Image courtesy: www.dailygalaxy.com
For creative people, the impetus for starting and developing artwork, designs or music seldom comes from a love of money or a craving to climb the career ladder. It comes from a need to do what you love, to express yourself and to leave your mark. .
So you start. And if you’re good, you may get noticed, and if you get noticed, you may get paid, and before you know it, you’re a noted artist, designer or musician… without a plan. What now?
I have spoken to many creative people, who reluctantly turn to marketing consultants or internet blogs with hopes of growth. A common characteristic is their fear of losing themselves in applying a marketing strategy. I have found that people are very afraid to apply a layer of (real) marketing towards their designs. They think that they have to compromise their art in order to reap the benefits. So they stop reading the marketing articles halfway through because they decide that staying true to their ideals is more important. . But if only for the sake of being different, I assure you, this isn’t one of those articles.
This is, at best, a practical and simple guide of how to grow your brand, while still being true to yourself and your design self. Believe it or not, they can both be done at the same time.
I have broken it down into 5 pieces that can be applied both to your design process and your branding and marketing process. So here goes:
1. Be true to yourself. No, really!
You can smell the sham in a design if it was put together to please an external group or simply to abide by a recent trend. The same applies to your brand. I have preached the to my clients on a regular basis to articulate their values… and i’ll request the same from you. What do you stand for? What do you stand against?
When you’re designing a piece or pulling together a look, we both know that what’s most important is whether or not that piece is a representation of your perspective. It’s the exact same thing with your brand; once it begins to tell a coherent story from the heart, most of the work is done.
Your customer base and your fan base will come from people who genuinely believe the same things you do. These people will then use your art to tell their story.
2. Show me your friends
Who do you hang out with? Who would you give away one of your designs to? Who posts up pictures of themselves next to you on social media? Your Grandmother was right, our opinions of them are being reflected onto you. As a new brand, thats kinda important. Remember your art writes a story about you, and should tell honestly who you are, and what you believe. If you stand against drugs for example, don’t give your stuff to Gregory, your high-all-the-time next door neighbor. You’ll begin to get a following you didn’t want. Not all publicity is good publicity… we really need to stop saying that.
3. Tell your story. Share your story
Social Media is there, use it! Understand however that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, G+ and the rest all have different purposes and must be updated in different ways. It helps when you have one central hub, usually Facebook, G+ or a Blog (like WordPress or Tumbler) that has everything, and then you use the different media for quick updates on new designs, thoughts and feelings or just ideas you have curated.
This is important, because you want the people who care about what you believe to actually know what you believe, so share it.
4. Be you, the real you, all the time
How much do you care about the things that you care about. If your art is a representation of these things, then don’t compromise, show up in your bongo beads and head wrap to a formal event.
5. Help others where you can.
Sew a dress for somebody, give advise for everything you learn. This isnt for publicity, its for your soul! Well kinda, lol. I’m definitely not saying to style an outfit for a homeless woman and take pictures doing the duck face with her. I am saying that if you design a free dress for someone who needs it, that’s one more person talking about your designs in a super-positive way. That helps, trust me. 😉
Now this was not a roadmap to fame, but it certainly took insights from brand evangelism, brand identity development and and Brand strategy development and decoded them for creative people. Apply these ideas and let me know if it helped.