Create a Strong Brand for Yourself and Your Artwork
Artists create! We create music, we write, we dance, and we create art for the purpose of self-discovery and self-expression. Our need to express is an inherit part of our being and is truly the essence of being human. Our need to communicate with others is the highest form of art. The process of sharing our creations, in exhibitions and art shows or selling them online or in galleries, all require a solid business approach to be successful.
When you are ready to sell your art, it is important to create a brand name for your company. A brand name is used to establish your identify so that the public will know who you are and will recognize your artwork when they see your paintings. Most artists use their name as their brand but I have adopted “The Grand View” as my primary company name and as the umbrella that I do my business under. I also use my name, “Stefan Baumann” as a second brand name along with “The Grand View.” This means that I have two brands that I work with when growing my business.
The first step in developing your brand identity is to define your artistic interests that you want market under your brand. Collectors appreciate consistency. If you are an artist who paints Abstract art one day and Plein Air the next, your collectors may not know what to expect from you. So ask yourself, “What is it that I want to create to sell?” A strong brand can positively influence collectors and create perceived value for your art. It can create an emotional attachment with the collector to your work while providing a consistent focus on what you’re marketing and will project credibility in the marketplace. It also creates “client loyalty” and “repeat buying” along with generating positive word of mouth advertising. Consistency in creating your style, your quality of artwork, and your marketing approach is extremely important. If your collectors associate positively with your brand, they learn to trust your ability to create quality work and experience fairness in your business practices. They are more likely to talk about your work and display it for others to see, which may result in new collectors who purchase your work. To change any aspect of your brand, your style or the quality of your work may create a situation where you could have to start your business over again.
The second question to address is do you want to create a small business or a big business? Are you going to be a person who sells a few paintings a year or are you going to be like Thomas Kinkade and paint large numbers of paintings? Most artists are happy to manage a small, personal business. Success in any business comes from presenting your business in well-defined terms by highlighting the attractive features of your artwork and your business practices to your customers and collectors. Your long-term growth is generated by building relationships that help your collectors connect with your name, brand and your artwork. Your collectors are the foundation for your art business. If your collectors have confidence in your brand, and know who you are and that you consistently introduce new artwork with familiar themes and subject matter, collector loyalty and repeat purchases will follow. Branding can influence clients’ purchasing decisions, especially if they want to become collectors and increase dollar value for your art business. Your brand needs to reflect your vision and what you love about creating art as an established artist, what you want to offer them, and what they will get from owning your art. Branding also helps your customers identify you and recognize you out of the crowd, and it tells your collectors what they can expect when your name pops up in conversation or in the news.
Branding your art business takes time and consistency. Finding new ways to promote your brand must be worked on everyday, every week and every month. Doing this takes follow-through, perseverance, and patience. It might take time, but remember, marketing your work and living your dream is better than working at a job you hate. Think long term, stay focused and you will have loyal clients for life and a business that generates cash all year.