Most artists in this business would agree that their goal is to someday be a “brand”. So have you spent any time picturing what that would look like? Visualization is a powerful tool for helping to achieve your goals – so lean back and think about it…if you were a brand, you would….
Define the essence of your brand. Successful brands are perceived by their customers as the best or even the “only”. But this is a lot more than just product awareness, it is an almost automatic recognition of what they are, or in your case what you do. Can you define that for your brand? No? Then most certainly your customers can’t either.
Know your category cold. How much data do you think Coke and Pepsi have on soft drink consumption? How much do the Radisson people know about business travelers? How much do you know about art licensing? About your customers?
Protect your territory. Do you think the people at Lee are Tweeting their followers at Levis about a great new distribution channel they found? Of course not. You may have noticed that the big names in this business almost never reveal client names or share specific opportunities. If you want to be a professional you need to act like one.
Nurture your followers. Brand followers believe that “their” brand exists for the benefit of the customer, and successful brands work hard at never giving them any reason to doubt that. Brand loyalty, and how to keep it, is primary in everything they do. If your client wants it tomorrow, send it tonight. If they ask for an alternative sketch, send them two. Happily.
Be consistent, and consistently excellent. A tall order for sure, but a basic building block of a successful brand. Whether you walk into a Starbucks in Seattle, Minneapolis or Miami, you know the experience will be the same – and it will be almost perfect. The same goes for a McDonalds, or an Apple store, or a Nordstrom…this is what makes them who they are.
Innovate. Constantly. Everyone expects the best from the best. Brands have a laser-like focus on making their product better and keeping it the best on the market. Followers look to their brands for the next big thing, and if you can’t provide it they will soon look elsewhere.
Believe in your product. The people at Tom’s of Maine know they have the best personal products on the market, at Method they know they have the best soap, at Ben and Jerry’s they know they make the best ice cream. If you know you are putting out the best art available for that product then your clients will too.
If not, well, go back to Starbucks and learn how they do it….