We’re serious music fanatics over here at Z Coast and our taste is spread across multiple genres—we’re talking everything from  Marian Hill to Jessie Reyez to Eric Church to alt-J to Ed Sheeran. We like music, okay?

Speaking of which, feel free to check out our Spotify playlist and see what we’re listening to this week. Now back to our regularly scheduled writing…

While we appreciate these musical artists for the tunes they produce, the marketer’s in us can’t help but appreciate the brands they have established (and are establishing) for themselves.

All of the musicians we mentioned have something in common: they know what their unique identity is and they express it with authenticity, confidence, and consistency. These three things are what enable anyone, but especially musicians, to connect and engage with other people in a meaningful manner.

Authenticity, confidence, and consistency are also the key to a long-lasting career in the music industry. So we ask you, garage bands and solo artists of America who have yet to break into the industry (we know your time is coming!), are you comfortable in your musician’s skin?

Let that float around in your mind for a minute while we do you a favor. Below is a little advice for how to brand your band (or solo career). We hope you put it to good use and when you hit it big, remember us when you need that debut album cover designed *winks*.

How to Brand Your Band: Tip #1

Invest in storytelling. “Storytelling” is certainly overhyped these days but it’s also a marketing tool that isn’t used nearly enough for the amount of attention it gets. In the world of music and branding, storytelling is how you choose to focus the message you send out on a consistent basis.

Your story just gives people another reason to invest in you emotionally and financially. Sure, the music you’re producing is phenomenal, but it’s the story of your personal relationship with music and who you are artistically that gives you something to market.

Just look at Ed Sheeran and his latest album release ÷ (Divide).  The album has blown up across the globe since its release on March 3rd, 2017. Why? Because Sheeran tells a story people the world over relate to. ÷ (Divide) focuses on love, friendship, loss, family and Sheeran’s own personal struggles with fame.

It’s authentic. It’s credible. It’s raw and it’s real. It’s also on repeat while we assemble this post. Could we be any more in love with the man? Probably.

Don’t be afraid to let your guard down and your story flow. Who knows. You could be the next Ed Sheeran (we doubt it, but you could be).

How to Brand Your Band: Tip #2

Do some blogging. Seriously. Expanding on the storytelling tip here, another great place to promote your music and tell your story is a blog. Part of being a successful musician is keeping your audience captivated right?

What better way to grab their attention—besides via your music of course—than to tell your fans what an awesome time you had at your last gig all thanks to them? Blogging is a great way to connect with people and help them feel like they’re getting something a little extra from you in return for all of their undying adoration.

Blogging about all your events also opens up the opportunity for you to start a newsletter that can be delivered directly to fan inboxes. And *boom* you’ve instantly created two new ways for people to learn about who you are and check out your music.

But just like learning to play the electric guitar, it takes time and practice to develop the skills necessary to put together a successful blog post.

Don’t let that intimidate you. However, if you’d rather focus your efforts more on writing new songs than blog posts, you know where to find us

How to Brand Your Band: Tip #3

Be consistent, boys and girls. This is very important. Especially when it comes to things like your social media accounts and marketing materials. It’s great to be creative, but throwing every idea and photo you’ve ever taken out there on the internet isn’t going to help you much. In fact, it might hurt you.

Marketers and branding experts in any industry will talk to you for hours about how your Facebook fan page needs to match your website, which needs to match Twitter, which needs to match your ReverbNation account, which needs to match anywhere else you put yourself and your music online.

They ain’t lying. It’s important.

Here’s a helpful list of things you need to keep consistent with your band branding across things like your website, social media accounts, emails and gig posters:

  • Language (voice/tone)
  • Color Schemes
  • Fonts
  • Images

Why is this important, you ask? Because you want to be easily identifiable. A big reason you should want to brand your band (or brand yourself as a solo musician, we know you’re reading too) is because you want to be easily recognized. You want people to know who you are.

Maintaining consistency throughout all your media and marketing materials is a super easy way to achieve that. So do yourself a favor, sit down for a few minutes and hammer out the message you want to send to people.

How to Brand Your Band: Tip #4

Interact with fans on social media. This goes with that whole “be consistent and authentic” thing we mentioned at the beginning of the post and in Tip #3. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are all wonderful tools for branding your band.

Social media platforms give you a grand opportunity to establish your voice and connect with new people. Connecting with new people is great for your music because it widens the potential audience your music can reach.

Social media also gives you an opportunity to listen to your fans. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram all make it easy for you quickly learn what’s entertaining your fans and what isn’t. You should always stay true to yourself and your brand, but it doesn’t hurt to keep your ear to the ground either.

People won’t invest energy and money into you if they don’t feel connected with you. And in order for people to feel connected to you, you have to make the effort to connect with them. It doesn’t hurt to slip in some nicely branded merch giveaways every once in awhile either.

How to Brand Your Band: Tip #5

Be selective. Let’s say you’ve already got your message down and you’ve created some really sick posters, a couple of blog posts, some social media accounts, and a newsletter to promote your upcoming gigs and new set list.

That’s awesome. But what sets you apart from the hundreds of thousands of other bands and musicians out there? How will you rise above the noise? There’s a fine line between promoting yourself and being desperate for someone to know you.

When and how often should you be sending all this stuff out? If you’re tweeting 30 times per day, booking as many gigs as your rickety old van can get you to, and emailing novel length newsletters to everybody and their mom because you think they might be interested, you’re going to have a lot of people start covering their ears real fast.

If you want to brand your band and be good at promoting it, you have to learn to be selective. Focus on writing the best music you possibly can and then clearly and selectively communicate it to your fans.

Sure, there’s nothing wrong with throwing together a quick blog post about how stoked you are to release the 3 new songs you just perfected, but you’re going to get on people’s nerves if you’re blowing up their social feeds and inboxes every few hours with “updates” about the verse you just rhymed.

Good marketers and branding professionals know that timing is everything. Think of it like a beat you want to keep.

We’re not going to sugarcoat it for you, developing your own brand and voice as a musical artist is hard. And it’s neverending. How you choose to brand your band is something you’ll have to keep up with for the entire length of your career.

As music fans ourselves, we want to see you succeed. We also know how tough it can be to get started. If you have questions about branding your band and all it entails—like setting up a website and designing epic posters—don’t be afraid to reach out. We’d probably totally fangirl over the opportunity to work on a design project with you. No shame.

Your voice—the things you talk about and how you talk about them—is the most important part of your brand. It doesn’t matter what you do and it doesn’t matter what media channels you use to broadcast it. Your voice is the most important part of your brand.

Why does it matter so much? Because your voice is what communicates your values and informs your audience and most importantly, it’s how your audience recognizes you. The whole point of establishing your branding voice is so that people will recognize the things you put out no matter what.

So, how do you go about molding your brand’s tone of voice to communicate your brand message effectively? Use the short and sweet guide for finding your brand’s voice below.


Start With a Strong Foundation

  • Establish what your brand stands for:

    • Here are some ideas to help get your wheels turning: fun community luxury excitement progress adventure
  • Establish your key message to the world:

    • To take the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful (Google)
    • To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world (Nike)
    • To make it easy for people to do themselves some good (Innocent Smoothies)

Want some help figuring this out? We’ve got you covered.


Find Some Inspiration

  • Look for inspiration outside the walls of your office:

    • Ask team members for opinions of what they think your company values should be
    • Hold a meeting where you ask people to list words, phrases they associate with your company, and phrases they don’t associate with the company
  • Asking for help establishing brand voice can have a big impact on the loyalty of your customers:

    • 66% of millennials have abandoned what had been their brand of choice because the brand no longer fit their identity (Source)
    • The most important driver of brand loyalty for millennials is a great product at 77%, followed closely by brand recognition and trust at 69% (Source)
    • 73% of consumers cite value as the leading factor that determines brand loyalty (Source)


Address Your Target Audience

  • Decide how you’re going to say what  you want to say to whoever you want to say it to:

    • Should your voice be formal? stiff authoritative serious
    • Should your voice be informal? fun distinctive characterful
  • It all comes down to target audience because if your brand voice doesn’t appeal to them:

    • 81% of consumers have un-liked a brand’s Facebook page if they felt the brand’s voice no longer resonated with them (Source)
    • 41% have unfollowed a brand’s Twitter handle (Source)
    • 97% have marked an email message as spam (Source)

Take your cues from your audience!


Find Your Funny Bone…Just Be Yourself

  • Consider if humor fits into your brand’s voice. If humor is part of your brand voice, remember to:

    • Stay humble – it’s better to laugh at yourself rather than your customer
    • Be subtle – in most cases, gentle humor is the way to go for lighter copy
    • Go with your gut – if you’re ever in doubt, leave your joke out
  • Humorous or not, the most important things you can do when establishing your brand’s voice is:

    • Build trust – 54% of people don’t trust brands. Ouch. (Source)
    • Be authentic – 80% of consumers say authenticity is the most influential factor in their decision to follow a brand (Source)
    • Meet needs – 48% of consumers expect brands to know them and help them discover products and services that meet their needs (Source)

45% of a brands image can be attributed to what it says and how it says it. Your brand is your promise, what you say you do, how you say you do it, and how it’s done. Make sure your company delivers on what you say you do with a well-established brand voice.

Are you ready to find your brand’s voice? Talk to us today and let’s establish the message that sets you apart from your competition.

Company culture. It’s a term you hear thrown around pretty often these days. But, what is it exactly? How do you define it and why is it important?

If you ask us, company culture is the personality of a business from an employee’s perspective. It includes the mission and expectations of the business in addition to the atmosphere.  It’s a giant blend of the values, beliefs, and symbols that businesses develop over time.

Whether you have it written down or symbolized in the business logo, culture is what determines an environment. For example, one company and work culture that we admire a lot around here is Google.



What Determines Your Company’s Culture?

Google employs 61,000+ people and yet the people who work there consistently describe it as having a small company feel. Google believes that it’s the people who make the company and that’s something that we believe very strongly in as well.

In our culture at Z Coast Media, we strive to maintain an open and hands-on feel where everyone feels comfortable sharing opinions and ideas. We encourage teamwork, solo projects, good conversation, and having a life outside of work.

Each work culture has different tactics and unique qualities. But, universally, like Google says, it’s all about the people in your company and making sure they have a fun and productive work environment.



Why Does Having A Rich Work Culture Matter?

The simple answer: Better moods = better performance.

Boring and/or hostile work environments are not sustainable and the workplace shouldn’t be something people dread every day. Employees should look forward to doing their jobs and while work may be hard sometimes, company culture shouldn’t add stress to the work.

You want your employees  to be happy because happiness means more productivity. In fact, businesses with happy and engaged employees:

  • Outperform the competition by 202% (Source)
  • Experience an 18% higher customer retention rate (Source)
  • Have 37% less absenteeism and 41% fewer quality defects (Source)

When you make it a priority to build and sustain a rich, healthy company culture, your whole business will benefit from it. The guiding principles that define your work culture will help you make tough decisions, keep everyone on the same page and for all intents and purposes, serve as the glue that holds your business together.



How to Build Your Company Culture

If building up your company culture isn’t already a priority, it should be.  Here’s how you can get started:

  • Be original. As much as we admire companies like Google, Nike, Zappos and whoever else’s culture you can think of that rocks, we are not any of those companies and neither are you. If you want to establish a winning work culture you have to be authentic and keep your brand consistent. What works for one business’ may not work for yours. Company culture thrives on originality.
  • Take the time to outline the type of people you want your business to grow with. Defining the type of people you would like to be a part of your business—their skills and personalities—is essential to building your company culture. As tempting as it can be to hire people who think and act exactly like you do, it’s diversity that will help accelerate your company’s growth. Embrace individuality and different personalities.
  • Put people first. You want to be successful and have a company culture that entices people to come work for you? Build your company around life—the things that make us human—instead of asking employees to build their lives around work. Your people, your employees, are your most valuable resource and deserve to be treated as such. When people feel valued and supported, they’re more inspired to achieve great things.

Whether your company is well-established or you’re just starting up, it’s never too late to focus on what you want your unique company culture to look and feel like.