Let’s face it, Nigeria’s music industry has a long way to go when it comes to projecting a strong and consistent brand image. When you look at America or South Korea’s music industries, there is a consistency projected from those music industries from their music videos to individual artists. They project a clear message that image matters and they have a vested interest in making sure they look their best whether on video, red carpet, editorial features, radio or promotional appearances etc., when you see any professional from those industries.
When you compare Nigeria’s music industry, it is a hit and miss, solely based on each (individual) artist. There is a need to focus on the image branding aspect of show biz for our artists. Image branding is not purchasing cars you simply cannot afford as it appears to be common these days.
Your brand image clearly communicates what you are about, what your music is about and is more than flashy cars and fancy clothes. It is anything but fake, especially as creative professionals.
One of the few artists in Nigeria’s music industry that seems to get this is (rapper) Eva. (Eva) continues to raise the bar for image branding. Initially when she arrived on the scene, many wondered what exactly her story was. Indeed, she was accused of trying to be everything but herself. Over the years, she has taken those criticisms and channeled it into her own voice that you can now clearly see whenever her name shows up anywhere.
Blame it on her love for makeup and beauty and fashion styling. Whatever the case, there is a committed effort in communicating a consistent brand image of who she is, which has helped raise her star power with fans, media and the public at large.
Let’s look at 4 of those key things that Eva has done well when it comes to image branding.
1. She has a defined style image – Unique sexy mohawks with varying colors of green, red, blonde has become a signature for this artist. She has also really edited this look over time. This in addition to creative fashion styles that she wears, which, again, over time, have become even more refined.
2. She consistently projects her style image and voice across social media networks and offline – It is one thing to have a unique identity. It is another to consistently project your unique identity, your point of view as an artist, on and offline. For Eva, whether it is offline: at a tour, a concert, press event, or online via her social media networks (facebook, twitter or blog page), you see an effort to keep a consistent brand image across all platforms.
3. She consistently projects her brand image via marketing and promotional materials – Her EVA GIGO free EP sold itself starting with the marketing and promotional materials. Often, I see artists have a decent image and voice but when it comes to their marketing and promotional materials, they flip flop on who they are. In Eva’s case, her marketing and promotional materials are always consistent with the image she has already built and continues to build on and offline. When you think Eva, she wants you to think premium quality star and one that can command huge dollars/Naira/pounds and she takes the time to put in the work to get there.
What this means is that if she had leverage in the signing of her deal with Trybes Record, she can, independent of Trybes Records, leverage the power of her trademark via licensing of her name into fragrance, apparel and/ or shoes, cosmetics and what have you. Even if Trybes was able to negotiate a 360 deal with EVA where it dips into her sales from merchandising, the point is Eva has such power and leverage to even license or expand into apparel and other areas because of the brand image she has built. Artists, by now you all should be having your brand names trademarked much the same way Lady Gaga or other brands you know do.
4. She is comfortable being Eva. When you see Eva, you don’t get the sense that she is trying to be what she is not. Her personality is all there to see and take in. She is tomboyish yet loves every part that comes with being a girl i.e. playing dress up, hair, makeup, talking boys and the whole enchilada. She is serious yet funny and full of jokes. She does punch back if punched. She can be flirty (in a good way with both men and women) and she has a natural spontaneous excitement about life. Basically, she is comfortable being Eva.
Artists, if you are not Charly Boy or Charly Boy’s other alter ego known as Linda, for example, don’t create that persona. The reason is when people buy into your persona, you are stuck! You know you are a lot more than a character you create but to that fan, the public and the media, you are always confined to that character. So, create a persona that you know is you and you can keep up with. Basically take a page from Eva and BE YOU.
Now on to the song and graphic design image (pictured above) that I received which inspired this writeup. Interesting foray by Eva into singing. I love the production work on the track. Dope.
“Mannequin E-mix is the first single off the annual Micworx Music free electronic mixes EP: The E-mixes, now in its second volume. The E-mixes are an electronic remake of Indigenous songs, and Volume 2 explores a wider scope of electronic music than its predecessor, incorporating elements of Trance, Progressive house, House, Deep House, Funky House, Dubstep and Complextro. It features original mixes and remixes of songs by various artists including P-square, 2 Face, Capital FEMI, Tiwa Savage, Eva, Shojay, Zara, Kraftmatics, Lucy Edwards, EmmyAce, Dramin and more.
The delectable Eva shows off her singing voice on the mannequin e-mix (The original song appears on her album) telling a story of lost love in these words – “if you could hear me I would tell you that you’re the finest thing I’ve seen; if you could kiss me I would let you kiss me like I’ve never been; But you are just a mannequin”.
Micworx eclectic producer Bigfoot builds a thrilling mix of dubstep and progressive house that gives it a sharp emotional edge, utilizing gritty drums, screaming synths, arpeggios and startling breaks. The result, an unorthodox, beautiful, poignant listen that sets the pace for the e-mixes volume 2.”