A product-line’s identity and the identity that a producer wants to portray to their potential customers–an identity that encourages loyalty and repeat sales.
Did I get that right? <–*is being rhetorical*
Really, that's kinda the definition I've culled from the reading I've been doing. I also think that it's somewhat problematic and a little cold since there's an emphasis on repeat sales, which–yes, yes, I know–only makes sense since we’re talking about the brand identity of a company that’s selling something (whether it’s physical products or ideals or something else).
I totally feel like I’m having an anti-capitalism/philosophical-communist thing going on here. <–This might explain why I've been having such a difficult time writing on this subject.
On the Etsy Blog, Sarah Stearns (2011) of Makery defines “brand” as
the promise that a shop makes to its customers. Your brand tells your customers what they can expect from your products and what differentiates your products from your competitors’. Simply put, your brand is a combination of the image you are trying to project for your business, plus the associations and memories that your customers bring to the table when they encounter that image. (para. 3)
Laura Lake from About.com Guide cites the American Marketing Association as defining a brand as
a name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers. (para. 1)
In The creative entrepreneur: A DIY visual guidebook for making business ideas real by Lisa Sonora Bean (2008), she simply states that brand is “a personality for your business” (p. 106).
But, really, I think my favorite, most resonate definitions of brand come from Grace Dobush in Crafty Superstar and Meg Mateo Ilasco in Craft Inc.: Turn your creative hobby into a business.
Even though it is not explicitly stated as a definition of “brand,” Dobush (2009) writes that “It’s all about first impressions” (p. 62). Yet, Ilasco (2007), I think, phrases brand best as
The common thread running through your products should be a signature aesthetic, design, technique, and/or illustration style. Your goal should be to make your products and your brand immediately identifiable. (p. 51)
Oddly, Ilasco was the first time I think I had seen someone place the emphasis on branding as an aesthetic one, which, since everyone harps upon consistency in branding (and, weirdly, in art school), connecting branding to aesthetics makes more sense. A maker’s aesthetic, while changeable, is going to stay fairly consistent. Isn’t that how a lot of art works? We recognize the artist’s style. Since a lot of the creative class of maker’s are artists, what we’re seeing often as a “brand” is really an artist’s style.
I like that idea. I like that branding is about one’s aesthetic and bringing that aesthetic to other people. Poketo is a really amazing example of this kinda of branding–especially since they’re in a highly visible market (i.e., Target). <–I really like the Poketo-aesthetic and their mission statement.
Another reason that I think I like Ilasco's take on branding is that she also emphasizes that makers need to stay true to their own thoughts and aesthetics and not worry about being trendy because it "should be an authentic expression of you" (p. 52).
And–yes–for those of you that have been paying attention, I am using a hyper-like-modified version of APA.
‘Cause that’s the way I roll: fast and outta control. *is a complete academic dork*
So, what I’ve really gotten from all of this reading and thinking about branding–which is totally something that I never thought I’d be thinking about outside of some client’s business/marketing paper in a writing center–is that branding is more about identity construction (Something that I am fantastic about and totally know the theory behind because I <3 theory!) and consistency and audience reception (Can I get another "Hells, yeah, for theory!"?). <–Yeah, I really did just do that. *feels corrupted*
I gotta tell y'all. Branding as a big, abstract business thing is kinda scary for me (as much as 'Lain thinks that nothing think-y scares me). But! For me, thinking about branding through autobiographical theory, reader-response theory, and economic theory is a far, far easier, non-scary thing.
Which is funny since theory is, by definition, a big abstract thing.
Oh, irony! How I love you!
I think I'm done babbling at y'all for awhile.
is the time in Shakespeare when we dance! it’s time for the calendar–with some revisions!
Artist Books: A Bookmaking Workshop–November 11th-12th $150.00
Bookmaking techniques and artist books! \o/ Y’all should see the list of books that I have ready to teach you!
Artists’ Demo-ing Night–November 17th
Same sitch (yes, I did use “sitch”) as the other one.
Artist Dolls–November 18th-19th $150.00
Really, this is ‘Lain’s gig; I’m just co-teaching, so she doesn’t freakout too badly.
Black Friday Mixed Media for Kids Class–November 25th
Co-taught with the fabulous Miss Carrie. Bring your kids
to be babysat to learn about and make mixed media art while you get some peace and quiet some Yule/Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah/Saturnalia/insert-your-holy-day-here shopping done.
IQ’s Winter Show–December 10th
Support your local artists this holiday by buying locally–and usually handmade!–products this season!
Artists’ Demo-ing Night (I really hope we come up with a better title soon.)–Decemeber 15th, 5-8 pm
This Demo Night happens during the ARTgarage’s annual Holiday Sale/Show, so it’s a double header.
Miss ‘Lain is also teaching a couple of other classes that I’m kinda helping out with (Mostly so that I can take the class without paying for it! Don’t tell!).
Circuit Bending 101–October 28th $60.00 <–It's totally happening. You should sign up tonight or come by the ARTgarage before 12:3- tomorrow and sign up for it!
Puppetry–December 2nd and 9th $150