Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 8.

Why unfollow an artist on Instagram? The eighth and final part of the survey results on personal branding for artists.

What are the reasons for unfollowing an artist?

We are entering the final spurt. An empirical study on social networks would definitely be incomplete without asking why people unfollow. Let’s jump in.

No surprise to me personally, the main reason for unfollowing is that the artist simply posts too much advertising. Number 2 is also obvious – if you review the previous results. Apparently, fans and followers on Instagram expect a permanent stream of new, creative ideas from an artist. If he/she no longer delivers that, he/she is almost certainly uninteresting.

Diagram What are the reasons for unfollowing an artist?

A little surprise for me is number 3, but understandable. Numbers 4,6,8 also indicate that loss of authenticity and closeness to fans and followers will lead to termination and virtual friendship. The logical conclusion from this is that artists – especially if you are successful – should remain genuine and continue to interact with their fans and followers at eye level and without artificial distance.

Surprising for me also that the loss of the “certain something” of an artist lands relatively far behind in the ranking. Personally, I had expected this to be a more significant reason for unfollowing.

This brings us to the end of this series on personal branding for artists. But an end is also a beginning. A beginning for every artist who can now critically scrutinize their own Instagram account and optimize his or her own unique external image. Good luck with that, I personally will now start to actively distribute the results of this study in the social networks and dedicate myself to the exciting possibilities of artist marketing.

English translation of the questions:

01 too much advertising or sponsored posts.
02 the content of the artist bores me, because he posts the same thing over and over again.
03 the artist has a strongly differing opinion from me and expresses it constantly
04 the artist does not seem authentic anymore
05 he/she posts too much
06 the artist is too arrogant
07 the artist simply gets on my nerves
08 the artist is too aloof
09 the artist becomes increasingly uninteresting for me
10 the artist has lost his/her “certain something”.
11 she/he posts too little
12 there is too little interaction between the artist and his/her followers
13 the artist is too distant
14 other reasons

Stay tuned, now it’s really getting started.

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Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 7.

What character traits make an artist attractive? The seventh part of the survey results on personal branding for artists.

Personal Branding for Artists. What are the right character traits for an artist.

Last week I was so busy with personal branding on my own behalf that I didn’t even get around to publishing the next results of my empirical study. In the last two article we were focusing on imagery.

But now we’re back in the loop. Let’s take a look at what character traits an artist needs to show in order to be attractive to fans and followers.

As you can see in the chart, there is one front-runner: artists should be humorous. This means, of course, that candidates who take themselves and their art too seriously cannot appear so attractive. English translation of the questions below.

Personal Branding for Artists. What are the right character traits for an artist.

Behind this front runner, there is a plateau with 3 rather heterogeneous character traits. Unsurprisingly, if you look at the other results, in 2nd place is creativity. Has a lot to do with the work of the artists, boredom should not arise. A surprising 3rd place was taken by the characteristic of an artist to make fans and followers think. An exciting challenge, which can be seen in the actual work (music, painting, etc.), as well as in the self-presentation of the person (private life, travel, hobbies, etc.). The 4th place is also a surprise for me personally, because the fans and followers expect a person with weaknesses, a normal person. Here you can excellently show the stony path to being an artist yourself, as well as the ups and downs of your private side (if you want to).

The perfect character: approachable, humorous, positive thinking, and being more normal than excentric

Rank 5 is an excellent complement to rank 1. What could be better than the combination of humor with a positive world view? Conversely, this means that artists who enthusiastically whine, lament and are too serious tend to have a harder time.

Number 6 also complements number 4 excellently. An approachable artist who also shows weaknesses puts him at eye level with his fans and followers, combined with the subliminal statement “look, I’ve remained a completely normal person”. This is a great way to communicate credibility and authenticity.

The next surprise is 7th place. I would have expected the participants to prioritize these qualities of an artist significantly more. Now this does not mean that the activity itself is devalued, only other character traits are prioritized higher.

Places 8, 9 and 11 also landed surprisingly far down the list. This means nothing other than that the fans and followers what of the artists do not expect a mental striptease and that also the interaction with the fans and followers is not valued as highly as one would assume in view of the character of Instagram.

Also a surprise is the second to last place. If you look at a lot of artists’ Instagram accounts, you realize that they might take their art far too seriously and thus could have a lower level of attractiveness.

English translation of the questions:

  1. I like humorous artists
  2. I like creative artists
  3. I like artists who make me think
  4. I like artists who also show weaknesses sometimes
  5. I like artists with a positive way of looking at the world
  6. I like approachable artists
  7. I like artists who show what they can do
  8. I like artists who openly show their feelings
  9. I like artists who engage with their fans
  10. I like artists who always surprise me in a positive way
  11. I like artists who are attractive
  12. I like spontaneous, impulsive artists
  13. I like artists who like to party
  14. I like serious artists
  15. Miscellaneous

That’s it for today. There will be more next week.

Stay tuned

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Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 6.

Which photo makes fans and followers curious? The sixth part of the survey results on personal branding for artists.

Personal Branding for Artists. An empirical study. How to create curiosity with a photo?

Last week we looked at the question which categories of photos the participants in the survey like the most. But this is only one aspect of visual communication, because an artist should not only entertain fans and followers, but also actively promote the artist’s activities or events. Therefore, it is only logical to also ask which visual content arouses curiosity/interest. For this reason, two photos were explicitly selected from the portfolio of the artist Federika Rubartelli: number 6 and number 13 (many thanks again to Federica Rubartelli [] for the permission to use the photos).

The results were partly sobering, partly positively surprising. Let’s start with the sobering results. Picture number 13 unfortunately only moved from last to second to last place, picture number 6 from seventh to fifth place. However, these results have to be put into perspective a bit, because I think that the artist’s fans will react differently to both the announcement of the podcast (picture number 13) and the announcement of a series of events (Number 6, Kicks by Federika) compared to the survey participants, to whom the artist was more or less unknown.

How to create curiosity with a photo?

Now to the surprising results: image 16, which shows the artist in a club while djing, has once again landed at number 1, number 9 has moved up one place and – surprisingly – image 8 has made up a lot of ground and landed in third place. However, the gap to number 2 is quite clear and the distance to 4 and 5 is relatively small.

Also surprising to me is the performance of image number 10 in this second round. It slipped from second to fourth place. Image number 15 even slipped from a middle position to last place.

The conclusions in a nutshell: as long as it is obvious that the artist is concerned with his/her art, a picture triggers not only liking but also interest (e.g. image 16).

On the other hand, beautiful photos that are not recognizably related to the artist’s activity trigger less curiosity than those in which the artist is shown “in action.”

To sum it up in one sentence: fans and followers want the 100% perfect, they should be beautiful, appealing, and at the same time include the artist’s activity.

Personal Branding for Artists. An empirical study. How to create curiosity with a photo?

That’s it for today. There will be more next week.

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Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 5

What is the best photo? The fifth part of the survey results on personal branding for artists.

Personal Branding for Artists. An empirical study.

If you’re into Instagram, then it’s natural that you try to figure out which visual styles you can use to attract your fans and followers. That’s why we selected some photos from a real account (many thanks to Federica Rubartelli for sharing the photos).

The photos can be sorted into the following categories:

  • Category 1, the artist at work: number 1 (work unrelated to music), number 8 (the artist in the studio with a colleague), number 9 (the artist at home in the creative process), number 16 (the artist during a DJ session).
  • Category 2, snapshots of the artist: number 10 (a rather spontaneous, very positive photo), number 15 (a rather professional photo from a photo shoot)
  • Category 3, photos directly related to the artist’s work: number 6 (a reference to a podcast), number 13 (a reference to an event of the artist)
  • Category 4, a photo of the artist with acquaintances/friends.
How to choose the best photo on Instagram

Now to the results (bigger photos please see at the end of the article). In the questionnaire there were 2 different questions dealing with these photos. This week we’ll take a closer look at the results of the 1st question “which photo do you like the most?”. For those who have read the previous posts, there are few surprises. Number 16, number 9 and number 1 land on the 1st, 3rd and 4th place. It is directly recognizable in these 3 photos what the artist is doing or it tends to look like work. Herewith also again the consistent confirmation that the work is in the foreground.

Interesting, however, the placement of the image number 8 in penultimate place. This can be explained by the fact that it is not immediately apparent to every viewer that the artist is in a studio. This is most likely only recognizable to experts.

Also no surprise is the cut off of number 10 and number 15, whereby the natural-spontaneous character of the 1st photo was probably the decisive factor for it landing in 2nd place, while the other photo only landed in 5th place.

On the other hand, the placement of the podcast (number 6) and the announcement of the event (number 13) was interesting. Whereby I believe that fans of the artist react quite positively to these announcements.

On the other hand, the photo of the social event only landed on number 6, which was a surprise for me personally, because I would have thought that this would rather land on one of the front places.

How to choose the best photo on Instagram?

That’s it for today. There will be more next week.

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Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 4.

What do you want to see more of? The fourth part of the survey results on personal branding for artists.

More Content please!

Let’s start with more good news for all artists, it seamlessly links up with last week’s survey results: fans and followers are not keen on prize games.

After the good news the bad news, only very few are really satisfied with what an artist offers to his fans and followers. Now – short and sweet – the remaining results.

A big surprise are number 1 and number 2 of the evaluation in combination with number 4. Here again everything revolves around the actual work of the artist. A wonderful opportunity to stand out from the masses of other artists by providing insight behind the scenes of an artist’s life in an target-audience-oriented and creative way.

Number 3 is no surprise, analogous to last week’s survey results.

Number 6 and number 7 are also interesting, why? Apparently, fans and followers certainly expect an artist to display a certain amount of serious thoughtfulness and thereby stand out from the crowd of his/her competitors.

In contrast, interaction with fans and followers is a rather insignificant aspect of an artist’s account.

More Content please!

English Translation of the questions (in the order in which they are listed in the diagram):

  1. more entertaining photos/videos of his/her activity (e.g. music videos, dance videos, etc.)
  2. more surprising and creative ideas
  3. more insights into his/her private life, hobbies, etc.
  4. more insights into his/her daily routine
  5. more stimulating and inspiring posts
  6. more posts that make the artist stand out from the mainstream
  7. more information about the artist’s future events
  8. more great, beautiful photos/videos of herself/himself
  9. more interaction of the artist with his/her followers
  10. everything is fine, I don’t want any more
  11. more prize games
  12. Other

That’s it for today. There will be more next week.

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Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 3

Why do people follow artists on Instagram? The third part of the survey results on personal branding for artists.

Why do people follow artists on Instagram? The third part of the survey results on personal branding for artists.

Let’s start with the good news: you don’t have to offer prize games to be interesting for fans and followers.

Most important reason: the work itself, i.e. the music, the artwork, etc. Conclusion: to be interesting, the work itself must be interesting to followers.

No surprise is the number 3, interest in the artist’s personal life. Number 4 isn’t a surprise as well. Instagram thrives on giving other people a glimpse into your life.

Number 5 is occupied by a positive outlook on life with a good dash of humor. This result is quite surprising, because you can overdo it with humor to such an extent that you make a clown out of yourself, and your seriousness as an artist suffers as a result. Therefore, one should think very carefully in what way one uses this stylistic device.

No surprise is the place number 6, but number 7 is. We personally thought that artists also have a role model function in a certain way, this seems to play a rather subordinate role.

Also a surprise were the places 8 and 9, because one would think that just surprising and creative ideas and standing out from the mainstream are really important for artists.

Was macht einen Künstler interessant auf Instagram?

English Translation of the questions:

  1. I am a fan of the artist (I am a fan of his/her music, books, exhibitions, etc.)
  2. I am interested in his/her personal life (How does he/she live? What hobbies does he/she have? How does he/she spend the day? etc.)
  3. She/he provides information about her/his future events/exhibitions/concerts/readings, etc.
  4. I would like to know more about her/his activities
  5. She/he is simply likeable, interesting, fascinating to me as a person
  6. She/he stands out from the mainstream, is something special in my opinion
  7. She/he has surprising and creative ideas
  8. She/he posts great, beautiful photos/videos of herself/himself
  9. She/he offers prize games
    14.She/he belongs to my circle of friends
  10. I follow her/him out of solidarity among artists
  11. I do something similar to the artist (play music myself, paint myself, DJ myself, …)
  12. She/he shares helpful information about her/his work or the creative process
  13. I like his/her interaction with his/her followers
  14. I get inspired by her/him

That’s it for today. There will be more next week.

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Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 2.

The results of the survey on personal branding for artists again short and sweet. Today we’re looking at the following topics: How do artists compare to other accounts/sites/influencers? And the second exciting question right after that, which categories of artists do the participants follow?

An empirical study about the personal branding activities of artists on instagram

How do artists compare to other accounts/sites/influencers?

Welchen Accounts/Influencer*Innen/Seiten FOLGST DU? Which Categories of Accounts/influencers/pages do you follow?

The art and music category was chosen third most often by the participants. This result was really one of the big surprises in the whole study. The fact that the sports category landed relatively high was no surprise, nor was the poor showing of the science, management and business categories. The fact that fashion, cosmetics and beauty only landed in the midfield was also very interesting for us. And the gaming community seems to have completely different communication channels, Instagram is not one of the favorites. Let’s summarize briefly: Art and music is an interesting category for the participants. Combined with last week’s results (all age groups are on Instagram), a very positive result for artists.

Which artists do the participants follow?

Welchen Accounts/Influencer*Innen/Seiten FOLGST DU? Which Categories of Accounts/influencers/pages do you follow?

Let’s look at the next graph. Which categories of artists do participants follow? The excellent performance of musicians, bands and singers was also again one of the big surprises. Then comes a very big gap to place 2,3,4 and 5. These categories of artists are not so highly ranked in the favor of the participants, as the just mentioned category 1. Why this is so, we will possibly see in the next few weeks with further results. In any case, we can already briefly summarize at this point that the places 2, 3, 4 and 5 still have some potential to rise to the top places in the favor of Instagram users.

That’s it for today. There will be more next week.

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Personal branding survey, the results of the survey. Part 1.

An empirical study about the personal branding activities of artists

Let’s have a look at the results of the personal branding survey. We will make it short and crisp. Today we’re looking at the following questions: age distribution, use of Instagram and how many participants follow artists.

Do you use Instagram?

A quick look at the graph shows that a relatively large number of participants in the study do have an Instagram account. However, one has to be careful above a certain age level. There are only 36 participants older than 45, which is slightly more than 3% of the sample. We can sum up the 36 participants and get the following result: in the age category 46-100, about 38% do not have an Instagram account, while 62% do. Also an interesting result.

So what does this mean for an artist who wants to promote him/herself on Instagram? It’s an interesting channel that reaches a broad age spectrum. What surprised us was that the majority of the participants are now on Instagram.

Do you follow artists on instagram?

Let’s take a look at the next diagram. I have only selected those participants who stated that they follow various artists. Again a surprise, more than 50% follow at least one artist. Many more than we expected.

That’s it for today. There will be more next week.

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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!

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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.

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