What does it mean to brand yourself as an artist? Most artists run, screaming like their hair is on fire, from marketing terms such as this and “the corporate speak”. But let’s deal in reality for a moment. You produce a product to sell (or hope to someday), right? If you’re not actively marketing your wares then you aren’t really in the game, or as we say here in Texas, “you don’t have a dog in the hunt”. So, it’s my opinion that if you want to sell artwork, then you best climb your butt on the marketing wagon.
The stigma of “selling out” touches artists like no other profession. But Facebook allows you to market, without the perception that you’re marketing. See if this makes sense: the “branding” of you, the artist, isn’t the same as “branding” Coca Cola, the product. “Branding” to me, means creating a microcosm of who you really are to your customer, i.e., the “real” you.
One thing I’ve learned after all these years is that the customer wants to connect with you, the artist. Customers like knowing the artist personally and it’s conducive to making the sale. So here’s my advice in a nutshell: Socialize with your Facebook crowd. Talk to them, talk about your real life. Be a normal, yet interesting person, and try to connect with people who find your way of life interesting. The leap to seeing your artwork isn’t too far from there.
What do I do personally to “brand” myself? I tell people what I’m thinking, what my concerns are, and I give some humorous insight into my real life. The most popular posting I’ve ever made received an uproarious response. I related an episode here at my studio involving a very large snake, flip-flops, and a severely damaged little toe. Did I mention I was armed? It was Keystone Cops gone awry!
So what’s the next step? What happens after you connect with people who find you interesting? You establish real friendships, go to dinner, and do what real friends do.
If all this sounds too difficult, you can remain faceless and nameless and stick with a paradigm that I believe is slowly waning: gallery representation. The world of marketing is being rocked by the methods that are the “new media”. YouTube, Facebook, Blogs, and Twitter are the beginnings of a brave new world. Stick your toe in, the water is fine!