Branding – The Case for Signage at Events

July 10, 2016 by Stu Chisholm

True confession: If you’re a regular reader of mine, you might already know that my articles are often sparked by an online discussion. This one is a prime example. At DJ seminars and conventions, workshops, in the pages of Mobile Beat and other trade publications, and in those online forums, a familiar topic is branding. Branding is to marketing what the periodic table is to chemistry; establishing your brand brings an instant image of you and your company into the minds of your potential clients. Or at least it SHOULD, if you have been marketing that brand correctly. (Or even 171-openair-stu1incorrectly, but over a long enough period of time.)

So in the DJ universe, we’ve been exposed to an endless side. I couldn’t help but wonder, then, why DJs are so gun shy about promoting themselves? (And don’t we also inadvertently advertise companies like EV, Numark and Mackie, via the logos, sometimes lighted, on the equipment we use?)

I also couldn’t help think of Jason Jani, with his name appearing on the back of his laptop at MBLV and at the Tropicana’s nightclub. In every photo of the main stage, there is no doubt who had been spinning the music! Are our events, then, somehow sacrosanct? Does the banquet hall hosting a wedding black out their signs and logos for their couples? A ridiculous thought, right?


Back in the days when orchestras ruled the roost, they sat behind music stands. On the front of those stands was the name and/ or logo of the band. When guitars and keyboards eventually procession of books, articles, seminars and workshops on the topic of branding and marketing, yet for some reason many DJs want to draw the line at continuing the process at the events where they’re performing! This became evident to me when, in a recent forum, the question was asked, “What are your thoughts on having your DJ or company name displayed on your laptop or facade at events”? The answers ran the gamut from “discreetly” to “absolutely no signage, period.” Is it me, or does this relatively arbitrary distinction run counter to what we’ve all been taught via all of those aforementioned sources?171-qsc-stu2

Since the question began talking about laptop screen covers, my first reaction was, “Well, who will you promote? Apple or your company?” Because most of our laptops bear the familiar white bitten apple, or some other equally recognizable symbol. Or even a name; mine is an advertisement for Hewlett-Packard. This seems common in all aspects of American life. I mean, Ford puts their name in CHROME on their cars and trucks! When I’m having my carpet cleaned, a bright yellow van pulls up to my front door with “Stanley Steemer” emblazoned across the replaced the horns and string sections, bands usually put their logo on the main kick drum, or across the back of the keyboard. So why should it be different for a DJ? Our presence in the room is obvious. Isn’t it also obvious that, maybe, our audience might want to know who we are?

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Stu Chisholm Stu Chisholm (55 Posts)

Stu Chisholm had been collecting music since he was about eight years old and began his DJ career in 1979. After much hard work, trial-and-error, and a stint at the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts, he studied the DJ arts with famous Michigan broadcaster, Bill Henning, at a local college. Stu interned at Detroit’s rock powerhouse, WRIF. To his radio and mobile work Stu later added club gigs at Detroit’s best venues, and voiceover work. He has shared his extensive DJ experience through his Mobile Beat columns, as a seminar speaker and through his book, “The Complete Disc Jockey: A Comprehensive Manual for the Professional DJ,” released in 2008.

Filed Under: 2016, Mobile DJ Performance Tips