand. There's no correct answer or strategy. Do what feels the most natural to you and let your specialties be spotlighted.