Why Brand Name Matters So Much Today
Although I’m not friends with many famous people, I have a lot of friends who ARE friends with famous people. I can usually win a game of six degrees of separation without trying too hard, and I have more opportunities to spend time with musicians and artists than most. Strangely enough, one of these relationships came to mind when I was thinking about search engine optimization and the importance of developing your brand to maximize its visibility and make it findable in online search results.
A few years ago, I was at an anniversary dinner with some friends in Los Angeles. One person at this dinner is a very successful multiplatinum recording artist. That part’s not so relevant to my story – I’m just name-dropping without dropping any names, as I am prone to do. Another guest was a young man, also a musician, whom we’ll call Jack – well, because his name is Jack. Jack seemed to have it all going for him – young, good-looking, funny and charming as heck. After dinner, we attended a small acoustic show where Jack was playing and quickly discovered that, in addition to his looks, humor and charm, Jack is also immensely talented. I’m talking about one of those talents who just blows you away – a voice and sound you don’t expect to hear when wandering into a small venue. All I could think about afterward was how bright his future was going to be.
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However, as I said, it’s been a few years – and odds are you haven’t heard of Jack. I think part of the reason is a fatal mistake that he made, and the dominoes that fell with it. Jack decided that he didn’t want to go the solo singer-songwriter route and instead wanted to be in a band. That in itself wasn’t the problem; they put together a band around him. Personally, I enjoyed his solo work more, but they’re still good. The problem is the name of the band.
They decided to give the band the same name as one of the most popular rock songs in history. If you Google the name of his band, suffice it to say that it won’t be showing up on the first page of results. Or the second. Or even the third. Their marketing, and specifically their SEO, was clearly not a concern when they chose the name and branding for the band. From my perspective, that’s had devastating consequences on potential commercial success.
For previous generations, this wasn’t so important. However, when today’s youth see artists perform at an open mic session or at a small show, the first thing they do afterward is Google them, find their Twitter accounts and follow them on Snapchat. If this is difficult to do because of poorly planned naming, branding or SEO, you’ve lost the game in today’s unforgiving digital world.
When it comes to branding, whether in music or in any other industry, it’s vital to be able to deliver your message to the appropriate target demographics. A big part of that is setting yourself up to succeed by being searchable and findable. How does naming a band after a popular song work toward getting that branding out there and commercializing a product?
If you hear Jack on the radio, let me know – but I won’t hold my breath.