If you are in the music business—whether you run a music store, own an instrument repair shop, or perform—you are in business.

And if you want yours to be a successful business, developing your brand identity is as important as doing what you do very well. A strong, cohesive brand is a marketplace differentiator—which is vitally important in the age of social media as consumers are constantly bombarded with companies clamoring, “Buy me! Buy me!”

As described by Investopedia, the term brand is actually an intangible marketing concept that helps people recognize and identify a product and, at best, reach for it instead of one of its competitors.

Logos, slogans, or other identifying factors generally come to mind when thinking about branding.

But it’s the “intangible” aspect—that unique quality or qualities a given brand conveys—that creates the psychological attraction and desire that leads to sales and market share. Stradivarius, Guitar Center, Arrow Smith … they all have recognizable brands.

Here are some thoughts on how you can build your brand.


Understanding your audience is critical because the way in which you tailor your products, services, and respective marketing will go a long way to cultivating your brand.

Depending on your audience, a crucial component of any brand is the association with lifestyle. For instance, take a look at this marketing video from the American motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson.

Like Harley, global brands like Coca-Cola and Nike, and Harley-Davidson rarely if ever tout the qualities or characteristics of their products—they’re all about lifestyle, mainly enhancing it. However, it’s the quality and consistency of those products that segued into lifestyle. Check out this HubSpot article, “7 Proven Ways to Know Your Audience Better” to learn more about getting a firm grip on who your actual audience is.

When you know your audience, you can tell your brand story in words that resonate with them. Top brands that spend multi-millions of dollars connecting with their customers on a human level draw them into the produce, how it came about, its success stories, the intangible benefits (the Harley video, for example: “We believe the machine you sit on can tell the world exactly where you stand.”), how the values behind your company are reflected in the product or service you provide.

Repeat Business

While logos, slogans, and designs alone don’t define a brand, those components do reinforce brand identity. They’re all part of your brand voice, literally and figuratively, how your brand communicates with the audience. Yes, that also includes tone of voice. If you manufacture high-end cellos, your tone will be much different than a company selling energy drinks.

As the psychological connection between your audience and business evolves, the repeat use of the components will help fortify your brand and facilitate credibility. Be sure to maintain consistency across all touchpoints such as your website, social media channels, signage, and swag.

Back It Up

A brand is only as good as the customer service that stands behind it. That means addressing and resolving issues in a timely manner. One of the things that makes Amazon such a strong brand is its customer service. For example, returns are easy to manage, which translates to a better customer experience.

While you can and should make a consolidated effort to develop your brand(s) to best represent the uniqueness, values, and qualities of your business and respective products or services, it’s important to recognize that you don’t have full control over brand identity and evolution. If an audience that’s different from your core market evolves, sell to them!