Is it challenging to distinguish yourself from other flute players and groups? Is your professional life at a standstill?
Unfortunately, we witness this common problem all the time.
Branding yourself as a flute player or band can be the answer. As a flutist, it’s your only chance to stand out among many other flute players and artists in your area.
A flutist’s brand is a set of criteria that explain what an artist or group is all about, including sound, style, appearance, and everything that makes you unique. Your brand should be distinctive, similar to how McDonald’s differentiates itself from Burger King.
As a flutist, you are the creative director of your own brand. Your dreams can be as big or small as you make them. As a flute player, you may wish to keep things simple and establish yourself as an artist. You can even adopt a well-known artist identity, like Madonna’s. Maybe you want to position yourself as a well-versed teacher. In other words, you’re the go-to instrument repair and maintenance guru who is also an accomplished performer. Change your brand whenever you want, as long as you do it thoughtfully and strategically.
Your brand’s purpose is to build awareness and recognition of your musical talent to build a reputation, cultivate a following, and make money. Your brand helps you be more deliberate about your public image and how you advertise your music. It supports the uniformity of your promotional materials and musical endeavors.
A solid personal or group brand can help you connect with your fans, music industry professionals, and other members of your target audience (such as influencers, the press, and potential students). You’re also showing the music industry, the press, and the general public you’re serious about the commercial part of your craft.
We’ll begin with branding basics.
Why does a flute player need a brand?
Unless you already know why you want to promote yourself or your group and how to do it, this is a critical issue you must address.
The following are some of the most typical motives for creating a musical brand:
- Making a name for yourself, your band, or your musical style
- Seeking more work
- Creating a transition from a local to a national act
- Increasing influence in your local community
You may be branding for one of these reasons, a combination of these reasons, or something else entirely.
Writing your brand statement is easier if you’ve decided why you want to brand in the first place.
Flute players, ensembles, and bands need to know exactly who they are and what they stand for to create a strong brand statement.
Musical brand statements include:
- Our old-school rebel rock band is all about fighting against war, racism, and raging against the capitalist system.
- As a professional flutist, you can count on me to play Jolivet’s Chant de Linos and make people cry with my elegant performances.
- We are an experimental biomusic band that uses the hums of whales, birds’ chirps, and herons’ cries in our music to show how deeply we feel.
- As a flute player, I am a skilled artist and performer. My knowledge and experience allow me to perform quality repairs for local flutists.
- I am the best high school flute teacher in the Cincinnati area. I’ll teach your kids to play like pros in less than two years.
These brand messages are clear, and you know exactly what to expect from each person or act.
Answering these questions will help you customize your unique brand statement:
- Why do I compose music?
- Why do I make the music that I do or provide the services that I do?
- How do I feel when performing my music and providing services to others?
- How do I want others to feel when they hear my music or use the products or services I offer?
- What do I want others to remember about a performance or their time working with me?
In many cases, the answers to these questions may be as simple as a single word or phrase, which is fine if it captures the essence of you, your group, or the products or services you provide. If it helps, you can create your brand statement using visuals rather than words. This is a better approach for musicians who are visually inclined.
Your brand statement can guide every aspect of your musical branding, from your logo to the fonts you use for social media posts, your messaging style, the clothes you wear, and everything in between. Your brand statement can most likely reflect what you already do. Once you have a message, you can use it to clarify what you’re doing, refine it, do more, and possibly even amp it up.
Creating your brand
As a flute player, your musical brand is how you portray yourself and the music that you create. In other words, it’s how you incorporate your music into your textual and visual messages and your physical products or services.
A company’s overall brand image and business strategy are built on a foundation of brand assets, such as:
- Visual identity, including logo, press photos, style, catchphrases, and more.
- Voice and tone of messaging, including how you express yourself through social media, online, and on stage.
- Personal history, including a behind-the-scenes look at your personal and musical biography.
- Musical project story, including why you compose or play the flute or why you sell and fix musical instruments, attracting those interested in your story.
- Merchandise, including t-shirts, mugs, and keychains.
That’s a lot to consider, but it’s not too difficult to implement. Find out how you can get it all done by reading on.
How to identify branding goals
Being a flute player is your business if you want to earn money with your music.
If you’re in business, your brand should go beyond words and images to include specific business goals and how you intend to achieve them. Every business requires goals to keep it on track.
Now it’s time to ask yourself why you’re ready to build upon your brand.
Your response will point you in the direction of where you should concentrate your branding and marketing efforts.
Here are some examples:
- Build relationships with performers and influencers to position yourself as a go-to repair technician.
- Increase your social media presence to propel yourself to viral fame.
- Teach students and assist them in becoming the best flute players possible.
- Prove yourself as a top-performing flutist and sell musical instruments to supplement your income when you’re not performing.
- Connect with international concert promoters who can help you advance your career.
- Create a portfolio as a performer, teacher, and supplier of high-quality musical instruments to be the go-to flute expert in your community and beyond.
If you want to be more than one of these things—or something else entirely—figure out how they fit together and where they might intersect. The question you must answer is: How can your brand assist you in achieving everything you desire?
If you’re still unclear about your business goals—or have any doubts about them—pose these questions to yourself as a reality check. They’ll guide you in better understanding yourself and your brand.
- Are you productive, or do you take a long time to complete projects?
- Do you prefer working with others or working alone?
- Do you enjoy assisting other artists or prefer concentrating on your own work?
- Do you enjoy using your smartphone and computer?
- How do you enjoy interacting with others on social media?
- Do you enjoy marketing, or would you rather someone else handle it?
- Do you enjoy performing on stage?
- Do you get energized or nervous when you perform?
- Do you enjoy working behind the scenes?
- Do you consider yourself a doer or a teacher?
- Do you like to travel and tour, or do you prefer to stay close to home?
- Do you enjoy variety and think doing a little bit of everything is more exciting than focusing all your time on one thing?
Answering these questions may seem daunting, but it’s the only way to set objectives within a business model that fits your personality. This increases the likelihood of sticking to your plan and achieving your goals.
After you’ve defined your long-term goals, you can choose smaller ones that will lead you to the bigger picture.
Here are a couple of examples:
- Play one gig weekly to meet and get on the radar of other flute players.
- Learn to repair so I can use my skills and knowledge to help others.
- Plan to write 10 local commercials to gain the exposure and experience needed to pursue national opportunities.
- Increase my social media following by 50% to grow my fan base.
- Become a flute consultant so I can save enough money to tour with my ensemble next year.
- Complete my education so I can teach.
Once you’ve established a long-term goal, you can determine the “mini goals” necessary to achieve it.
Now that you have a brand statement and some business goals, you can begin planning the brand assets needed to support the marketing and communication efforts required to achieve your objectives. You might not need everything in this section. For example, if you want to be a flute teacher, you might not need a logo, but if you teach, repair, and sell instruments, you might.
Voice and tone
Your communication with your target audience may be more important than your visual identifiers. Voice and tone convey your attitude and personality and explains who you are and what you stand for. Your tone and voice should be consistent with what is communicated in your brand statement. It can be expressed in a single word, such as “intelligent,” or it can be expressed in multiple words, such as “intelligent, witty, and thoughtful.” Use as many words as necessary to define how you want to communicate with your audience and people in your target market.
Here are some examples of voice and tone words:
Choosing the right words will help ensure your brand messages are communicated consistently.
Make a list of brand assets—the things you’ll need to market yourself to meet your objectives.
Here are some common assets for flute players:
- Social media banner
- Post design
- Website design
- Video style
Most flute players lack the necessary skills to define and develop brand assets. The good news is once you’ve written a brand statement, defined your business goals, and identified your brand assets, you can collaborate with designers and marketing specialists to produce professional resources.
You most likely have graphic designers, writers, social media experts, and other marketing professionals on your team who can assist you with your fan base. You can also find them online through sites like Upwork. (Look for people who work in the music industry.) The good news is hiring and working with professionals should be straightforward if you’ve done all of the legwork outlined in this article.
Finally, if you want to make money as a flute player, you’ll need a brand and a business plan. The more certain you are about who you are and where you want to go, the easier it will be to find your audience. It’s the only way to set yourself apart from other flute players and stay on track to fully realizing your vision for the future and achieving your objectives.