As a fine-art dealer, consider how your current brand helps your gallery stand out from the competition in the minds of art collectors. Brand positioning, when done well, can be a true friend instead of your business’s greatest foe.
Typically, the first things that come to mind about branding are the visual elements, such as the logo, color, and style. But where brand positioning can be most helpful is in the intangible elements, like service, reputation, public perception, and emotion.
These are the elements often neglected by art galleries when developing and reinforcing their brand position.
The Importance of Brand Positioning to an Art Gallery Business
Whether just starting a gallery business or if you have been art dealer for years, brand position is important to the way people connect with your business. It influences all who contribute to the success of your business, from employees and artists to collectors and journalists. It is what helps shape how people feel and think about your gallery.
Developing a distinctive brand position will allow your gallery to differentiate itself from competitors, such as similar galleries, artists, and online art resources.
Creating a strong brand positioning statement enables you to communicate a customer value proposition that can be used in many ways, such as in the gallery with prospective buyers, on your website and in your brochures, in your fair booth, and with advertising and PR.
Developing a Brand Positioning Statement
Brand positioning is all about creating a perception. To be successful, a brand positioning statement should be clear, concise, and meaningful. Why should someone collect your gallery’s artists? What is the benefit of acquiring art from your gallery over other sources? These are questions that a strong statement can help answer, and the answers will be useful in creating a positive perception in a prospective buyer’s mind.
As a marketing tool, it is always a good idea to study your competitors’ brands first to identify ways that could help you stand out. When developing a statement for your art gallery business, keep these elements in mind and ensure they are addressed in your statement.
- Your target market: Who are your best collectors? Emerging collectors, investment-driven art collectors, casual art lovers, genre-focused?
- The collector’s needs: Do they need services as well as art? How much educating about art is required? Is discretion important?
- Benefits for the collector: Does your gallery represent certain artists exclusively? Do you offer payment options? Do you offer flexible hours or personalized consultations?
- Brand character: What is the personality of your gallery? This one is easy. Look at the artists you represent. Are they cutting-edge, socially conscious, traditional or timeless, daring, light-hearted, serious or sleek?
Making Friends with Your Brand
Once you have created a great brand positioning statement for your gallery, it is time to put it to work. Post it on the home page of your website; use it in your printed materials, email marketing, and exhibit invitations; and make sure all your employees live and breathe it when working with collectors, vendors, artists, and the media.
Having a brand work well is something that takes time and consistency. Make sure your brand is well thought out for the long term and be confident with it.
The art world is in an age of innovation and change. It is struggling to reposition itself. Now is the perfect to time to consider where your gallery fits in the future and reflect on your brand positioning. Is your current brand a friend or a foe? The message your brand gave five, 10, even 20 years ago may not be the most powerful message to grow your gallery business today or into the future.
The art world is very visual. You may have a beautiful space and logo, but don’t loose sight of the intangible part of branding: reputation, public perception, and emotion.