Branding and effective Music Ministry -TOSINGER (Excerpts from W4)

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Hello Worshipers . I am glad to share with you today . I hope these tips on branding will make you an effective musician and minister. A ‘Brand’ is not just a corporate marketing term; and it is not just about logos and song artworks. It entails much more, the artist and their artistry, the worshiper and their act of worship, the container and the content. It is also how your audiences sees you, your consistency and interconnection of the following elements across board.
 All these elements work together as an interconnected branding unit: Name, • Visual Representation/Identity , • Message/Mission Statement , • Narrative , • Values.
• Name – The name is the central brand component, should be clear, unique and Google-able and surely not similar to another persons’ own. Be creative and ask God for wisdom for a befitting brand name that matches your message and values. 

• Visual Representation/Identity – This is a very important brand component and the one most people are familiar with. The visual representation will be identified through a number of elements: your style and presentation/appearance, your logo (if any); website look, cd covers; song artwork, official posters; official music videos; official photographs circulated for marketing purposes; costuming and makeup. On Personal styling /Image – Make your look match your sound. Clothing brands have a style, a favored cut, a personality. Consider the cuts you wear, colors and color scheme connotations , accessories, makeup, hairstyle and make sure they match your message.
Get a professionally done ALBUM COVER ART: This cannot be stressed enough. Album cover art is the container of your content. It adds panache to your work. A very well designed album art breeds prestige and class and draws people to want to hear your music. Get professional designers, be creative, not all worship music song artwork need to have a dove flying across the clouds. Make it stand out, above all, make it relevant to your brand’s message, which is the next factor.
• Message/Mission Statement – What do you strongly believe? What are you trying to tell the world? Can you incorporate your other interests? I want to believe as Gospel musicians, whatever is being sung about, should have a kingdom focus.

• Narrative – Now it’s time to apply your storytelling skills to developing a broader narrative and establishing a unique persona for your brand. Your genre is also your narrative, the way you tell your story. Are you passing across your gospel message basked in hip hop, soul or RnB sound?. Stick to one and be known for one. Every Gospel Musician’s story should be about God, the word or have a Kingdom end. Whether you are singing about love between a man and a woman, or everyday life happenings, it should still reflect Godliness. Your narrative is one of the most effective forms of social currency. They build powerful connections between ideas, people and action. They give context and robust understanding to your message. They generate urgency and motivation. What is the call to action of your message? Your narrative? When people hear your music, do they dance, fall in worship, enter the holiest of holies or linger in the courtyard? This is part of the narrative element of your brand.
Last but not the least of the elements of a brand • Values – What do you stand for? Values are a statement of what a brand stands for. The success of the values component will also be measured by how well the artist’s expressed values align with what the public seems to believe those values are, based on feedback and audience response. Do you sing about honesty but have a questionable integrity? Have you let pride set in because your album sold millions yet you sing about a God that lifts the humble. Your value is part of your brand. Your character, personality and attitude matters. How you carry yourself among everyday people is part of your brand.
Visual Graphics (Cover photos and display photos) – be consistent with your graphics across all social media platforms so your audience will easily recognize it is yours. Make sure they are well done and consistent across board with the right pixelation and dimensions. (You can search google for this) This is called Brand Recognition.
Research Research Research. Researching others (not entirely copying others) gives you a tremendous advantage as it identifies stories or perspectives that people aren’t exploring, and allows you to create a new voice that appears distinctive and refreshing. Remember that there’s a lot of artists out there, but always room for someone confident enough to think a little differently and stand out uniquely.
Understand that It takes time – it will take time to build an audience and cultivate long-term relationships. Making a big splash with your album release and tour will establish a good foundation, but what happens after the buzz fades out? It is going to take prayer, faith dedication, focus and consistency to truly build an audience online worthy of sustaining a career. My best advice: engage, engage, engage and keep engaging. Be relatable. Reply tweets, say thank you, support others, if you don’t have the time, hire someone who does, simple manners like this go a long way. Remember as Gospel Musicians, you are ambassadors of Christ. Represent accordingly.
Be aware of new technologies or get someone who is tech savvy on your team. For example – Mobile compatible website: You might not have a website just for mobile users, but you should definitely have something that loads quickly and is to scale for mobile users. The amount of traffic coming from smartphones and tablets will only continue to grow and if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, people will look elsewhere.
In conclusion; Above all Consistency is Key.
Building a brand takes a lot of time and effort but once you put in the work to build a good, consistent reputation, it will continue to pay dividends into the future. When you brand yourself successfully, you empower yourself. You are fortifying your self-awareness, confidence, and taking control of people’s perception of you (to a point).

Those who are afraid to label themselves are afraid to commit. Let your inner self match your outer self. It has to be reconcilable. Your Personal brand has to be consistent with your music brand. To establish your brand, you need to be able to answer the questions: What is my message? Who is my audience? How can I help them and what makes me different? When it comes to artists, even gospel musicians, good branding appears to have far more to do with knowing one’s self as an artist, and goes on make sure that the audience experiences the core items of your uniqueness. This is your music career so you should be investing the time, energy, and money into making the most of it. Marketing yourself in a way that your target audience appreciates and understand will go a long way in getting your music message across effectively which glorifies God at the end of the day.
  Connect with TOSINGER www.facebook.com/tosingersings or www.tosinger.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @tosinger .

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