What bands tend to forget, not everyone at the show knows who they are. Some people are just there to hang out and could care less about the bands. Knowing this, you have to use every tool at your disposal to get your band recognized. It’s no good to entertain a crowd of people and then let them leave not even knowing the name of your band. (It happens…trust me…)
1. Large banner on stage
Displaying your band’s logo prominently while you’re playing has to be the number one way for everyone to know who you are. At any point during your set, people will immediately see who you are.
Simply announcing the name of your band during your set is not enough. You never know at what point someone will or will not be in your audience. People wander in and out the entire time: getting beer, smoking, going to the bathroom, just got to the club, etc. There is no gaurantee your new, potential super-fan will be in the room when you say your band’s name.
Yes, even if someone really digs your band, they can still wander out and miss who you are. Why? Well, there are usually two things that trump your show: alcohol and getting laid.
2. Something free for everyone
Have something with your logo and website that you can give to everyone at that show. Stickers are always good for this, but it could also be EPs or a small piece of artwork. The point is to get your band’s name into everyone’s brain.
An additional benefit, handing out these items gives you an excuse to personally meet everyone in the club which is the best way to get new fans. 400 other bands sound exactly like yours; The only thing that separates you from them is YOU.
3. Large logo on merch booth
In addition to hocking your wares, your merch booth has a secondary role for branding. A well designed (and well lit) logo above your merch advertises your band’s name for the entire night. Even those that didn’t see your set will still see your band’s name.
Posters are just cool. I rarely see bands with posters. I sometimes grab fliers for a show and hang on my wall. A cool poster lives a long life well past your show.
A nifty way to brand yourself at the show is to hang up a cool poster that isn’t tied to a particular show. Just pop up a graphically intriguing poster on the club’s wall. If you’re lucky, someone will steal it.
5. Logos on the Kick drum
6. Logos on the cabs and amplifiers
The grates on guitars and bassist’s speakers can be removed and painted. Grab some cardboard and spray paint to re-design that grate with your band’s logo.
7. Beer coasters
If you’re playing a bar, create some cool beer coasters and give them to the bar. Your band’s name will be underneath everyone’s drink all night long. Maybe all month long.
Everyone smoker forgets their lighter. Give ‘em a nifty band branded set of matches.
9. List of band lineup
Something simple that I’ve always appreciated. Have a clear list on the wall around the club that says who and when each band is playing. I’ve used these lists to know the name of who I’m watching. Maybe it’s just me that notices this crap, though.
10. Custom item for club
Make something really cool just for the club. I’ve seen guitars, broken drum heads, and nice, glossy photos. When people are chilling out, they’ll check out these items on the wall. Another way your band’s name can live on…
I am Chris “Seth” Jackson, a bass guitarist and composer. I am an average musician, working a day job as a software engineer, in pursuit of fulfilling my life’s dream of being a self-sufficient musician. My blog How To Run A Band is about sharing the ups and downs of this adventure and, hopefully, finding great techniques that everyone can use to achieve success in the extremely difficult world of music.
E-mail me: seth _at_ howtorunaband.com