Thursday, July 7, 2011

More Art Business: Building a Brand

"Sally's Birdhouse" 9x12, oil

I have to remind myself that I don't want people to just buy my paintings - I want them to buy me.  "Me" is a brand known as Michael Chesley Johnson.

People like to buy the personality, not just the product.  If there's a personal story behind the painting, that can help the sale.  It helps the possible buyer "relate" to the painting.  Imagine you're a buyer.  Here's a pretty piece that would go over the couch, but you're uncertain about purchasing it.  Would you be more likely to buy it if you met the artist and he told you a humorous story about how he was so focused on painting that he didn't realize the tide was rising and got swamped?  (I haven't gotten swamped...yet.)

People like to befriend the artist, too.  I know one person who collects a lot of folk art - but she usually buys only if she can go to the artisan's shop and spend some time with him, learning what makes him tick.  Of course, you can't spend time with every patron, but you can certainly make your online presence, and any other marketing you do, too, as accessible and friendly as possible.  You'd like your buyer to think:   I'd love to meet this artist in person some time.

Consistency in your marketing and your back story is important, too.  If you were born in a log cabin and that is important to your brand and to selling your paintings, it's important to keep that out there.  Brand consistency is critical to public recognition.

By the way, sometimes art centers and other organizations, because of space limitations, want to shorten my name to "Michael C. Johnson" or "M.C. Johnson."  When they do so, they do me - and them - a disservice.  The brand is "Michael Chesley Johnson," and that's what people are looking for.   They won't be looking for those other variants.  If you are trying to get your name out there, make sure that anyone marketing your paintings spells it right!


Sandra Nunes said...

That´s so true Michael! I could notice this in the opening of my ongoing show.I´ve met people who follows my blog postings and some searched for paintings according to their stories or some specific detail I tell about them when I post.
Really interesting!

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

It's the personal touch! People love it.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Good post Michael - especially that bit at the end about brand names.

I'll link to this on "who's made a mark this week"

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

Thank you very much, Katherine!