Understand What A Brand and Image Really Represent
As an artist you are a Brand and your Image is a part of that brand. Your music is your product.
With that being said, you have to really understand how your actions affect one or the other especially in light of trying to build a fanbase and audience.
A Brand has longevity, it defines you as an artist and who you are. It encompasses your image, you style, your persona and basically your entire package that your fans can identify or admire.
Think of many brands and how you perceive them like BMW, Mercedes, Rolex, Nike, Walmart or Nordstrom. What sets them apart and what comes immediately to your mind when you see it or think of it?
The building blocks of your brand is to really understand who you are and what you are representing but at the same time it needs to genuine because anything fabricated will be hard to maintain.
The music that you make, your style, what makes you unique and what can make you the "representer" of your audience. You can't just say I am like this person because that person already exist, so why should they follow you if they can follow the original.
You have provide your audience with something that they look to attain or something that they simply admire. In the entertainment industry it is called the "IT Factor".
The "IT Factor" is an energy that a person can exudes that people immediately gravitate to like commanding the room as soon as that person enters. The Image is a representation or your packaging.
Giving you audience something genuine and extraordinary is what will build your fanbase. Try to set yourself apart from the individuals that you admire and let them be them. Find yourself but understand that an audience will follow when they are intrigued by what you have to offer.
Your audience follows you because you give them something they they either admire, idolize, or respect. Something that they may aspire to be and get it fueled through you.