Branding 101: Do You Need A Brand Bible?

In your capacity as performer, musician, lyricist, tour manager and business strategist you also need to fit in the small matter of becoming a branding expert.

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Nobody said this was going to be easy!

Whatever it is that makes you, ‘you’, can be a great starting point for your personal branding. Twitch Partner PVPx has a few recommendations to get you started: Your brand should relate to your content or something you’re passionate about. That’s not to say your logo has to explicitly identify what you do or sell — for example, if you’re a finance company, you don’t need to include dollar signs or piggy banks in your logo. But what your logo does need to do is communicate your brand attributes (and personality!) using visual cues like colors, fonts, symbols, shapes,.

Although some musicians might see creating a brand as a something akin to exam revision, we’ve created this guide to hopefully show you that the creative process of devising and developing a brand is nothing to be feared.

In fact, it should be as absorbing and artistic a process as song writing itself!

Here’s what we’re going to cover:

Why some artists shy away from branding

Branding 101: Do You Need A Brand Bible Book

How to begin creating a brand as an artist

The ‘3 Es’ of branding (careful now!)

Key takeaways

But before we begin… what actually is a brand?

We interact with brands all the time. In its simplest form it’s a logo, along with a name, tagline, design, symbol, or other feature that distinguishes it from its rivals in the eyes of fans or customers.

However, many will tell you that a brand is much more than that. It’s engrained in our tribal psyche as human beings to gravitate towards badges, flags, symbols and ideas– to claim allegiance to a cause, and literally ‘nail our colours’ to the mast.

Brand is visual representation of identity and the best artists in history are all about identity and identifying with their audience. So, as a musical artist starting out in a career you are already a brand whether you like it or not.

The question is whether you are a good, bad or just plain ugly one (in many cases this is no bad thing; check out those early Rolling Stones album covers!) Earn to digest big games online.

Why many artists shy away from branding

A common mistake some artists make is to confuse authenticity with branding. ‘But isn’t it supposed to be about the music’ is a common complaint when discussing a band’s image, for example.

There’s a fear that credibility can be lost by taking any focus away from the music and concentrating on image.

While there’s no doubt that style over substance always causes problems, even the most credible artists in history have cultivated a strong, defined image, story and visual identity (AKA a brand!).

The Sex Pistols are credited with turning the entire music industry on its head; a vital disrupting force that led to one of the most creative and exciting periods in music’s history.

They were also entirely manufactured by Vivienne Westwood and her then partner, Malcolm McClaren. Does this make their music less credible?

Branding

The best artists have always understood that being a successful artist is about more than having well-crafted songs. Remember Nelly’s face band-aid, Madonna’s cone bra and Lady Gaga’s crazy, well, everything? All those quirks and styles helped created their image and brand as an artist. (If you want help finding your trademark style, we’ve got you covered.)

Artist branding is about taking that music and channelling its energy through a consistent visual style and identity. In a way that, hopefully, builds the kind of tribal loyalty that causes normal people to sell everything the own and follow you on tour for the rest of their lives.

Your brand should be considered as much a part of who you are as your music. It should be respected and nurtured just like any other valued artistic element. A Spinnup act we think really nails this is Swedish songwriter/producer/performer duo Vaz, who put a huge amount of effort into their brand, from their album artwork, to artist imagery and outfit styling. Check out their Instagram to see what we mean.

How do you begin creating a brand as an artist?

Paul Wilkinson, former Creative Director at MTV, believes that the trick when starting out is to take inspiration from your idols:

“When most artists start out they tend to emulate the people they admire as they find their own voice. The best place to start is to think about who inspires you and look at what they’re doing. Don’t directly copy what they do, but study them carefully and introduce your own ideas. Keep it simple.”

Quite often there will be someone in your band or close to you that has a natural affinity for creating a visual identity. If not, it might be worth enlisting the support from someone who can.

Good artists collaborate, so find some inspiration from artists or designers who resonate with you and even see if one can help you begin to create a brand that will elevate your music to where it deserves to be.

“Try reaching out to your own fanbase,” says Paul. “If you have a few hundred followers ask them for feedback and see if any of them can do better. There’s bound to be someone amongst them who will step forward and offer good creative ideas. It’ll also help foster a sense of community, which is vital in the early days.”

One word of warning. When starting out remember that everything you post online will still be there a few years down the line, so take this stuff seriously from the start.

“Everything stays online these days,” says branding expert Bridgette of Zambesi Digital, “so think carefully before you put anything out there.”

“Are you going to be embarrassed in a few years’ time? Is it going to come back to bite you?”

Don’t get caught up in the moment. Guard your image jealously.

What are the ‘3 Es’ of branding?

The 3 Es of Branding are often highlighted by branding agencies when helping companies to devise a new brand identity.

The Es stand for Enabling, Elevating and Enriching – and don’t just apply to the logo design and colour palettes, but are used to inform everything from imagery choices to the tone of voice.

We aren’t saying that these principals will always be applicable to every artist, but they help to give you an idea of how a professional agency might approach branding an artist.

  1. Enabling

In other words, whatever brand you choose should feel simple, effortless and accessible for anyone who is attracted to it either directly or through your music

Branding 101: Do You Need A Brand Bible Study

  1. Elevating

Your brand should aim to create an experience through the senses. Think about textures, colours, environment and storytelling.

  1. Enriching

Fans should be able to feel part of what your brand represent. It should resonate with them and create that sense of tribe and community that they seek.

Think of what you can provide your fanbase with that will help this. What tangible objects can you give out at gigs? What different ways are there to interact with them?

When you get these three elements right it can create a catalytic effect that delivers real magic – which is all your audience is really looking for.

Key takeaways

  • Keep it simple
  • Study your idols; be inspired by them
  • Collaborate!
  • Take your time, get it right – you wouldn’t put out a half-arsed song!
  • Be careful what you post on social media – will you still be proud of this in 5 years’ time?

Branding is a living, breathing thing, so expect it to evolve over the years as you become more successful. Coldplay, for example, evolved from a simple scruffy busker look to the colourful and distinctive visual identity they enjoy today.

The most important thing is to take it seriously, and not dismiss it as some sort of inauthentic corporate exercise. It’s really all about visual communication and a chance to stand out from the crowd. And remember, enjoy it and your fans will too!

Ready for the next step?Check out the unsigned artists like you making Spinnup their home!

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So, you’ve learned the streaming basics and you’re ready to establish a brand and make a name for yourself on Twitch. This can be a tricky step, but also one of the most exciting!

Featuring:

PVPX

Take a minute to think about what makes you, your content, or your stream unique. Do you live and breathe the color orange? Stream from an ice fishing shack? Have a weird catchphrase? Whatever it is that makes you, ‘you’, can be a great starting point for your personal branding. Twitch Partner PVPx has a few recommendations to get you started:

Your brand should relate to your content or something you’re passionate about.

Is your channel all about sports and fitness? Are you passionate about animals? Do you have a character or persona you want to build your channel around? If you’re unable to answer these questions, your audience may help steer you in the direction you want to build your brand.

Start Small and Expand.

Building your brand is a long-term investment, not a race. Starting small allows you to slowly modify your brand over time if needed, as well as saves you time and money. A combination of thinking strategically from the start as well as avoiding rushing into large brand decisions can help avoid needing to re-brand in the future.

Utilize all the branding categories.

There are so many ways of expressing your brand on your channel on just Twitch alone. Make sure you are molding your brand using all these methods. A strong brand always has multiple places that people can easily recognize and remember you by.

Be sure to make as much of your channel page as possible fit into that story, starting with your channel names. When it comes time to create visual assets like on-screen alerts and custom emotes, don’t forget to consider how those fit into your overall brand as well.

There are plenty of places on Twitch that can be customized to reflect your branding (and don’t forget that each of these areas are still subject to the Terms of Service and Community Guidelines). Areas you can customize uniquely to your brand are:

Placement

Description

Specs

Profile Photo

  • Update Here
  • Channel Page Set Up Help Article

Your profile photo is the image that represents you on your channel page and across Twitch in search, directories, and on the home page.

You can upload a GIF, JPG, or PNG as your profile photo, as long as it is less than 10mb.

Channel Banner

  • Update Here
  • Channel Page Set Up Help Article

Displayed at the top, and most notable on your channel page, your Channel Banner is the background to your hosting, Channel Trailer, and recent broadcast videos.

The recommended size for a Channel Banner is 1200x480px to allow for formatting on all devices and web. You can upload a GIF, JPG, or PNG that is less than 10mb.

Profile Biography

  • Update Here
  • Channel Page Set Up Help Article

Located at the top of the About page, your profile bio should give new viewers a brief introduction to your channel.

Your Profile Biography must be less than 300 characters and does not support Markdown.

Profile Accent Color

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  • Channel Page Set Up Help Article

This color is displayed when users hover over your channel in directory pages. This is your opportunity to stand out and support your branding with colors unique to you.

You can choose any color using a HEX code or by using the slider bars in the settings page.

Video Player Banner

  • Update Here
  • Channel Page Set Up Help Article

Also known as the “Offline Image”

The banner can be uploaded as GIF, JPG, or PNG, should be in 1080x720 or similar video-format sizes, and no larger than 10mb.

Channel Trailer

  • Update Here
  • Channel Page Set Up Help Article

Available to Partners and Affiliates, you can select a video to introduce yourself to non-followers to see when they stop by your channel if you’re offline.

Your channel trailer can be any video in your Video Producer dashboard that is less than 60 seconds long. You can choose a highlight, or upload a custom video.

Social Media Links

  • Update Here
  • Channel Page Set Up Help Article

Displayed in the “About” section next to your Profile Biography, you can select up to 5 social links to support your other social media.

Some links may include icons for the external sites. Please note that the links you submit should adhere to the Community Guidelines and Terms of Service.

Stream Schedule

  • Update Here
  • Channel Page Set Up Help Article

You can let viewers know your regular stream times, or your specific stream content for that week by filling out your Stream Schedule.

For each stream listed within your stream schedule, you’ll be required to choose a start time, duration, day, and category. You can also opt to add in a Stream Title if you want to elaborate on what you’ll be streaming.

Emotes

  • Upload Here
  • Emotes Creator Camp
  • Default Emotes (to start with)

Partners and Affiliates can unlock emotes for their community to use across all of Twitch and as Twitch Stickers on iOS. Along with your emotes, you can also select an emote prefix, which is the 3-6 letter code that goes in front of your emote names. Click on the Default Emotes link to check out some emotes you can use now (until you decide to replace them).

You can upload a single version of your emote and we’ll re-size for you. Or, for each emote, you’ll need to upload 28x28, 56x56, and 112x112 versions of the same image. They should be PNG files, with transparent backgrounds, and not exceed 25kb per upload.

Loyalty Badges

  • Upload Here

Partners and Affiliates can unlock loyalty badges for long time subscribers that appear next to the user’s name only in that channel’s chat.

For each loyalty badge, you’ll need to upload 18x18, 36x36, and 72x72 versions of the same image. They should be PNG files, with transparent backgrounds, and not exceed 25kb per upload.

Cheermotes

  • Upload Here

For 1, 100, 1000, 5000, and 10,000 levels, Partners can upload custom animated cheermotes for use in their own chats when users choose to use Bits.

Cheermotes should be a 112x112 GIF image with a transparent background. You can choose a more advanced set up and upload GIFs for both light and dark modes. The maximum file size is 500kb.

Cheer Badges

  • Upload Here

For 1k up to 5M, Partners and Affiliates can reward users who choose to cheer in their chat with various “Bits Badges”.

Similar to loyalty badges, for each cheer badge, you’ll need to upload 18x18, 36x36, and 72x72 versions of the same image. They should be PNG files, with transparent backgrounds, and not exceed 25kb per upload.

Cheer Emote Rewards

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For 1k up to 5M, Partners and Affiliates can reward users who choose to cheer in their chat by allowing them to permanently unlock an emote when they reach that cheer level.

Similar to emotes, you’ll need to upload 28x28, 56x56, and 112x112 versions of the same image. They should be PNG files, with transparent backgrounds, and not exceed 25kb per upload.

Channel Points

  • Modify Here

Partners and Affiliates can enable Channel Points, which allows viewers to accumulate and spend points on fun rewards that seamlessly add to their community experience.

Similar to emotes, you’ll need to upload 28x28, 56x56, and 112x112 versions of the same image. They should be PNG files, with transparent backgrounds, and not exceed 25kb per upload.

Channel Panels

  • Change Here
  • Editing Info Panels Help Article

Shown below your video player and in the “About” section of your channel page, Panels can host any number of extensions or information pieces. From your Blacksmith list to show your hardware specs, to talking about who you are and the content you produce, or linking to Affiliate or sponsored opportunities, panels are a great way to provide more information to new viewers about who you are.

Images in Panels are automatically scaled to 320px wide. The body of Panels supports Markdown, but not HTML, and images within Panels can link to third party websites.

Once your channel page screams personality, don’t forget to extend that look and feel into your other online presences. A strong, consistent personal brand can be a powerful way to stand out and allow others to easily recognize you across various sites and social media.

Tip: Make sure your channel name is the same as your Twitter or Instagram handle, so viewers can easily find you if they discover your channel outside of Twitch. It’s also a good idea to link to your channel directly in the bio of your social media profiles.

Additional Support & Resources

Related education videos

Level Up - Finding Your Niche on Twitch w/ SimCopter1
Bible?
Level Up: Personal Branding with PVPX
Why Branding Matters: How to Brand Yourself on Twitch And Beyond