by Anna Najdenova
I have spent 25 years in marketing building brands. A big part of that is translating the brand value and essence in visual elements, like advertising, packaging design, allowing those then to bring the message through to the consumer.
We have learned early in the process that a brand is a promise of value, high quality, and differential uniqueness.
I honestly believe that being a successful artist means becoming a real brand.
Some creators naturally find their uniqueness and supported by their talent and creative search over time find their „positioning”. Others go into a process of conceptual art creation and a very conscious about what and how they create. Regardless of the route, it is key for an artist to understand what a brand means and how to do the brand positioning work. Without having the basics right even the best marketing work will not lead to a consistent presence.
Today there are many pieces of training and articles about how to communicate in the digital world if you are a visual artist, but not many deal with how to create a personal artistic brand.
The Brand Key Concept
Herewith I try to walk you through the concept of the Brand key, widely used in the fast-moving consumer goods market (FMCG) httpss://becausebranding.wordpress.com/2016/02/12/position-your-brand-using-the-brandy-model
The Brand Key model is widely used in marketing to position any brand. It also allows you to establish the areas that the brand may need to work on to develop a more effective strategy. It becomes a guide for development, as the Brand Key allows us to make a distinction between describing the current situation of a brand and the future of a brand (their desired location- where the brand wants to go).
The Art scene is today extremely competitive, as anyone can become an artist today – even without professional education if one has the talent and determination anything is possible. Nevertheless, if you want to be successful and become visible to the public, one has to analyze its competitive environment and look at the market in which a brand/author competes as well as the relative value the brand offers in that particular market.
Know Your Target Group
To understand that it is key to know your Target group: Who are you targeting? What are these people like? What are their interests? The target market is defined by consumers’ attitudes and values, not just their demographics. And here comes maybe the first dilemma. Do you decide for whom are you going to paint, or you simply paint, and people decide to like your art or not? Curators often try to help artists, in revealing the needs of certain target groups like collectors. Nevertheless, not many artists want to create just to be liked by someone. This is maybe the biggest difference versus other brands – that an artist is a leaving and developing mind. Just trying to fit the need of the public may not be a solution in the long run. Understanding though, who likes, and follows you is extremely helpful.
Understand Your Fans
And even more important to understand why they like you. Getting the consumer insight right can be inspirational. knowing their emotional needs, their whys. Simon Sinek has a famous TED talk about how brands have to start whit the why of their existence, and really digging deep into the purpose of existence (https://simonsinek.com/find-your-why-with-simon-sinek/). Once you know your why and your fans’ why and those two purposes meet, you are reaching the ultimate alignment between you and your fans.
The Benefit Ladder
And let us be honest, if a customer does not benefit from the product of your creative process – the artwork, they will never buy a picture or follow you. The benefit ladder has 3 layers. And they all must be met over time to build a long-lasting relationship. This is what happens when a collector finds an artist to collect over time.
The 3 benefit levels to address are:
- Differentiating functional benefits are based on products attributes that provide customers with functional value
- Emotional benefits look at how a customer feels when purchasing or using a product- how does the product influence them emotionally? And here again, we can see two areas of
- Sensory benefits deal with how a product appeals to consumers’ senses and how they relate to the self-esteem of the buyer.
In art, these benefits go so closely hand in hand, that it may be difficult to separate or classify whatever a person thinks, feels around a picture and its author.
The Brand Personality
We tend to look at brands as people – try to link Values, Beliefs & Personality to them, so one can think, that if this brand is the person, in fact, this becomes an easy task. But it is not, as to be able to share your values, believes and show all sides of your personality, while staying authentic requires a big deal of honesty and openness. We cannot show one face, and be different, we need to be ourselves, and we need to be still accepted. Very often I personally buy a picture from an author because I like the person. Finding this finetuned existence between being a celebrity, being interesting, but not a fully open book, requires some thinking and decision making. But without a real human face, no brand ever exists.
The Reasons To Believe You
In the end, each brand needs to offer solid Reasons to Believe – the proof that it offers to its consumers to substantiate its benefits/ brand experience. This can be a past success in the field, or any artwork, which is so unique and in line with what the brand stands for, that it takes doubt away.
The Discriminator Makes you Unique
Maybe in art, the most difficult thing still to master is to have a clear Discriminator – the single most compelling and competitive reasoning for consumers to choose the brand over its competitors. Visual art is subjective, and artists have different styles and search for the right signature. Finding a discriminator does not mean, that all pictures must be the same, but they must be recognizable – to give an example for our HINSA Artist team – András Wolsky way of creating his art is a strong example, how he can have a very unique way to differentiate himself and make his art recognizable. To learn about his method check his intro video.
The Brand Essence – the Soul and Heart of a Promise
At the end of the journey of self-awareness you need to see your state your Brand Essence – a core idea or brand promise, the brand essence is the heart and soul of the brand as it guides all brand actions.