Today, a lot of businesses get marketing and branding mixed up. They are confused as to what the differences are, what they both mean or they try promoting their business with one and without the other. Simply put, marketing is how you reach your target market with advertising, promotions and public relations. Marketing is showing the world with what you do. Branding is who you are or what the world thinks you are. Every time a prospect or a potential customer makes contact with you in person, print, virally or by other means, they are formulating an opinion of you as a brand.
Most recently, we have seen brands that are in the news for good reasons or they are in the news for bad reasons and their brand is now suffering. Take Apple for instance. With their successful computers, ipods, iphones and now with their ipads, they have become an incredibly strong brand. The public, press and Wall Street believe in Apple and they are rewarded with customer loyalty over and over again. Apple’s brand was developed over time and everything they do from their designs, advertising, new product presentations, all builds on that brand and reinforces that brand image.
Tiger Woods was a world wide brand which golfers and non-golfers all were aware of. He became the first “billion dollar athlete” and this was accomplished within 10 years! His image and brand were carefully constructed over time and he was rewarded with endorsements from major companies throughout the world. He was a role model to children with his charity work and through his Tiger Woods foundation. This all quickly changed at the end of 2009 and the Tiger Woods brand is now tarnished. Unfortunately, no matter what he achieves on or off the golf course, the Tiger Woods brand will now always be associated with marital infidelities. Most experts believe that his brand will never really recover and that his endorsements of $100 million dollars a year will never reach that level again. The Tiger Woods brand is suffering to say the least!
The following are a list of ways and mediums that can an artist can use to brand their art. This list of suggestions is forever changing as technology and the public’s tastes shift from one popular media or vehicle to another. This list is in no particular order of importance and there are at least another 10 to 15 more platforms for an artist to use to develop their brand:
1. An artist’s website is now a major branding medium. In past years, a website was thought to be something that you did along with your advertising. It now is just as important and has become a major portal and link for the artist and the public. As the lines between TV and internet become blurred, websites will become an even more important part of an artist’s marketing and branding. www.wordpress.org www.godaddy.com www.bluehost.com
2. Article marketing is a huge source of traffic for an artist’s website and if done consistently well over time will brand the artist as an expert in their field and someone who is generally reliable and trustworthy. There are at least 5 top article sites that provide expert information and source materials to the public. It is up to the artist to take advantage of article sites in order to promote their brand. These articles that are written can also be used in the artist’s website and blog. www.ezinearticles.com www.articlesbase.com www.selfgrowth.com
3. Slide registries offer artists with free databases to register and upload their art work. These sites also allow the artists to post their artist statement, resume, email address and a link to their website. An artist should get on as many registries as possible as it not only provides more exposure, but it creates more traffic to their website and creates back links to their website as well. The major search engines count back links as part of their page ranking process, which is another reason for an artist to get on a lot of registries. www.myartspace.com www.artistsregister.com www.bluecanvas.com
4. Online press releases offer an artist a way in which they can promote their events, openings and other promotions. Most press release websites include links back to the artist’s website, along with a biography section. They also offer guides on how to write and form a press release too. Search engines pick up these press releases very quickly and they become a major source of the artist’s brand. www.prlog.org www.pressreleasepoint.com www.dbusinessnews.com
5. Social networking has now been proven to be an effective means of promoting your brand, building contacts and announcing events. The better known websites are Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. There are a hundred more and new ones being formed each day. Stick with the largest and the most popular social networking websites that contain your target market. For art and art related issues and themes, Facebook is right now the best for this endeavor. Most of what is being suggested in this article can be promoted on these sites too. www.linkedin.com www.twitter.com www.facebook.com
6. Email marketing is a growing medium that will become more and more important to the artist in promoting their brand. There are websites and programs available online for artist’s to have a third party administer their email campaigns. An artist should continually be soliciting for email addresses and making that a major part of their branding process. Artist events, openings and promotions can be a part of the email campaign. Emailing reprints of press releases is another way an artist can stay engaged with their customers. www.constantcontact.com www.verticalresponse.com www.icontact.com
7. YouTube has become another medium for an artist to present their work and expertise on the internet. Think of it as a small ad, a visual article or promotional piece. The better and more professional the spot, the more it reinforces the artist’s brand. Also on YouTube the artist can set up an “Artist YouTube Page”. Which will contain, in one place all of the artist’s videos and or other related videos. Again, they provide for a profile section and links back to the artist’s website and also will be picked up on the major search engines. www.youtube.com www.vimeo.com www.video.yahoo.com
8. Webinars are now a growing field that artists and other professionals can promote their brand and their expertise. It is much like YouTube but is an exclusive format and the artist’s followers are invited to attend this event. Many people charge for this too. I believe that it should be used as a promotional tool, as means to keep the target market informed and engaged with the artist. www.gotomeeting.com www.web-conferencing-zone.com www.web-conferencing-central.com
9. An artists can participate in forum discussions and this provides an artist with the opportunity to help their brand, while promoting their artwork and their website. It is almost a form of social networking as the artist is coming in contact with similar people, with the same interests. The same common sense rules apply to the forums, as whatever a person writes in a forum will be online forever! www.linkism.com/artist_resources/art-forums www.big-boards.com/kw/art www.messages.yahoo.com/yahoo/Entertainment
10. Viral Magazines are just beginning to come into their own and is a new way for an artist to promote their artwork in a very upscale manner. There are several sites that now provide this low cost service. Since there is a cost to publishing an online magazine, the artist could pay for this as a promotional tool for their prospects and customers. www.issuu.com www.openzine.com www.magcloud.com
In future articles we will provide other ideas, platforms and media for artists to use to help market their art and to develop their brand.