How can musicians use visual storytelling in their promotions?

One extremely successful tactic in PR is the use of visual storytelling. In this video I will explain how musicians can use visual storytelling in their promotions, maximising engagement and improving their communications

So, what is visual story telling? By definition it is “communicating visually in forms that can be read or looked upon” – but in practice its far more than that. Visual storytelling comes in many forms, including the use of colour to stimulate emotion, the creation of information packed infographics and simple doodles. What technique you decide to use will completely depend on a number of factors, such as the tone of your communications and your audience.

The way in which musicians can utilise visual storytelling in their promotions is endless. Nowadays music is far more than just getting people to hear your music, you need to engage and entertain your audience as well. Its vital that in such a saturated industry artists find a way to make themselves memorable and stand out from the masses. One major benefit of visual storytelling is the ability to take a band to a brand, creating a nationally recognised visual persona.

One of the most obvious yet successful visual storytelling methods is to embed music and lyric videos into online social media channels. Using visual aids in communications can increase engagement by 150%, consequentially increasing promotional reach.

Another great way to use visuals to your advantage is to create a band logo that is recognisable with a musicians brand. As featured on their first self titled album ‘The Stone Roses’, the stone roses lemon print has become internationally recognised in association with the band. Since the release of the album back in 1989 the band have ensured they include the lemon logo in all forms of promotion, including having lemon themed social media platforms and creating lemon themed tour merchandise.

By giving the brand an identity fans can engage with the lemon notion, joining a community by putting the lemon on their own social media sites, wearing the tour merchandise and in some extreme cases even getting a lemon tattoo, all increasing interaction with the bands brand image.

Once a brand image is established, artists can then use this in their promotions, including campaigns. The Stone Roses PR team recently used this knowledge to come up with an innovative campaign in which posters of the lemon were put up around major cities in the UK, creating online hype prior to the band announcing UK shows and a new single release.

As well as creating a brand logo, artists can also use visual storytelling to personalize their own style. Artists have understood the need to create a visual brand image for years, with the likes of David Bowie creating his Ziggy Stardust persona back in 1972. Artists today also still recognise this, with the likes of Daft Punk and Lady gaga using visual costumes to create a recognisable brand image.

One band that has perfected the use of visual storytelling is American rock band KISS. Formed in 1973, The KISS brand is one of the most famous in music history. In public, they are known by the cartoon-like personas they created, and today, even 40 years after the band formed, people don’t even have to have heard a KISS song to recognise the brand image.

One benefit of Visual Storytelling is the ability for visual social media channels to add authenticity to an artists promotions. Sites such as Instagram allow artists to connect with fans, showing them a behind the scenes insight into their everyday life. Musicians often show images of real life, candid moments, reminding the fans that although they are famous, they are regular people, which creates a likeability factor.

The use of user-generated content is readily growing in popularity in visual storytelling. This is where artists ask fans to create their own visuals, something Ed Sheeran did in his ‘Thinking Out Loud’ official fan video. User generated content allows fans to interact with the music, creating a community, whilst also promoting the artist.

(Please Note: All Italics/Bold are links)



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