In a scene where everyone is a performer and we are all going for the few slots on bills across the country, you need to stand out! So you’ve done your research, found a niche that is different to what a lot of others are doing, now you need to brand yourself to sell yourself, the more you stand out the more memorable you are. Here’s our advice on how to brand yourself and your acts to get you noticed…
How do you stand out? And get noticed?
Our simple advice, have a different take on what is already available and stick to it. Get yourself known for specialising in this particular thing. Go with your gut instincts and don’t be afraid to be a bit quirky with your marketing or brand image.
Basics – a great name
Whether a solo performer, group or if you run a night, you need a name that will sell what you do and stand out from what everyone else is doing.
A great name:
- Sells what you do
- Needs to look okay on all forms of business literature and in all public forums (a big no are very crude names, swearing, or names that would embarrass the old or young – memorable for the wrong reasons and mean your brand cannot be placed in public forums)
- Is short, snappy and to the point
Test your name.
Live with it and like it.
Ensure your name is unique
Doubling up on an already established brand name is a real no no. A name is a brand, and an already established performer will have cultivated that for themselves and you stepping in with the same name (or something very similar) will understandably upset the established name, not to mention land you in a whole heap of legal trouble. Not only this, but it would get very confusing to the audience and act bookers.
I hate my name, can I ever change it?
Of course you can, but beware! It’s not a good idea to change it all the time as this confuses audiences and promoters, confuses what you do and looks unprofessional. It looks like you can’t make up your mind about what it is you do.
No, we don’t mean you have to get a hot iron and literally burn your name into your flesh, but metaphorically branding is burning your name into audience, promoters and producer’s minds.
Take a look at some already well-known products – anything you like (if you need help, try looking up Hendricks Gin, Vivienne Of Holloway clothes, Sailor Jerry rum…) and see how they promote themselves across the board. See what kind of images their name conjures up. They have created a brand.
Your name is your brand, so setting up social media accounts (facebook, twitter, intsagram, a blog and website) with the same kind of message will help ‘market’ your brand. Also, carry this through to your marketing, press releases, adverts, leaflets, posters, stationary and business cards – if you’ve used a certain font to write your name, use it like a logo across all outlets.
If you feel a logo is needed, by all means create one! This could be as simple as writing your name in a certain font or a logo. But again, beware of using something that is similar to any other performer, to avoid confusion and association.
We always would say stay away from stock or copyright free images for the simple reason that, if you want your brand to stand out, using images for logos, etc, that everyone else can use will just make you blend in with the crowd. Also, you could be associated with another performer or someone else’s product or service and if theirs is of lesser quality it could reflect badly on you. There are plenty of local designers who can design you something original that matches your performance name and personality, that will make you stand out from the crowd and get you noticed, and they can do it quite cheaply. This might be the difference you need!
3 Cs of Branding:
Clarity, Consistency and Constancy
- Be clear what you are selling, and send out the same message, don’t be tempted to dilute your act list with the next best fad, have a style that is unique to you and stick to it. Believe in what you do and you will create a niche for it.
- Must be clear what your logo says – it’s no good having a name no one can read or people feel embarrassed to say. Makki, a US designer, famous for doing band posters and albums gave advice – if you can see the band name (your brand name) from the back wall you have done your job. Branding needs to be sharp and readable
- Be clear who to contact / where producers should go to book you
- Use the same branding on everything.
- Be consistent in your quality of service
- Be consistent in what you are offering producers and show bookers
- Be consistent in your ‘message’ and do not be tempted to change this message every five minutes.
- Maintain a constant presence. Don’t think all your branding and marketing is only done in the first weeks of trading. You need to keep on it. All the time.
- Be aware of the fine line balance annoying with constant plugging – especially on the social media groups of others!!
The world is social media and reality show obsessed. People don’t want to see a faceless performer anymore, they want to know you, and who is behind the act. More performers succeed when the public can meet who is behind the feathers and sequins – people are nosey! But also keep yourself safe (very important!). Don’t give out too many personal details or put yourself in vulnerable positions (photos on your facebook page of you in front of your house, with the street name in the background / personal details all over the internet that could lead to people turning up at your work or home – be careful!)
An easy ways to do this, in a controlled way is:
- Create a blog. Be clear that this is your performer profile, but share things about yourself on it occasionally – people love seeing your snaps or places you’ve been, they love it if they can see the tale of your inspiration, research or hunt for fabrics at a flea market! Get creative with your snaps and blog posts!
- Have an ‘about me’ page on your website. Again, customers love to see who is behind what the person on stage!
Finally – dos and don’ts
- Be bold. Don’t be afraid to take chances! Some of the best business ideas come from chances.
- Learn from your mistakes. Making mistakes is the best learning experience as long as you do learn from them!
- Get some good quality photos of your acts in action. Photos capture the promoter’s imagination more than anything else. Rubbish photos say unprofessional in an instant. (We’ve written a whole post on how photos sell an act – just use the search tab to find it)
- Believe in what you do and be prepared to dedicate a lot of time to getting the word out there. Selling yourself as an act is bloody hard work, much harder than working from 9-5. There will be ‘out of hours’, there will be plenty of pushing, but you have a passion for what you do and the rewards of making money from your passion far out-number the late nights and endless work to get yourself booked!
- Listen to bad advice – ensure the person who advises you knows their onions
- Keep changing your image, name and the style of act
- Give up!
- Forget to update Social media, blogs and websites. The web is a big world, constantly changing and instant, if you are not updating your content, your content could be forgotten
- Misrepresent or misuse your name! Make sure if you are tying in with other performers, or products, that their image is right for yours and don’t just tie in with them because they’ve promised “exposure”. And make sure no one else misuses it also, by this, we mean uses your name on posters to sell their night or their own products. Be very careful who you give permissions to (get it written down, an email will count as a legal statement) and if someone is using your ‘brand’ without permission tell them to stop!
- Don’t express extreme views on social media! Be very careful on social media that the views you express don’t put your ‘brand’ into jeopardy. Remember, you represent your name and having a slanging match with someone on facebook will turn off promoters and audience members like that!
- Be afraid of Youtube – London Dungeon do some great 5 min vids to promote new shows in a quirky way, as do a lot of other companies so have a look what everyone else is doing to raise brand awareness! A quirky video of you as a performer is great… And if you have a great video of your act, put it on there (a teaser for audiences, and a secret link which you can give promoters of the whole act).