January 2, 2012

The Business Side of Second Life Music - Your Brand

You may know me as Mankind Tracer, a live performer in Second Life since 2006. I have also toured for 20+ years in real life before stumbling across SL. This blog post is not about me or promoting anything I'm doing. I only want to share a bit of insight into the business side of being a live musician (as my business) in Second Life.

In real life I've owned businesses pretty much my entire adult life. One of them is a professional website/graphic design firm. I've done work for Coke, Pepsi, Ralph Lauren, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., etc. Why am I mentioning this? One of the first things I ask my clients that are, for example, seeking a new website is... Do they have a logo? Do they have a corporate identity or brand? Many do have a logo, but between you, me and the walls, they are usually not very professional nor do they represent their companies in a professional aesthetically pleasing manner, especially when it comes to the smaller businesses. And that leads me to the main point: A small business, like the SL performer, needs its brand. You may start promoting yourself without it, but it's a huge plus if you already have a logo. It separates you from the newbies and people will have an impression that you are a bigger fish in the pond.

A company's brand, in my opinion, should be one of the first steps when beginning a marketing and/or PR campaign. Without brand recognition, a company will likely have to work harder to build themselves up to a point where they are recognizable. Look at any product in your home... Coke, Pepsi, even the Post Office has a logo. I sit staring at Apple's logo every day on my computer. There's a logo on my printer, on my jeans even on the tools in my garage. Just about very company who has had success has a solid brand identity.

Take a quote from Sir Richard Branson: "The music industry is a strange combination of having real and intangible assets: pop bands are brand names in themselves, and at a given stage in their careers their name alone can practically gaurantee hit records."

And here's one from Ralph Lauren: "When you think of the blur of all the brands that are out there, the ones you believe in are the ones you remember."

Artists performing in Second Life are similarly, a business... no different that Pepsi. Seriously? Yes... seriously! Ignoring the obvious size difference between Pepsi and my own SL music career, I look at what I'm providing in SL as a business. I need a logo, marketing, PR, etc, etc. Same as Pepsi. Sure they do it on a larger scale, but the principles are the same.free, free, music, marketing, blog, free, free, free, music, pr, baby, son, kid, child, love, seo,blog,free,free,free,free,free, live music, make money, money, free money, gift, gifts, seth regan, mankind tracer, secondlife, second life, sl, facebook, twitter, social, alexa rank

Look in Second Life, there are tons of businesses... clothing, fashion designers, builders, animations, scripters, etc. What the successful SL businesses have in common with each other is that at some point, they knew that one of the first steps in marketing their company is creating a logo or brand identity. SL artists are similarly a company, a brand, and should be treated as such. As a  musician, my product is my music and the  service I offer are the shows I perform. You bet your booty I make sure to include my logo on as much marketing as I can.

When I use the word "logo", I'm not talking about making some colorful rainbow text and calling that a logo, or having you neighbor who "happens to own a copy of Photoshop" come up with something. I'm talking about creating a cool icon, something that represent the artist, professionally, something that states what her/his music is about and is totally recognizable so that when friends and fans see it, they KNOW it's that particular musician's post or event. Look at other artists like ACDC, Kiss, Foo Fighters, and on and on, and thousands of others who have a recognizable brand identity. Whether you have given it thought or not you, "SL performer", you are a business and need branding!

I have been very fortunate to have had my share of success in SL. The global friends and fans have been nothing short of amazing to me, but I'll tell you straight, the first step I took when I first started performing in real life was creating my own logo and brand identity.

To reiterate that from a professional standpoint, I would strongly suggest to Second Life performers, old and new, that the over saturated music scene is going to continue to grow and in order to set yourself apart, take the "right" first step and get a professional designer to create your logo. It may cost a few dollars, sure, but it will cost you more in the long run not to do it.

In the least... just think about it.

I wish you the very best for health and prosperity in the New Year.


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