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Brand is the New B Word
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2010-10-07

 

We talk about brands and branding a lot here at Section 101. It is so important to us because part of our methodology is to help an artist define their brand and, when they're a more established artist, stick to it. How many times have you asked for a Kleenex rather than a tissue? That's good branding. Or ordered a Coke in a restaurant even though they may serve Pepsi or a generic brand. That's more good branding. Some other branding maneuvers may not be as expected. Were you surprised when Radiohead put a song on the Twilight soundtrack? It certainly didn't go with their 'branding' to be part of the teen vampire franchise, but time will tell if it was smart for the long term to do something that wasn't predictable.

As of late, we've been lucky enough to work with singer/songwriter Marc Cohn. Section 101 helped him re-launch his site, http://www.marccohn.net/, just in time for the release of his new album, LISTENING BOOTH: 1970. As you may know, Marc isn't a new artist; he won a Grammy in 1992 and had an enormous hit with the song "Walking in Memphis" and has carried on releasing critically acclaimed records ever since. His latest release features songs that came out in the year 1970. A clever idea, sure, and his choices play right in to his strengths; Marc sings the heck out of every song on his album. Would there be room for this type of record among Justin Bieber, Kesha and the Katy Perry? 

The answer was a loud "yes." Marc used traditional media in conjunction with the Internet to get the word out about his record. And guess what? It worked. Since Marc stayed true to who he is (his brand), both his old fans, who were waiting for the album, plus the new ones he made via marketing, flocked to the release, making it a top seller and another well-reviewed piece for him. Marc is proof that (going with the assumption that your music is great) by using the right strategy for your brand and your genre, you will have success.

For Marc that meant an appearance on "Good Morning America," reviews in PEOPLE, product placement at Starbucks, and a website that caters to people who enjoy music like Marc's, who is a genuine storyteller that connects with his audience via his music, his blogs and his live performances. 

You'd hardly see Marc present a Vibe Award because that's not where his audience lives. By honoring his brand, Marc Cohn is a revered musical artist for close to two decades. Not bad!

By knowing your audience, the one you cultivated after identifying your brand, and being true to them, it is easy to know what will work and what won't. You don't have to be a well-known artist like Marc Cohn to already establish your band's brand - in fact, if you read our last blog, you've probably already learned a thing or two about branding. Keep reading, there's more to come!

 

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