Are you confused with branding jargon? Do you think your logo is your brand? Can your customer make a distinction between you and a similar artist?
Branding isn’t so intimidating.
I know that a few marketing terms can be intimidating, and after learning how branding affects my business, you can also learn how to cultivate affection from your customers and manage your brand.
People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
Your brand is not a logo, identity, or product.
Knowing the difference between “brand” and “branding” as two distinct things will give you an edge as an artist entrepreneur. Branding doesn’t have to be ellusive or overwhelming. It’s just a matter of understanding what parts you can control and which part you cannot.
Think of politics. Did you cringe? Imagine slipping on a pair of your favorite shoes… Which one did you visually try on? That visual prompt is an emotional response, whether good or bad. Knowing that, will you continue to align yourself with that political party or buy from that company again?
Brand is the sum of the perceptions that are held about you, your company or your products. This includes perceptions held by both external and internal audiences and stakeholders.
How does this translate? A brand is a person’s emotional response -a gut feeling about an organization, a product, or a service. In essence, your customers own your brand, you do not. You don’t have direct control of the perceptions held by customers.
Does that comfort you or make you wince? If you’re just starting out, think about how fellow students at school thought about you. Did some of them mistake your bubbliness as flaky? Or did they mistake your shyness as aloofness? Been there!
Tip: If you want to know what they [your customers] think of you and your business: ask. Any description that they can provide will help you understand if external perceptions are aligned with yours. If not, adjust them, embrace them, and move forward. Feel free to ask again next quarter -it’s almost like an employee review inverted.
Example Questions to Ask:
- When you think of my art, what comes to mind?
- What adjectives would you use to describe your perceptions about my brand?
Brandingis the universe of activities you undertake that affects those perceptions. In order to effectively build a positive brand perception, you must engage in both internal and external activities which are aligned to deliver a consistent impression of who you are.
How does this translate? Branding is not about stamping a trademark on everything, but guiding and managing relationships with your customers. You’re branding yourself right now as an individual part of the family collective and your business. Realize that you only have partial control of the perceptions with your branding activities.
Remember: branding is the system of activities, your logo and ID system are only one small part of it.
Tip: Do you want to appear as fun and lighthearted? Moody? Macabre? Then begin dressing the part and craft your vernacular to appease all the senses to accompany your art or gallery. Think theatrical and set your studio/gallery as your stage.
To begin building your brand, ask yourself three questions:
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- Why does it matter?
In the end, your business and your brand is a living organism and the foundation of a good brand is trust. By consistently aligning yourself with your outlined goals and values, you beget trust -even when it’s not easy or convenient. Strive to beat your customer’s expectations, make their experience exceptional, and your brand grows in direct proportion.
Think of every person in your company as an actor and your business as a play that each customer experiences. If they had a great time, they’ll tell their friends to come see it. To help trigger some ideas, I’ve highlighted a few inspirational settings that I’ve experienced first hand and wanted to share them with you.
- Apple Store -Modern & Streamlined
- MacKenzie Childs -Whimsical & Lighthearted
- Cirque du Soleil – Moody & Mysterious
Can you think of a few more? Please add them!
How are you setting your branding stage?
Here’s to Cultivating Your Creative Independence