Personal Branding for Artists – An Empirical Study, Part 1

The Corona pandemic has hit artists particularly hard. No matter whether they are musicians, DJs, actors or singers, most have been driven into vocational isolation. As bad as the situation is, you can still do something for yourself and your own marketing. And that brings us to the heart of my study, Personal Branding for Artists.

An empirical study about the personal branding activities of artists

I can’t help any artist financially, but I can perhaps give one or the other artist a little push in the direction of self-marketing with my expertise. Maybe then the forced standstill will have a positive Phoenix-from-the-ashes effect.

What is this study about?

Together with my student assistant, Ms. Katharina Ebner, I started this project last year. It was clear to us that we were focusing on Instagram, because this social network is used by a great many people of completely different ages. We wanted to find out how artists perform compared to other influencers from completely different fields (for example, fitness, fashion, cosmetics, etc.). Another important point was to analyze the reasons why fans and followers follow their artists and to what extent there is room for optimization in the relationship with fans and followers. True to my motto: if you can’t directly create or improve something with a research finding, then it was for the trash can.

Is this study valid?

We had a total of 1047 valid returns. This is a pretty good number and so far my best result in any of my empirical studies. The study period started on Jan. 4, 2021 and ended on Feb. 1, 2021. Without giving much away in advance, some of the results were surprising to us, but more on that in the following weeks.

What happens next?

I promised to make the results of this study available for free, in a way as a small, non-monetary support for the artists. Today it starts, be curious!

Stay tuned

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pBrand of the week: Matuschke

Matuschik pBrand of the week

Matthias Matuschik has provided me with an absolutely perfect blueprint for rebooting the whole personal branding theme. Last week, he had an exciting breakdown. What was it about? In an astonishingly aggressive manner, he lashed out at the boy band BTS, comparing them to a virus (for which a vaccine should soon be found) and calling the band members „Pisser“. This led to a worldwide shitstorm, a remarkable achievement for a radio host of a public radio station from Bavaria.

pBrand success factors

And that brings us to the middle of one of my two favorite topics, personal branding. Personal branding (pBranding) has a lot to do with generating attention. Mr. Matuschik has managed to do that. However, most want to stand out positively in the perception of their target groups. Mr. Matuschik did not manage to do that. Personal branding also has quite a bit to do with conscious, goal-oriented and deliberate action. However, based on the tone of the recording (, it is reasonable to assume that his failure had little to do with deliberate action. Rather, Mr. Matuschik apparently talked himself into such a rage that terms such as the comparison with the virus and the expression “pisser” slipped out of his mouth.

Music, like art, is a matter of taste, and if BTS cover Coldplay’s “Fix You,” let them. And if that’s bad in his opinion, so what. I withhold my opinion on the song at this point, otherwise I run the risk of Mr. Matuschik insulting me as well.

Predictable behavior of the fans? Could it be foreseen?

But a shitstorm always involves two parties, and for a long time I have left the fans out of it. To those who have harassed Mr. Matuschik’s family, I would like to say: it is only music and music is a matter of taste. Even if the band members are something like godlike figures for the fans, you don’t have to lead a campaign against another person. It also goes more civilized. Nevertheless, Mr. Matuschik should have been aware that the aggression potential of the fans of a goy group here is very powerful when you start to scratch the godlike status of the band.

And what do we learn from this? Conscious and long-term oriented action is the real core of a person brand.

Other satirists, different reaction?

However, it should be noted at this point that the matter would probably have ended differently if Oliver Kalkofe or Jan Böhmermann (German Satirists) had made this statement. But the two would also have provoked deliberately and on purpose (and perhaps considered possible consequences beforehand).

That was the firstto series pBrand (Personal Brand) of the week.

Stay tuned.

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A Christmas gift for executives – personal branding with how2change

Hey pBranders, thursday next week (17.12.2020) at 6:00 pm there will be an early Christmas present for executives. I’ll be chatting with Christa Wilhelm, Tom Mühlmann and Daniel Frystacki about my favorite topic, personal branding. An interactive online event about personal branding as a success factor for executives.

Personal Branding with how2change

Many many years ago, I worked intensively with Christa Wilhelm – at that time in her function as Head of Marketing at Microsoft Deutschland GmbH – on marketing dashboards, optimization of operational advertising campaigns and on defining value propositions. Then we lost sight of each other, because Christa started her own business how2change and I turned to other topics; still marketing, but other customers.

But you know the saying: you always meet twice in life. Not too long ago, I met Christa again and we talked about our areas of work without any obligation. We talked about personal branding and a few weeks ago I was invited to participate in the next interactive online event. There was not much to think about, I spontaneously said yes, because I personally like the format very much. Not much is revealed about the content, just a few keywords:

  • Why is personal branding more than nice homepage, a fancy LinkedIn account and a little bit kling kling around your person?
  • What exactly can be understood by a journey into one’s own competitiveness?
  • What are the first steps in implementing a personal brand?

The rest is a surprise. I’m looking forward to the date next week and of course I’m also looking forward to a lively participation. Stay tuned.

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The ministry of health’s discriminating perspective on artists in corona times.

The German Ministry of Health apparently has its own idea about the situation of the artists: they lie at home dreaming and lazy on the carpet, fantasizing and enjoying the lavish lockdown compensation.

Künstler in Corona-Zeiten. Artists in Corona Times.
Quelle: Süddeutsche Zeitung vom 05.12.2020. Translation: I want to experience my audience live again, therefore I stick to AHA (keep distance, pay attention to hygiene and – where it gets tight – wear a mask)

Funny, all the musicians, DJs, singers, etc. I’ve talked to tell me something different. Also in the newspapers you could read reports about artists who harvested cucumbers in the summer or other people had to clean other people’s apartments so that they could buy anything to eat. Against this background, the (perhaps well-intentioned) advertisement of the Federal Ministry of Health seems like a sheer mockery.

The picture shows a musician, who is obviously in great shape and is dreamily composing the next song. But maybe he’s just lying there listening to his growling stomach, because he doesn’t earn anything at the moment and therefore can’t buy himself anything to eat. Only the employees of the Ministry of Health or the responsible advertising agency can reveal this secret.

Do artists really work? The MoH might have a different perspective…

Is that the idea of the responsible employees in the ministry: artists are not relevant to the system, do not work properly anyway and are therefore not worth protecting? In my opinion, artists are very much relevant to the system, art is an expression of civilization. Even if perhaps the expression of some art forms does not necessarily correspond to the ideas of elderly ladies and gentlemen. This is always made abundantly clear to me when I discuss my musical hobbies with colleagues. Especially the keyword “Techno” evokes reactions between pitiful devaluation and obvious horror.

But perhaps the explanation is much simpler, the responsible employees have not taken into account my often expressed advice: “it is not the question whether an advertisement can be misunderstood, but how it can be misunderstood”. If I have no idea about a subject or want to address a target group that I do not know, then I ask at least one member of this target group. But obviously the decision makers don’t have much to do with artists, otherwise such a faux pas wouldn’t have happened.

What is particularly sad about this advertisement is that many musicians would support the central statement, but please do not use it in combination with this picture. In Corona times this does not really correspond to the self-image of all artists.

I’m waiting for the next Saturday, let’s see which advertising firecracker is in the newspaper again.

Stay tuned.

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All problems solved! Discover the power of the pBranding-Ishikawa-Diagram.

Today I am introducing a very special tool, the Personal Branding Edition of the Ishikawa Diagram. You will be surprised how easy it is to successfully initiate changes. The key is to realize that you get a grip on the causes of your behavior. How? Enjoy reading.

the personal branding ishikawa diagram

In the last article I presented a simple tool to analyze the use (or waste) of your time. A very simple categorization should help you to think a little bit more consciously about this whole topic and find some areas for improvement. Today we will go one step further.

In today’s video, I would like to introduce a tool that is no longer dewy, but still up-to-date and very helpful: the Ishikawa diagram. You often find the term fishbone diagram or cause-effect diagram. This tool is used in quality management especially for the identification of quality problems and the elimination of their causes.

The Japanese Kaoru Ishikawa realized relatively quickly that there is no point in putting off problems and thinking up all kinds of tricks to live with them. No, it makes more sense to get to the bottom of the problems, identify their causes and then get them under control. And what has long been a standard for quality management should only be fair for personal branding. In the video I present the first part of the Personal Branding Edition of the Ishikawa Diagram. Have fun with the video.

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Amazon and the invention of the social image washing machine

Amazon Image Ad. Source: Süddeutsche Zeitung 28.11.2020. Translation: I have not spoken a word of German. When I arrived here from Syria, I did not understand anyone. I had to start from zero. That was hard. But I managed it.
I really always wanted to improve – for myself and for my family. Here at Amazon I have the feeling that I can always develop. I am trusted to teach others, to help others. Being a refugee was very difficult, but now I am an instructor at Amazon.
Mohanad, Mönchengladbach.

On Saturday Amazon gave me a push to write another article about advertisements. Before you continue reading, please take a look at the photo and read the text more carefully. Doesn’t this automatically make you wonder and critically question whether this portrayal of the company as a highly social enterprise is really credible? Overall, this ad is not badly made, but it does leave a slightly irritating impression. Why?

In my opinion, the company has exaggerated a bit too much or has sent the whole issue through a rather pink filter. In my opinion, a very important clue is missing. The cornerstone of almost all careers is an employee’s ability to perform and work as part of a team. Those who produce results and integrate themselves positively into a social environment, rise up. But this is not what this advertisement is about, only the willingness of the employee to improve. This willingness in all honour, but it is only the prerequisite for a career, not the guarantor. Probably the harsh reality would not have fitted the positive presentation of the employee’s personality. But it would have been more honest, because in the perception of the population, American companies tend to stand for a practiced, sometimes hard performance principle.

In addition, the reporting on the company and on Jeff Bezos in recent years has led to Amazon’s rather negative image: monopolist, opponents of trade unions, harsh working conditions, etc. In my opinion, it is precisely this contrast that is responsible for the irritating impression. Therefore it would have been more credible and honest if Amazon had added here that everybody can become something if they really perform.

Long live the freedom of theory! The new, practice-oriented approach in my marketing lecture at the THD


In this article I would like to introduce a new lecture format. I had nothing else in mind but to develop the perfect marketing lessen. It should combine marketing know-how, SEO knowledge, the professional handling of social networks, and a lot of fun. Did I succeed? More on this in the article.

The basic idea behind the marketing lecture:

Attentive readers of my blog know that I like experiments. During the shutdown in the summer term I started to develop innovative electives based on a new version my personal branding concept. The students should learn to market themselves authentically and credibly. Not just theoretically, but very practically. In addition, the students should not only improve their concepts slowly and coached by me in learning loops, but also transfer this into practice. It was clear to me from the very beginning that the core of the whole subject would be a WordPress blog run by a student team. The students should be completely free to choose their thematic focus, so that the fun of the whole thing is not neglected.

The concrete learning outcomes or how to acquire blogging and marketing know how.

  1. Acquire basic marketing know-how about blogging. Since many companies are looking for ways to present themselves optimally, this is an investment for the student’s professional future. They can also prove that they have really gained practical know-how and have not only heard about blogging in theory. Of course it was obvious to use the secret worldwide standard – WordPress – as a basis for the activities. Especially because there are a lot of interesting, free plugins for optimizing a blog.
  2. Acquire basic SEO know-how. It’s much easier to teach students the SEO-tricks by analyzing and optimizing their blog posts and with the help of the excellent MathRank plugin, rather than spend a long lecture session rambling on this topic.
  3. Professional use of social networks. Most students have social media accounts, but few have thought about how to use them professionally. Especially WordPress is perfectly suited to act as an efficient spider in your own communication network. There are also some plugins (some free of charge, some with a 30-day trial period) that can be used to automatically connect social networks to your own blog in order to efficiently distribute your messages in many different channels. This is also a form of marketing know-how that every student can use in one way or another in his or her professional future.
  4. Through teamwork, students learn to coordinate, develop a communication plan and thus act professionally.

The results of the marketing lecture:

I was really enthusiastic about the results. The students threw themselves into the work with excitement and drive. And produced really interesting and great content. Here are a few notes about the teams and their activities:

  1. thePsyTravelers. Concentrated psychological know-how combined with really great travel descriptions.
  2. mere exposure. Psychological knowledge to manage business challenges and about everyday life excitingly prepared.
  3. unlock your free time. Valuable tips, tempting recipes and exciting stories to make the Corona time worth living again.
  4. simple sustainability. A great blog about sustainability. Lots of valuable ideas and suggestions to encourage people to think about their own behavior and thus to plant sustainability unobtrusively in as many heads as possible.
  5. weekly dose. The weekly dose of tips and tricks that make everyday life easier while providing varied entertainment.
  6. IGDA. The Road to DJ. A very honest and wonderfully authentic summary of the ups and downs on the way to becoming a professional DJ. With lot of music and many tips.

The results are really worth seeing and I would like to invite you to visit all the sites, to like intensively and to comment intensively as well.

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How do you implement and improve your Personal Brand?

During my time at Siemens I learned a a lot about concepts and their implementation. In too many cases my colleagues spent too much time developing an exciting and more or less perfect concept. But they completely forgot the implementation and continuous improvement process. Having these situations in mind I developed a simple but effective continuous improvement process for your personal brand. In the video you will find the short overview. Enjoy the video.

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Why is the marketing of one’s own personality an important complement to one’s own performance?

In the second part of my approach to the nature of a personal brand, I briefly dealt with the topic of performance and result orientation. In the third and last part, the focus is on personality. It is the core of the brand identity of a personal brand, similar to the brand identity of product brands. Here, it is primarily a matter of communicating an authentic and trustworthy image based on one’s own psychological profile. The highlights are presented in the video. Have fun watching.

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Why does personal performance play such an important role in the development of a personal brand?

Anyone who has rummaged around in my blog will soon realize that, unlike many other personal branding experts, I don’t focus on personality, but on the performance of a person. Why? If you are a nice guy, but your performance is interchangeable, there is a good chance that your customer will still take the better-priced competitor. Your competitive advantages are limited.

If you are a nice guy and your service is unique and competitive, then a customer will accept a higher price or your future employer is willing to pay a higher salary. However, building a unique offering involves a lot of effort, unlike the little bit of klinkling around presenting yourself. More about this in the video.

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