Its great to have friends who know a thing or two and are willing to share. Carla Lejade is a retired Marketing expert and a dear friend. Here is what she had to say in an interview about branding.
Brand (verb) – To mark indelibly.
“A brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers” (American Marketing Association).
Barbara: Why is it important to do branding?
Carla: Because the most important thing in selling something is getting repeat business, branding facilitates that. If you create a pair of socks, and people buy them, you want them to like what they bought so much that they come back and buy more. Your branding will begin to sell your product for you so you can spend more time in “creative mode” than “selling mode”. So, that’s why it is important.
Barbara: How do you brand yourself?
Carla: You have to decide what you want to communicate, what you’re selling and who you are. You need to be able to communicate this in one or two words. If you were in an elevator for example, and someone said: “Barbara what do you do?” you have to be able to answer in two or three words, exactly what you do. Maybe it’s “Portrait Weaving”, maybe it’s something much bigger than that.This is the hardest part of branding: to come up with what your mission is, what you are trying to do and communicate. This is critical.
Once you’ve decided what you’re trying to communicate, you have to use it repeatedly on everything that you create. Use this on all your communications and in your signature on your business cards, on your mailings and web presence…. Also, with everybody you talk to. This is who you are.
When you’re an artist it makes sense to use your name because being an artist is having your name identification. Take Picasso for instance, there was a certain way he wrote his name that everyone became familiar with. He had a very unusual, cool name that people remembered.
There are other artists that have done a really good job of branding themselves. Peter Max is a good example of a brand that uses his name with a very cool and memorable logo. It was also consistent with his art and it became synonymous with that colorful playful Australian.
Barbara: Does branding art differ from other sorts of branding?
Carla: I don’t think it really does differ from other sorts of branding because it’s the same concept: becoming known for something, or delivery of some service or product that is pleasing to people, so that they want to buy it continuously, or tell their friends about it. It’s the same thing: trying to get people to recognize your brand so that they will buy again. Brand recognition and awareness of your product leads to sales. The ultimate goal in branding is to get sales.
What I see quite often with artists is that they get caught up in the creative process, working in a vacuum. You’re never going to sell anything unless you establish awareness of your product and develop a demand for what you’re creating.
Barbara: What can I do as an artist to create awareness of my brand?
Carla: You could have a laundry list of things you should do. First you need to have a website. You can make one yourself or have one made very inexpensively and put up your art. I’m not suggesting its necessary that you sell your art on the website, it’s just a way of having your own gallery. You also need a business card with your brand, your name and your website. Everybody you meet and interact with should get this card. Suggest they look at your art on the website. This gives you a way of showing what you do without the necessity of being in a professional art gallery.
Create a letterhead and a logo: your envelopes, everything you douses the same logo. A logo can incorporate your name in a stand-out font. Use it as a master brand above your name to identify your brand.
Be consistent and use it over a long period of time. You don’t change your brand every year. You stick with it because that’s what you’re building on, it’s the foundation.
Live your brand to the best of your ability, but be true to yourself. I have a house called Casa Zappato which is tied to Red Shoe Living. Everything is about Red Shoe Living for me. You have to decide what the big thing for you is.
Some interesting sites about branding: