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5 Blocks to Build Your Brand – Rap Rehab

    Alternately, I could title this article “Know Who You Are & Stick With It”, but “How To” articles are rather popular these days. People google how to do everything – so much so, that “google” is accepted as a verb (in my dictionary)!

    A few weeks ago I googled how to be published on websites, now here we are.

    I googled how to grow my twitter followers and gained 10 in a couple hours.

    I hope this article is equally helpful, and one day you can hit me up on Twitter and say “That article really helped me nail my brand.”

    Well ok! As we say in Barbados, “no lotta long talk”…let’s just get to it!

    What is a brand? 

    If you’re looking at it clinically, you’ll see that a brand is something that identifies and differentiates your product from other products.

    Meh. Boring!

    Your brand is your personality, pumped up to 100, stepping in the proverbial marketing building and saying “Wassup market? I’m here…but you know this!! Now, follow me.”

    A great brand can convince people of anything – like “iPhone 6 is better than the Samsung Galaxy 5s”. *whistles*

    Block 1: 

    Know who you are! 

    Your brand is supposed to highlight who you already are. I’ve seen brands be concocted and slapped on artists who are nothing like the character the producers/managers/A&R have created. Build a genuine brand, not a gimmick. If you’re naturally a nerd who can sing, be a nerd in all your nerdy glory! It’s so painful to watch a great artist compromise to fit a mold. I’ve seen artists metamorphose and never return to who they were, and I’ve seen artists come to their senses and wish they’d never changed.

    No one can be you, better than you can be you. How cliché…I know. But hot dangit, it’s just the truth!

    The hazard of creating a gimmick, as opposed to nurturing your brand, is having to keep up the act when your heart is elsewhere.

    Let’s get practical! Write down the following:

    What do you love doing other than music? Where are you from? What’s unique about your story? Who will most likely relate to your music? How would you describe your style of dress? How do you want to make people feel? What are 3 words that describe you?

    Who are some of your favorite artists? Can you describe them using 3 simple words, or would you say “well really they’re just so eclectic and do all kinds of stuff. I don’t really know”? I’m sure you can describe them in 3 words and your fans should be able to do the same with you. I’m sorry homie – that box you’re adamant about not fitting into is simply called “focus”.

    You can be both free & focused!

    Block 2. 

    Focus on your presentation. 

    I love this part. I really do! Your visuals (fashion, graphics and music videos) are often the very first thing people notice. It’s the hook and introduction, and it lets people know just how good you are. Your song is dope? So why isn’t the graphic dope? Don’t blame the audience for not giving you a listen… it’s not their job to give every artist a try. They’re bombarded with content enough as it is. Make yourself difficult to ignore!

    Let’s get practical: 

    – Hire a professional graphic designer who understands your brand. If you click, don’t change them!

    – Hire a professional photographer who understands your brand. If you click, don’t change them!

    – Consult with a stylist who understands your …. Ok, you get it!

    Really, just have pride in what you’re doing. It will cost you money, yes – consider it an investment. You have 1 chance at a good first impression. One thing you can do is ask yourself “If I were a stranger, would I be impressed?”

    Block 3. 

    Broadcast Who You Are! 

    Knowing who you are is really the hardest part. Once you know who you are (not who it’d be more profitable to be), all you have to do is shout it from the rooftops! If you’re into fashion, show your fans. If you love animals or children or the city/island you’re from, incorporate it into everything you do.

    There’s this company in Barbados that just bought over a bunch of companies. Their logo is everywhere I look! Good for them, but it’s too much and too annoying.

    So I guess there’s the additional challenge of firmly stating who you are vs. overloading your audience. You’ll titter totter…but you’ll find the balance. 

    Block 4. 

    Be Consistent. 

    If your 3 words are happy, energetic and inspirational, then everything you do should reflect that – from fashion to graphics to music videos to lyrical content to interviews. So what the heck are you doing releasing cover art with a black and white skull? Again, this is just all to help you focus and first identify who you are! You’re complicated and multi-layered, but your brand shouldn’t be. It will take a couple times of exposure to you, before your fans are sure of what they’re getting into by riding with you! I recently discovered Mod Sun (excuse me if I’m late). I went on Youtube and watched 3 random videos and now I feel as though I know exactly who he is and what he’s about – love, fun and marijuana. THAT’S a strong brand!

    Please…please… be consistent! Those 3 words are your rudder.

    Block 5. 

    Leave room for evolution.

    There’s a difference between evolution and inconsistency. Grow, don’t spaz out! Let your changes be genuine and gradual. It might even help to just say “Hey guys, I’m trying this out. What do you think?”

    Final Tips: 

    – Consult with an artist developer. – Objective feedback is crucial. (Feel free to email me for help in this department)

    – Consult your notes to make sure you’re still on track.

    Confidence is so attractive – so knock yourself out!

    Boom. You’re branded! You’re welcome!

    Hit me up and let me know how this goes for you, and check out the offer below!

    Barbadian born, Camille Evelyn, is passionate about art in all of its forms. This hip hop artist/songwriter by the name of Adaeze, is a featured writer for We Spin – a music marketing educational platform (which is free to sign up and try out). She is also known for her gifts in film, fashion, brand management and campaign development. 

    Contact her at [email protected] or connect on Twitter 

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