Sunday, 13 February 2011

Brand (new) Ending

Yes, it’s another branding blog. The last of the questions are going to be answered and then hopefully things will be clearer and I will be free to ponder on what I have learnt.
This is part six. It all started at the start of January when I wanted to sort out the branding of my business with the help of an article in Copyblogger. Part one is here, this is part two, part three can be found here and four over here, and not forgetting part five.

64. Does your niche have a national or regional trade association?
I’m a bit diverse for this. But there are trade associations that I could join and therefore my competitors could also be members. I’m not a trade-union sort though. I think being a part of Etsy is almost like having a trade association because you are part of a large community of crafters and on top of that you can also join more directed teams and groups. It’s a brilliant place to be.

65. What “voice” do they use in their branding?
I think both myself and my competitors are much more informal. I am not looking to compete with big businesses and I don’t think that we have a lot of cross-over customers.

66. How much of a “threat” are they as a competitor?
I think that my competitors are a major threat. Even in the economic climate that we are struggling through at the moment people are still buying art and jewellery but there is a lot in the market and there is an increasing number of sellers. I am by no means selling something completely off-the-charts different. I’m not the only person making and selling collages, or bracelets (I know, it’s a shock, right?) but I think the threat of my competitors is what keeps me fresh. Without the constant competition I could easily get lazy or complacent, but I am always trying to do my best work because I know that everyone else is.

67. What is their value proposition?
This is one of those times when I remember just how new to all of this I really am. I think the value in both my own brand and in that of my competitors is obvious. Pretty things, shiny things.
I do my best to show customers the process behind my work, the inspiration and effort put into each piece and the story that I am selling with it. I think this is a large part of the value when selling as an individual.

68. What are they really selling?
Art/jewellery, as am I. Although I think the point is that we are selling an idea or a piece of inspiration in the artwork and something to make you smile and catch someone’s attention with an item of jewellery.

69. What is their style?
Informal rather than corporate. Approachable and human rather than distant and mechanical. Handmade, one-off, unique and personal is the only way I can see to work and to compete. I’m sure that I will lose some custom to bigger and more corporate companies but I don’t want to go down that route.

70. Why do you think their audience likes them?
I guess in preference to my business there are a lot of people who are better established and are therefore more well known. I need to work on being seen more, writing some guest blogs and articles as well as finding some new ways of directing people to my shop. I do have a very individual style and I am completely comfortable with the fact that it will not be for everyone.

71. Is there anything they might have overlooked?
Probably. But this would mean critiquing each of my competitors and as I mentioned before just for my artwork there is about 9000 of these so I’m going to let it slide. (If I’ve overlooked something, please let me know. Thanks!)

72. How strong is their relationship with their audience?
I hope that I am as engaged with my audience as my competitors. I try to keep at the front of things and I am always keen to talk to buyers either online or in person.

73. How responsive are they?
I think this is the same answer as above. Both at crafting events, fairs and online you must be responsive and have good communication skills or you become known for it pretty quickly.

74. Is what they offer readily available?
Yes. But so is mine. Choice is not always a bad thing. It’s why there are florist sections and banks are often all on the same street. I don’t dislike my competitors, in fact I am friends with many of them, learn from them and hope one day to teach them a little something too. I wouldn’t have it any other way either.

75. What emotional need do they fill for their audience?
This is the final question but I really don’t want to answer it. Does my art provide emotional satisfaction? You know, I’m not sure and I’m not sure I want to know either. I’ll leave it as a mystery.

I’m going to spend some time this week reading through what I’ve written about branding and trying to figure out where this puts my business. I am hoping to have a more accurate picture of my audience and a clearer vision of what I am going to do next.
So that’s all of the questions answered, there is a follow up section of advice to follow once you have answered the questions over here on Copyblogger. Definitely worth checking out.
Just as an addendum I have had a wonderful response to doing this. In just one day I had more views of my branding blogs than I had for the whole of the last three months of last year. So, thanks for sticking with me, it’s very much appreciated. One of the nicest things about working in a creative medium is the community that you become a part of almost unintentionally.
Hope you have all had a wonderful weekend.


1 comment:

  1. Hi,have just come across your blog, and have read the last half dozen or so. Enjoyed your thoughts on business life, and I'm sure that with the thinking and work that has gone into it, I have no doubt that you will succeed. I will look out for your work, but being a 63 year old male with little taste, I may be outside of your profile. Good luck. John Evans