Art Marketing Circle III - Product Element 2
We’re continuing our members-only series outlining our Circles of Art Marketing framework. If you’re a new member, or missed what we covered previously, I recommend you catch up on the series at the following links:
Alright, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at Art Marketing Circle III - Turning Your Art into a Saleable Product…
When you decide you want to sell your art, everything changes. Prior to that decision, you are creating solely because you have the insatiable hunger to create. You are feeding your soul. You are making the world better, from your perspective, because you are making yourself better. As I said before, an artist cannot serve two masters, so you must serve your soul first, before you sell your art, so that you have no inner conflict.
Once you decide to sell your art, however, you walk a fine line. You must, in short, turn your offering which consists of you, your art and the stories and context in which you talk about all of it into a product, without losing your focus on your own vision and your own inspiration.
Now, to sell art, it’s of critical importance that your art is inspired and that there is something of you in it that makes it unique. And if you’ve done your work properly in the previous circle (Art Marketing Circle II - Your Art), you’ve already nailed that aspect.
In addition to you unique art however, there are five business elements that you must think through to turn your art into a product:
Your Offerings - the mix of products and services you offer (covered here)
Reputational Power - The reputation you build up via magic interactions with people
The Category or niche that you mostly work within
The Price you charge for your art
The Stories you tell about yourself and your art
Nail these five elements and you will give yourself a huge tailwind when you start offering your art for sale.
Today we’re going to dive in and look specifically at “Reputational Power…..”
I once wrote an article called “Branding is the only power artists have.”
I now slightly regret using the term “branding” and I’m going to correct that oversight here. Artists are human beings, not brands and it diminishes the depth and sovereignty of a true human to refer to one as such. Even in the original article, I hesitated to use the word “branding” because it’s so overused and misunderstood. Most sentences with the word “brand” in them are bullshit, and most marketing coaches offering “branding packages” or courses are wasting your time.
When I used the word “brand”, in relation to an artist’s career, I wasn’t talking about what people normally mean when they talk about “branding.” I was talking about brand power in a specific way with a specific definition. I'm using the term "power" extremely narrowly and as defined in the book 7 Powers: The Foundations of Business Strategy by Hamilton Helmer.
Since artists, as humans, aren’t a brand I’m going to expand upon what Helmer discussed and call this concept Reputational Power.
What is Power?
In business strategy, "power" is defined as this: the set of conditions creating the potential for persistent differential returns.
In plain English that means: You can charge more money than your competitors because you possess a power that they do not.
There are several types of business power including the following: economies of scale, counter-positioning, switching costs, and process power.
But of all the powers available to artists, I realized that the only one available to artists is what I am calling Reputational Power. (One could also perhaps argue that artists possess the potential to utilize the “cornered resource” power Helmer talks about, but that wouldn’t be worth much until the artist’s reputational power is solidified anyway).
Reputation, in the sense of being a true business power, is defined much more narrowly than the way most marketing people use the term.
Reputation as a power exists because you've created three conditions around your art and your business…….
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