Five Steps to Level Up Your Artistic Brand!

Black woman creative with colorful bracelets against blue sky

Who are you as an artist? What are your values? What exactly is your brand?

As creatives, it can be difficult to narrow down those definitions – and more difficult still to take those concepts and turn them into a coherent, recognizable artistic brand. As your own CEO, however, you have to define and articulate who you are as an artist, what your mission is, and what makes your artistry unique and valuable—in essence—BUILD YOUR BRAND. 

1.  What is your identity?

Defining who you are is important to giving your brand a recognizable voice. You should be able to summarize your identity in one 30 second pitch that you can deliver at any moment. 

To determine your identity ask yourself:

Now that you know who you are, ask yourself:

2. What brand experience can people expect?

Think about photographer Annie Leibovitz. What is her brand? She takes edgy, raw photographs of people that essentially capture the essence of her subjects. Or Paul Lindahl, graffiti artist and co-founder of Colossal Media whose hand-painted advertising murals for big names like Netflix, Google and Converse are known for their engaging storytelling and curiosity building. What about you? 


Ask yourself:

3. What channels will you use to connect with your audience?

Which channels will have the biggest impact on your desired market? Today it is easier than ever to connect with a national and even global audience. The key is knowing how to do it and then doing it. 

  1. Do you have a website?  A website, which can be your online portfolio, is certainly a must. There are so many options out there for creating a visually powerful website all on your own, (Checkout SquareSpace.com or Wix.com to get started, for example).  If going it on your own isn’t for you - there are several websites where you can hire someone affordably to create a website for you - take a look at 99designs.com or Upwork.com, and you can also check your local Chamber of Commerce to find people in your community that could build you a high-impact website to support your brand.. Make sure you have an “About Me” page that quickly showcases your artist statement and connects them to what’s unique about you and your artistic practice.. 
  2. Do you write a blog? Are you blogging (or vlogging - which is a video blog) so that you can generate organic content that gets people to your site to see your work? Make sure your voice and tone are consistent with your branding which will give your content authenticity. 
  3. Do you engage on social media? Do you post on a regular basis? Have you grown and expanded your presence on social media? Is your messaging consistent? Can your audience distinctly recognize your brand from your content (think message, tone, colors, fonts)? Are you using hashtags that help you reach new audiences and ensure your target audience can find you?
  4. Are you engaging on the right platforms? It’s often easy to get caught utilizing one or two platforms. Is it time to expand to new platforms. Knowing your target audiences and reaching out to that demographic through the social platform they utilize the most is extremely important to building your brand. In addition to your current platforms, it could also be time to expand from exclusively using visual posts to including video or even audio podcasts. 

    Here are just a few of the most popular platforms (based on the size of the total user base):

    Snapchat

    Images and Video, 210 Million Monthly Users, Largest Demographic 15-25
    YouTube Video, 2 Billion Monthly Users, Good for all age groups
    Instagram Images and Video, 1 Billion Users, Largest Demographic 18-30 year olds
    Facebook Text, Images, and Video, 2.5 Billion Users, Largest Demographic 15-40
    LinkedIn Text and Images, 303 Million Users, Largest Demographic 25-34
    Twitter Text, Images, and Video, 330 Million Users, Largest Demographic 18-49
    Pinterest Visual, 300 Million Users, Largest Demographics 18-65
    Tumblr Images, 472 Million Users, Largest Demographic 18-24
    *Statistics taken from Khoros
  5. Are you staying connected?  Make sure you devote time to staying connected to people who are following your brand by giving them a shout out, responding to them when they  write comments, and asking them questions about what they need from you. Branding is all about relationships, so build on those relationships as often as possible!

4. Does your brand project quality, competence, and consistency?

When you look at highly recognizable and prolific performance artists like Lady Gaga or Elton John, their brands are pretty clear and recognizable. Even though one might say Lady Gaga’s brand is every-changing, that is where her consistency and competence lies. We know to expect the unexpected from her which is part of why her fans love her so much. They can’t wait to see what she will do next.  

Ask yourself the following questions to do a brand analysis:

5. Is your brand growing and your online marketing strategy working?

It’s not enough to guess whether or not your brand is getting exposure. Analytics and numbers aren’t just for people with MBA’s. Evaluating your online presence regularly (weekly is recommended, and at a minimum monthly is a must! 

Here’s how to do it:

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Perfecting your personal brand is key to your success as a creative entrepreneur. The Creative Catalyst Online Certificate helps you better articulate your creative purpose and challenges you to identify areas you need to improve. Want to learn more? To join our next cohort or request more information, email CreativeCatalyst@uncsa.edu!  

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