I was recently asked by a potential client if the 'message” or “brand”, should be considered as important as individual sales.
First to answer the question direct on...Individual sales only hold power for us, in terms of building a sustainable business, if we have the following cornerstones built into our business.
1. A Client Contact List
2. A Communication Plan for staying in front of clients,even after a sale
3. Know, Like and Trust Factor
So in other words, if you get the sale, but you don't get the client's contact information, you don't continue to follow up and stay in front of them, notifying them of upcoming events and marketing campaigns, and you don't have an effective means of continuing to build your “know, like and trust factor” with them (which adds value to you and your work), then DEFINITELY the individual sale is NOT more important than branding! Branding is really a very authentic process of packaging what is unique about you and your art work and then selling that along with your art work or crafts. Branding ties into all aspects of our business, not just the cornerstones listed above, but also to our website, our copy writing, premium pricing, traffic leveraging, our offerings and on and on.
Branding should be something you have tons of fun with. For me, it is the aspect of the business plan that I have the most fun with. All humans love a good story, and branding has a whole lot to do with “your story”; Where you come from, where your inspiration comes from, why you do what you do, how your style evolved etc.
Branding is a paramount entity of business, especially for artists, and it is a crucial pillar that will act as a foundation in which you can build a lasting, solid, sustainable business upon. If we focus on individual sales and miss the cornerstones that make a business financially viable and able to stand the test of time, we come to a point where we become stuck and spinning our wheels. The individual sales often don't add up at the end of the year, to enough to keep us financially afloat, if we don't turn our customers into repeat customers. Branding is an important pillar of business, that allows us to build lasting clients who send their friends and family and who stay with us for life.
The artists who succeed in business and make a comfortable full time living doing what they love, are the ones who embrace the timeless principles of business and marketing. In addition, they commit to learning as much as they can in relation to art business, apply the necessary time needed to these endeavors and expand their creativity to reach all aspects of their business.
So next time you think “I'm too busy for branding”, or you question the importance of it, stop and think about the cost to you in the long run, and think clearly about what your business will look like in one year if you continue doing things without taking branding serious or the other cornerstones of business and marketing. If you will commit to learning a few tricks for leveraging your business effectively, it will make the difference in getting stuck or moving ahead in the direction of building a prosperous business, even in a tough economy.
I recently took a business class with one of my favorite consultants and I love that she reminds her clients that they are not in the business of nutrition consulting, or leather making, or law or whatever they do....”You work in the business of “marketing” if you are trying to sell your products and/or services to the public!” She reminds them. This couldn't be more true for artists.
Marry business to your art and you have the key. Even if this means pushing yourself into new territory that feels a little uncomfortable at first. Developing “your brand”, is a good starting point for emerging artists, or for those just needing to regroup. It's nice to do it right from the start, so if you ARE just starting out, commit to making “branding” part of your built in business foundation, and you will be glad you did later down the road. It will prevent you from having to back-track and start from scratch.
Stay tuned for my next post in two weeks to learn what Santana and Olympic Medalists, Johny Mosley, have to teach us about branding, as well as a worksheet for you to complete, so you can begin to develop and strengthen your own branding!
Talk to you soon,
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