Your art business does not exist in a competitive vacuum! Your customers and prospects have a multitude of choices when it comes to parting with their money. As the world becomes a flatter place (a term coined by Thomas Friedman in his book, The World is Flat) not only will your competition come from your local area but increasingly you will see it from around the globe.
You can thank the internet and trade policies for turning the world into one big marketplace of ideas, products and services. This trend could be viewed as a threat to your business but it could also be viewed as an even larger opportunity.
Today there is no shortage of companies providing any and every product/service and that includes art! In order to stand out in this crowded marketplace it is imperative that you think about your brand experience. A good brand experience will set you apart from the competition and get people talking about you and your art business. A bad brand experience will likely will get you passed by and a really bad brand experience will get people talking about you – and not in a good way!
Some examples of a great brand experience
Look around you and take notice of companies or products that provide a great brand experience. What makes you say Wow?
- Today staying at a hotel can be more than just a room with a clean bed – it can be an experience that takes you to a foreign land or different time.
- Going on vacation can be more than just a visit to a popular spot – it can be helping a worthy cause in a less developed part of the world or saving an endangered species or habitat.
- Buying a computer or mobile device can be more than trying to decide from a huge selection at a big box store – It can be being helped by a knowledgeable and almost fanatical staff that will make sure that you are satisfied.
- Purchasing shoes online can be more than just picking a style and hoping for the best – it can be getting the right style in the right size delivered to your door with a minimum of hassle.
- Going to the museum can be more that looking at art or artifacts on a wall – it can be an experience that engages all of your senses.
- Buying fine art photographs can be more than the usual gallery experience – it can be beautiful large prints with dramatic lighting with photographer’s back story to create an experience.
Components of a great brand experience
As you develop goals and strategies for your art business keep the brand experience you want to provide at the forefront of your ideas. Here are some ideas of how to build a great brand experience:
- Engage and connect with your customers, prospects and most everyone else for that matter!
- Develop your brand experience both online and in person
- Have great products and impeccable service
- Entertain, surprise and delight your customers and prospects
- Touch the emotions and invigorate the senses
- Educate and increase awareness
- Tell a story of how and why you create your art – make the audience a part of your journey
- Provide the unexpected
- Add professionalism
- Create value – “under promise and over deliver”
- Engage your audience and help them participate in the experience
- Go that little extra step in everything you do
- Your experience radiates from everything you do from creating your art, taking a customer’s order, delivering your products and following up
What goes into your brand experience?
I have put together a worksheet to help you define your brand experience. It is a good idea to ask your customers and friends about what they think your brand experience portrays and incorporate this into your analysis. I invite you to download and use the Brand Experience Worksheet. Once you have defined your brand experience make sure you incorporate it into your marketing and overall business efforts.
The bottom line(s)…
Think about the brand experience you are providing in everything you do in your art business, from creating your art to making a sale. People remember a great brand experience and tell their friends – make sure they are talking about you! Please share this article with your artist and creative friends.
If you would like to learn more about building your brand I invite you to check out my book – The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox. Good Luck!
Neil McKenzie is the author of The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox – How to Start, Run and Market a Successful Arts or Creative Business available in softcover from Barnes & Noble and Amazon and as an eBook from iTunes, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. He has developed and teaches the course “Artrepreneurship” at the Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and is also a visiting professor at University College at the University of Denver.
Neil has over 30 years’ experience as a management consultant and marketing executive, working with some of the world’s top brands. Neil is a frequent lecturer to artists and arts organizations, a guest columnist for Colorado Biz Magazine, where he covers the creative sector of the economy, and the author of several articles for Americans for the Arts, a national arts organization. Follow Neil on Twitter: @neilmckenzphoto