Going From Zero To Branded
Life is different than it was yesterday, right? A huge change is technology and running a business, even a tiny one, has mega changed too.
After all, we’re the science fiction humans of yesterday. More productive, empowered, entertained and connected than ever, from our watches to our computers. And our super tech-saviness is growing fast (In fact, I'm pretty sure our Atari playing, 8-track listening selves from the not-so-distant past would be in awe).
But all this technology impacts your micro business (made up of probably just you). You compete daily with an amount of content that’s hard to fathom. And it’s grabbing the attention of your fans and customers away from you at light-speed. Here’s a crazy stat for perspective.
“…five exabytes of content were created between the birth of the world and 2003. In 2013, 5 exabytes of content were created each day.” - Susan Gunelius, ACI
So, GEEZO! What can one person do? Well, part of the answer is you've got to get noticed (I know, rocket science, right?). But you can do it and it might be easier than you think. I have 7 ways for you to up the ante by creating an epic art brand. Plus, an added bonus as a vita boost.
Let’s start with the bonus tip. I call it the ultra memorable formula. Use it when you can with any of your marketing.
Here it is...
The Ultra Memorable Formula is...
the unexpected + a relatable event + an emotional connection
To back this up, the super smarty scientists over at Sciencedaily.com and human-memory.net shared their studies on the way neurons in our brains react to help us remember. Basically, it comes down to this. We remember best when something is unexpected, relatable and emotional.
Here’s how it works with your art brand. Let’s say you’re a ballet dancer and you’re posting on Instagram. Instead of posting the usual pic of your gorgeous self on pointe (which I lovvve, by the way), try this. Post one of you kicking back in a lawn chair, feet up on a fence, pointe shoes on, laughing while reading the newspaper comics.
Putting these together (ballet, the outdoors, relaxation, and laughter) creates a perfectly blended 'memory' smoothie, good for all the muscles and joints in the brain. Your image is now 'ultra memorable'. And the best part is you can do this with text, images, or video.
Takeaway - To be more memorable, catch people a little off guard while hooking them with an emotion and a relatable event. If people remember you, they’ll remember to talk about you.
Soooo, back to this branding thing.
Branding is simply how you bundle up your brand in a handsome package and take it to market. In other words, it's how you present it with color, tone, and spoken or unspoken messages. And all you need is a little effort to come out looking spiffy and sharp. If you haven't branded your art yet, you've really got to try these...
1. Write Your Unique Value Proposition & Share It
There’s no one like you in 7 billion and it’s important to tell people so. Your unique value is that ‘special gravy’ that makes you different from everyone else (ok, ‘special sauce’ to you, but I'm craving biscuits and gravy, so…). Here’s what a UVP is specifically:
“A unique value proposition is what differentiates your promise of value from every other similar promise in the same industry. It’s the thing that makes you stand out and earn a special place in your audience’s hearts and minds. It’s what keeps people coming back to YOU in particular…” – Tony Khuon
Pssst... and don't let people try to figure it out on their own for goodness sakes. A UVP is a direct message to fans and customers that aims to get them to see you in a certain way. Create it by writing a short, straightforward paragraph or two, but no more. Then deliver it in print and post it online.
Here’s one I wrote for you as an example:
“As a sculptor, I’ve set myself a bit apart from others by creating one-of-a-kind pieces that are unique in my field. Take a look at this traditional sculpture next to one of my own and you’ll see the difference. You might notice how my sculptures look cartoon-like. It’s true my early love of cartoons is infused into my work.”
You get the point, right? Just give people the words they need to talk about you and you’ll have a commercial that fans can replay to others over and over again on your behalf.
P.S. If you don’t know what makes you special, don’t feel bad. Sometimes we haven’t put words to it yet (although if you ask your mom, she’ll know). To figure it out, compare/contrast yourself to others in your field and jot down synonyms that express your work or the thing that sets you apart. The words you come up with will be a starting point for crafting your UVP.
Takeaway - Your UVP helps people decide why you're the best to follow, support or buy from. Clearly spell out the thing that makes you special. Post it wherever you market to fans to create buzz words and phrases they can use to talk about your brand.
2. Write a Mission Statement
Your mission statement declares your business strategy. It tells what you do, the value you bring, how you do it and for whom. It's different from your UVP which tells people mainly of only your mystical powers (aka 'special gravy'). And it's often more for your personal use to keep you clearly focussed as you navigate your business.
“As an entrepreneur, your company’s mission statement should be concise and specific so your customers understand your purpose and how you provide value to them.” Patrick Hull, Forbes
For example, the ArtsRow.com mission tells how "...we support artists by helping them market to the people around them for free. We provide a place online for them to showcase their artwork or talent locally and we offer great tools that help people filter their search with ease."
Takeaway – Your mission statement helps you stay focussed on why you do the awesome thing you do. It guides your decision making and leads to better success as you follow it.
3. Tell Your Story
Your story like your value is unique. Tell your truth. Be authentic. And keep it short so it can be retold. It doesn’t have to be sensational. Open, honest and personable is the home run. For inspiration on crafting yours, take a look at these super cool brand stories:
Takeaway – Your brand is your story. Tell it straight up and remember the KISS principle - Keep It Simple Sexy (truth be told, I always thought you were sorta sexy).
4. Create an Intro Video
The Huffington Post shared this:
“Nielsen and the IAB report, that video is also known to make a marketing campaign more effective through generating an increase in brand recall (+33%) and message recall (+45%).”
That really just means using video makes you a whole lot more memorable than without it. So, I say use it. Even a short one can bring your content to life and give it personality, tone and voice (yours, good-lookin’, to be exact).
Here’s a sample 60 second script I created to give you an idea. You can use the prompts to make one of your own:
Sample Video Script:
>> A Greeting
“Hi. It’s Beth. I’m here today to tell you a bit about me and my talent.”
>> About Your Art or Talent
“I’m a theatre actress. It all started 4 months after I lost my job. I decided to start acting as a way to work on my confidence. That was 13 years ago and I’ve grown to love creating through acting.”
>> The Inspiration Behind It
“When I enrolled in drama classes at my local college, I discovered I could use my frustration to fuel my creativity. I guess it was like, ‘Well, you’ve got nothing else to do right now. So show ‘em what you’ve got.’ I remember feeling kinda like I had something to prove, at least to myself. Now I’m here years later making this video for you.”
>> A Closer
“I hope you enjoy the pictures I post. I love your mail and comments. Remember a new opportunity is just around the corner if you’re willing to take it. You can find me on my blog, Arts Row, Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. Bye for now and God Bless!”
Takeaway – Create a short video to share with fans (1 – 3 minutes). Post it on your website and social media accounts and apply the ultra memorable formula if you can.
5. Choose a Theme
Writers often use a theme to relay an unspoken message. In the same way, you can use a theme to breathe life and meaning into your brand. Unlike your UVP, your theme attaches an overall feeling to your brand through your choice of words, font, colors, and images.
Sofia Amoruso (founder of NastyGal.com and author of #GirlBoss) nailed it by mixing girly innocence with womanly sensuality. From her choice of brand colors (pink and black) to her logo (graffiti-ish), she's proven she's a top-shelf brand mixologist.
Here are some other themes to get you thinking:
Heroism and Identity Crisis (DC comics, Death of a Salesman)
Man/Woman vs. Nature (Naked and Afraid)
Underdog vs. The Giant (David & Goliath)
Aging and Rebirth (Prudential – ‘start anew, enjoy retirement’ campaign)
Journey and Return (Corona – ‘find your beach’ campaign)
Takeaway – A theme gives your brand an overall message and tone. It drives which branding elements you'll choose to put together to give people a feeling about you. Your brand is how you package your art up and your theme is the style that portrays a feeling that your tribe can relate to.
6. Choose a Logo & Brand Colors
A Logo is a must-have. Without one, you have no visual hook from which to hang your brand on in the minds of fans and patrons. Most entrepreneurs are short on cash. So, you might consider simply using your name in a special font as your logo - which you can totally do for free (here's one of many resources with free fonts for commercial use... Font Squirrel). There are also tons of sites for designing your own logo.
Watch this short video if you want help getting started.
How To Create A Logo
As for color, big biz uses it as the cornerstone of its brand to impress a feeling and support their mission. Think of Starbucks, Coca-Cola, and UPS and you instantly know their colors. Since color influences thought and behavior, it's easy to see why big brands choose the ones they do.
So, let’s get you acting like big biz with brand colors and all. Just because you’re little, doesn’t mean you’re not mighty (micro-businesses contribute $2.4 trillion to our GDP and employ more than 31 million people - AEO, The Huffington Post).
Starting here will make choosing your colors simple.
Takeaway - Create a visual calling card for your brand by using colors and a logo consistently on your website, business cards, flyers, and social media. Hey, you could think of it as dressing your art up in nice clothes and new shoes to go on a date with fans.
7. Align Your Business Self With Your Brand
As an entrepreneur, your business self and your true self are usually one in the same (totally ideal here). However, there are times when the two might not totally match up. Since you are your brand, it’s a good idea to take a look and see.
Here's an example of an artist who's not quite aligned with his business.
Joe Smith has left the city to pursue his dream in the country. His UVP is making kites from 100% recycled materials. His mission is to deliver the best ‘green’ kite ever made at the best price. His theme is rebirth and conservation. And his story is sacrificing for values – CEO turned self-made, humbled entrepreneur. However, he's been delivering kites to customers in his $47,000.00 Porshe wearing his Rolex. His business self is representing something different from the brand he's sharing with the world.
Now, it’s completely fine if you drive a nice car (in fact, if you want to get rid of one, I’m totally open to taking it). I just want you to know that to lots of people, you represent what they esteem, admire, aspire to, etc… (you’re sort of a super hero, I’m just sayin’) and they may unfairly put a lot of stock into it.
So, while they may not always have a realistic view of you, it’s important for your business that you’re aware of how your customers see you. Ask yourself what your fans and customers want from you and what you’re willing to give them. Follow your gut and your heart. You’ll build authenticity and credibility with your transparency and sincerity.
Takeaway - Be yourself unapologetically. Align your business self with your brand as much as possible and you'll solidify it as credible and trustworthy.
Ok. Thanks for hangin' out with me. I love when we get together.
I’ll leave you with a quote from my favorite poet who knew something about people. She wrote,
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
- Maya Angelou
Remember you’re a ARTIST SUPER HERO with the power to make people fall in love with your special brand of talent. So get out there and be unapologetically unforgettable, Your Awesomeness!
Sciencedaily.com, Wikipedia.com, human-memory.net, Forbes.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Paula Soito is the founder and CEO of Arts Row, the first website of its kind solely dedicated to connecting American Artists to patrons by location which now serves artists in 49 states. She is a contributing writer at Art Market Magazine, an international publication spotlighting the world's most highly respected, living artists. Her articles, tools and courses have helped spur growth in the growing global arts industry which now tops $63bn in total volume by sales (2016 TEFAF Art Market Report artmarketmonitor.com). Her work has been published in print and digital and has been seen in countries around the world including the US, UK, Canada and China. Paula Soito has written for, been covered by, or seen in, Art Market Magazine, Follow Magazine, Barnes & Noble, Rand McNally....