No matter what career you set out to define yourself in, gaining publicity and awareness can be crucially important to your overall success. After all, you are going to need to gain exposure if you ever want your brand to grow. While it may seem strange at first to think of your business, your band or even yourself as a brand, it takes this particular kind of mindset in order to truly make it in the world.
Any successful business has at one point been concerned about how they are viewed (and how much) in the public eye. Businesses usually tend to thrive on having a large base of clients, and it can be extremely hard to do well and gain clients if no one knows about you or what you do. This is why for businesses, marketing and advertising are of the utmost importance.
Marketing and advertising are extremely different these days than ever before, and will undoubtedly continue to change as the years begin to pass. It is an industry devoted to change, as keeping up with trends and growing into the “next big thing” is what marketing is all about. Your goal should be for your business to be this next big thing, and you should do so knowing that it will not happen overnight. Marketing is extremely effective, but it can take months and even years to work. Also, it is far from an inexpensive process, so be sure that your company has pockets deep enough to invest a hefty sum of money into it’s marketing.
For small companies who do not have marketing departments, working with a marketing firm is by far the best way to go. Marketing firms deal with the situation your business is in every single day, and many of them have turned start-up businesses into multimillion dollar conglomerates. Marketing and advertising work extremely well when the people behind it know what they’re doing, which is why working with a professional marketing firm is almost always a smart decision.
Once you contact a firm and set up the initial meeting, you’re going to want to have all your ducks in a row. This means any history, notable sales numbers or old/current marketing initiatives need to be put on the table for the firm to use as a basis for their strategy. Marketing is not just throwing together an ad and running it on the radio. Successful marketing is made up of deliberate and well-devised campaigns that can include print, television and radio advertising as well as public relations and focus groups. The firm will put all of this together and may even want to rebrand your company’s image. Always remember that these people are the experts when it comes to marketing, and you will be safe in their hands.
That said, you’ll want the marketing firm you choose to be a good and comfortable fit for you and your business. A strained business relationship will absolutely destroy any chance of a campaign working to your benefit, and no one will be happy with the results. Be sure to have at least a few meetings with the people who will be mainly handling your account before signing off with them. Meeting for coffee or drinks outside of a professional setting is also a good idea, as this can help to build relationships.
Once you choose the firm and come to a monetary decision based upon your budget, it’s time to throw your hands up and let them do all the work. Remember that marketing campaigns can take quite a while before any kind of public awareness starts to pick up. Be patient and positive, and you’ll find yourself on your way to becoming the next Nike.
Anyone who has ever started a band and tried to make it big knows that doing the latter can be a frustrating and nearly impossible venture. With the sheer amount of bands on the music circuit these days, it is an all out war to get your music heard and get signed to a reputable music label. Fortunately, there are ways to get yourself ahead of your competition, and you don’t even have to do the dirty work yourself.
The best way to get your band heard is to hire an agent. Agents are usually extremely well plugged into the local music scene (which is where fame begins) and the majority of them know the ins and outs of the industry. After all, getting your music heard is a lot harder than sending a demo to a record label and expecting someone to actually listen to it. Agents know this, and each one has a unique strategy that they will use to help propel your band to the top.
One of the best ways to find an agent is to look towards a local band that is beginning to find some success. This will assure you that whoever they are using as their agent actually knows what he or she is talking about and you will not be wasting your valuable time and money. Becoming friends with other local bands will help you to make connections with agents that could inevitably land you a spot on their list of clients.
If you are able to get a sit down meeting with an agent, coming in prepared is one of the best and most professional things you can do. Agents are extremely busy and do not have time to waste on people who are unprepared. Bring in anything that has to do with your band’s image such as cds, t-shirts or other merchandise. Also be sure you have a clear idea as to what kind of crowd you are trying to appeal to and what type of music you want to be playing in the future. All of these will inform the agent’s decision about how the band is marketed.
A word of warning: Agents are expensive. Anyone who plays in a band full-time and makes just enough money to slide by will likely have a hard time affording an agent, especially if they are really good or well known. Occasionally, you can get by on the merit of your music, as the agent may see your band as a good investment of their time if they feel like the music would be popular among a larger audience. This is just another reason to concentrate on propelling the quality of your music into the stratosphere.
Individuals that are trying to gain exposure, such as artists or actors will find comfort in knowing that the process of moving towards publicity and awareness is not too dissimilar from that of a music group. You are going to want to hire the best publicist you can find, and you are going to want to have all of your materials prepared for that initial meeting. Go into the meeting with a clear vision of what you want to achieve, as individuals often work by the seat of their pants and do whatever they feel. This can be great for the artist, but not so for the publicist.
In many ways, gaining publicity as an individual can be relatively easy. For instance, if you are in an area where there are not a lot of visual artists, a good publicist will likely be able to propel you into fame without a whole lot of time or effort on anyone’s part. However, if you are a struggling actor living and trying to find work in Hollywood, the tables have turned and you may find that gaining publicity is not nearly as easy as you once thought. This is why it is important to bring your talents to a market that hasn’t been flooded. It is always a good idea to be in an area where there are a lot of like-minded individuals, but too much competition can equal no publicity or awareness.
Depending upon who you are and what you do, the publicist may also want to change your act. While it can be easy to initially take offense to this, remember that he or she is the specialist when it comes to gaining publicity and awareness. Their job is to tell you what works and what doesn’t, and you should be happy to take such advice. If the publicist wants to alter your act slightly, get into a dialogue about what you don’t want to see go and what you wouldn’t mind changing. This can often lead to improvement, and can help gain you the awareness you’ll need to become a star.
Remember that as with any other kind of branding or marketing, gaining awareness as an individual does not happen overnight, and can often times take even longer than it does for a music group or a business. The bottom line is that you should never give up your craft and should do all you can to keep bettering yourself. Patience will inevitably lead to greener pastures for your career.