Saturday, January 11, 2014

Branding 101 part one

I've been spending some time sorting through my hard drive, looking at photos of old work, sorting through receipts from shows, trying to make sense of what works and what doesn't work and why I was compelled to waste away 2013 and be so unproductive. The photos and receipts from 2010-2012 showed me very clearly why I took a year off. I worked my ass off! I can't believe how much work I made and how many shows I did. No wonder I needed a break. It has also shown me that I made some pretty damn good pieces. Some I had forgotten about. I have photos of experimental things that never quite made it, and I would like to revisit some of those ideas. There are some pieces that I would like to make more of. It has been really good to go back and look at my history, so to speak, and see how far my work has really come. Time to move forward. I don't exactly need to re-brand myself, but I do need to continue the brand and grow. Just gotta git up off my lazy arse!

Branding thoughts from the Etsy article:

What is my brand's essence? What is my story?
 I am a southern girl, born and raised in the south. It's what I love, it's who I am. I tell stories. My work has its origins from my love of the south and what I want to express about where I come from and what I love. It's like I have this image in my mind of a thing I love and for some reason I want to use my hands to express that image, make sense?

I made this piece for myself. Gerry's mother put this little cat in his Christmas stocking one year along with this note:

I wanted to honor this little cat and the note, so I made a barn with a niche for it, and tucked the note in with the little statue. I love it, and it constantly reminds me of my sweet mother in law and the sweet little boy that wrapped up this cat every year and gave it to his mother. What a great story! That's what I love about making these pieces. The story that comes with them.....

Why do I make my items?
I ask myself that all the time, why do I feel compelled to do this? more thought required here..... it's about the story, I think......

What is important and consistent about my product? How is my product different?
The consistency seems to be the house/barn form. The story. I feel a strong connection to this form for some reason. Could we get into some deep psychological questions of my absurd childhood and how I am creating the home I wish I had? Maaaaybeeee...... wanting a safe and stable environment, creating it through these houses I make? maaaaybeee......   wanting better memories of home? uh huh......

how is my product different?
 I make it, it's authentic, each piece is unique and tells a tale.
I don't know..... more thought required here.

Use 20-10-4 words that describe my work
I'll come back to this later, whew!

Who is my customer?
80%  white affluent female, usually very attractive, well dressed, very nice, 30+ years of age
connects with a story my piece tells or asks for a commission for their own story

20% white male, 30+ years of age, my work reminds them of something they connect with

I would like a more diverse audience, younger collectors, a broader ethnic group, how do I reach them and what speaks to them?.......

Who is my competition?
Who isn't, I live in clay world here in NC, it's hard and it's a competitive medium. Ugh...why do I do this again?!

This is a good exercise and worth spending more time on. I can't work in my studio right now, it's just too dang cold, so doing things like this is a good way to spend some morning time, get the wheels turning, the soil tilled, the seeds planted. I may take up some blog space as I ponder all of this. If I bore you to tears, sorry, but this is the way I am able to work things out in my head, here in my blog space. So read if you want to or just stop by quickly and say hello!


Dennis Allen said...

I think a lot of it boils down to 2 questions. We'll even make them fill in the blank one word answers.

Tracey's customers think she makes______.

Tracey wants them to think she makes__________.

oldgreymare said...

I love it- makes me think about my own "home" issues. Keep em coming :D

Vicki said...

I so love the story about the little cat - very heartwarming.
It is such a beautiful thing you do, honouring the essence of a person by giving mementos/memories a purpose for being.
You'll never bore me to tears, Tracey. There is too much heart and soul in what you do.

You're on a personal journey now, by doing this. Possibly a new discovery of part of yourself as you grow creatively. The paths usually consist of a mix of rough and smooth going.
Enjoy the journey, as they say :)

angela walford said...


Shannon said...

oh, I hate those questionnaires but they do end up digging up good things. ! good luck

Shannon said...

oh, I hate those questionnaires but they do end up digging up good things. ! good luck

Lori Buff said...

The article is asking some really good questions. Do you feel like thinking about the answers is helping you to find a direction or a better way of branding yourself and your art?

Tracey Broome said...

Good questions Dennis, now to fill in the blanks!
Suzan, I thought this was a good article, much to think about.
Thanks Vicki, you are very kind. Seems like a never ending personal journey, but isn't that really what its all about?
Hi Ang!
Shannon, I usually balk at questionnaires too, but I thought this one was good and gave me some interesting things to think about....
Lori, the article has me restless and it has caused me to spend some time thinking about my direction, or lack there of, good way to start the new year though, editing, pondering, planning...