We all know that every company in existence has a certain brand – a look, a message, a name, a logo which are components of the brand’s identity. However, brands can go even further than companies: almost every music artist has created their own specific brand identity that coincides with their musical identity.
In the past year, there were so many music artists who released albums and singles that reflected elements of different styles of music which they might not be known for. And their music is not the only thing that changed – these artists also started to dress differently, presenting themselves in a much more distinct manner, and even tailored their social media platforms and general lifestyles to reflect all of these changes. Everything that was changed had something to do with what type of brand they wanted to create or recreate for themselves. And sometimes the first sign of this rebranding comes out of the kind of music they release!
One of my favorite artists, Lady Gaga, is pretty much the queen of rebranding and experimentation. Her music is constantly changing along the pop spectrum and she is known for her wardrobe choices that reflect the free-spirited, creative genius she has always been. However, her newest album, Joanne, is very different from her other albums. The music is not based on dance anthem beats and vocals instead it reflects a bigger countrified pop, songwriter’s vibe creating a sound that stands out from her other work, particularly as this is the first solo album after ARTPOP in 2013. According to the Guardian’s review of Joanne by Caroline Sullivan, this album, in particular, pulls back “the look-at-me layer” and is based on “the big, clear voice and life-as-she-sees-it honesty” which makes Joanne stand out as Gaga’s time to be seen as “just Stefani Germanotta for a while.”
Lady Gaga’s new album represents a new era of Gaga. She is newly single, after her engagement with Taylor Kinney ended this year. She has become increasingly vocal in terms of politics, protesting the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. Although her outfits are still considered risqué by a good amount of the media, Gaga has been wearing a lot of cropped shirts and jean shorts: something that is a large contrast to her stylistic choices of the past. And even though Lady Gaga is not the only artist who has rebranded themselves, she is an incredible example as she has constantly proven how eccentric and unpredictable she is as an artist and as a fashion icon.
As for the rest of us who are not music artists and songwriters, we all have the chance to rebrand ourselves. From the March 2011 issue of the Harvard Business Review, Dorie Clark discusses how “taking control of your personal brand may mean the difference between an unfulfilling job and a rewarding career.” Although it is important to keep your future career in mind, sometimes rebranding yourself happens when your goals and values shift at a certain age.
Using myself as an example, I am a proud ex-fangirl – my days as an online, twitter-social media One Direction guru have been over for some time now. For a lot of people my age, the age of social media has effected the way they brand and present themselves. We prided ourselves on aligning with certain musical fanbases, displaying how well we knew our social media app or website of choice, and dedicating ourselves to celebrities by going to all of their shows and waiting for that one ten second moment where we would get a picture. Now, that I am older, I have become much more mellow and I have moved out of that fangirl stage to the point that most of my social media surrounds cute animal videos, memes, makeup videos, and posting things from my life instead of posting about the music artist or celebrity of my choosing.
Even if I still carry remnants of my past-self (just ask me about One Direction and I will still be able to tell you their whole life story), I am transitioning into my semi-adult life with the want to make my social media profiles good and professional representations of who I am. And for the most part, life is just an adventure of creating new and differentiated identities for yourself and the brands you might represent!