What Is Branding and Why Is It Important?
By staking your claim and protecting your investment as an artist, a strong brand will represent to your clients that you are professional.
Big companies, small businesses, independent artists; whatever, we all need a brand for two main reasons: location and longevity.
Location – People need to be able to find you easily. If they can’t locate you, you can be damn sure they won’t be buying anything from you.
Longevity – Even if they can find you, what’s the use if they then don’t remember you? Think of branding as a stamp by which the public will come to recognize you. Typically a strong logo and color scheme are essential to being identifiable.
Do Artists Need Logos?
Let me first establish that a brand is much more than a well crafted logo. While most artists don't have logos, you do embrace a certain typeface and perhaps, color combination.
With that in mind, I've branded myself as the "Savvy Artist" working under the name, "Savvy Palette." I've done this for two reasons. First my work is very vivid! Second, I teach and provide artists of all calibers valuable information to help them navigate the turbulent waters of being an artist. Its a natural extension of who I am.
Your art serves as the visual expression of your brand. Branding is a process of clarifying who you are as an artist and what your goals are.
Where Do You Start?
Commence with these five branding tips the pros use, and you'll be well on your way.
1. Identify your unique selling point. Every artist has at least one special quality that makes him or her different from every other artist.
2. Write A Compelling Bio.
3. Develop Your Style.
4. Be Consistent
5. Be True To Yourself.
We as humans grow and change in our lifetime, and we have many layers to our dynamic personalities. When it comes to branding, you don’t want to share every single layer with your audience – you want to be real, but not too real.
Once you’ve got your look established, put it everywhere – on your site, on business cards, on stickers, on your car because you need to sell yourself. Starting out as an artist requires a small amount of aggressive salesmanship. This means going to shows – whether it’s fashion, art, music, whatever and bringing those business cards. This also means learning your industry inside-out. Are there people you absolutely idolize and would like to be one day? Find them on Instagram. Follow and comment.
Visualize Your Creative Success
Once you define your idea of success, you can achieve it.
I know lots of very talented artists who adopt the ubiquitous idea of success and then wait for a manager, publisher or gallery curator to make it happen. Unfortunately, they end up waiting a long time because they are hoping to find someone to coddle their art career. Be proactive in your efforts. Stake your claim. Define your idea of success in specifics, and be clear on why.
How Do I Name My Art Business?
Make sure to clearly identify what you do and help potential buyers find you online by adding a keyword to your name like "art", "artist", "fine art", or "studio". If you have a medium that you have developed and intend to work in for your career, consider adding that as well.
Though branding yourself as an artist is important, you need to understand that great branding alone will not make you a great artist and being a great artist doesn’t make you into a profitable artist. To achieve success, you need to have a strong balance between your art and your business – and the best way to do this, is to focus equal amount of time on both disciplines. For most artists this typically is a difficult division to accept. Very few artists enjoy or understand the nature of running a business. Which is where I, the "Savvy Artist," come in, and why I pen these informative posts on being an artist. Yes, that was a self-indulgent plug! Moving on though - you must...
Define Your Audience
Now that you’ve got yourself figured out, it’s time to define your audience. Unfortunately it's not everyone - everywhere. Who’s going to respond most enthusiastically to your work?
When you’re first starting out, you’re going to want “super-fans”: people who will stick by your side, follow your every movement, and generally be a stalker, if you will, as much as possible without alerting the boys & girls in blue. These are the people who will come to your shows, buy your merchandise, and – most importantly – recommend you to their loyal friends.
So who are they? Teenagers? Young professionals? Sophisticated retirees? The more specific, the better in regards to gender, age group, and subculture, etc.
Branding As An Artist and Keeping It Real.
Once you've establish your identity and your audience as a "brand" its important to stay focused and cohesive. Everything you do from this point forward should fit into this realm as much as possible. The more pieces you have that reinforce your brand, the more opportunities you’ll have to cement yourself into a potential fan’s cognitive.
For instance, some artists establish their brand on a sexual theme, like Olivia De Berardinis. Olivia is an American artist who is famous for her paintings of women, often referred to as pinup, or cheesecake art. She has been working in this genre since the mid-1970s and has been a regular contributor to Play Boy magazine. Of course, it goes without saying that these identifiers aren't who she is totally as a creative person - Its just a portion of her brand.
Glossy and Sugar Coated With Glee.
Presenting your work in a professional manner, one which catches the attention of your would be clients, in this particular case gallery curators and art collectors, is vital. Make sure to have your own branded website. Not one in which you're piggy-backing off of another source. Having your own domain name is a must in your on-going repertoire as an artist in the constant effort to set yourself apart from all the other artists. A professional branded email is a MUST too. Again it establishes that your investing in your profession.
Building your brand is all well and good, but it won’t do you any favors if it gets you stuck in a rut. A simple revision or update every now and again won’t destroy your hard-work – and besides, if you’ve done step 1 well, you won’t need sudden, massive alterations.
Until next time; keep it savvy!