Sunday, January 22, 2012

Branding Your Handcrafted Product Part 2 Marketing Your Brand

Hematite Necklace with Upcycled Diamond Heart Pendant

Discovering your brand won't happen overnight. You'll start to realize what it is when the creations that excite you develop a pattern. There are certain things I love working on, and when they are finished, I'm proud of them. I can look at the design and say, "That's me."

I found this Hematite pendant on a boring necklace with Hematite beads, all the same size. Even though Rose Quartz looks awesome with Hematite, I wanted to repurpose the pendant by accenting it with something a little more unusual.

I'm happy with the finished product, but repurposing is a little different than creating from "scratch."

When I made this design I was excited from start to finish. The Lace Agate focal appealled to me, and so did the honeysuckle Quartz. When I found the lampwork beads that brought the 2 colors together, I was ecstatic.

So, my brand is "free-spirited, bold, unusual and funky." What do I do now?

Your product tells a story about the person who created it and what inspired you. Tell the story in your item description. Why? It creates a connection between you and the customer.

Your business name should provide a glimpse of what someone will find in your store. When I say that, I don't mean a bland "Sally's Soaps" type of name. Think about not only what a customer will think of when they hear your name, but how they will feel. "Sally's Sensual Soaps" invokes a feeling. See the difference? If you have already established your business name, consider adding a tag line. "Sally's Soaps" where every bath is a trip to the spa. Whenever a customer hears the name "Sally's Soaps", the word "spa" will come to mind. When someone hears epicetera I want them to think "free-spirited, uninhibited, bold".

Is there a market for your product? Who knows? If there's not, it's up to you to create one. This holds true whether you paint, create items from wood, or crochet potholders. You can create a need for your product by knowing your brand and selling in the right place. For instance, what excites you when you are working with wood? Is it the natural beauty of the grain? When you crochet a potholder, are you excited about seeing the finished product, and hope that it will create that "homespun" feel to a customer's kitchen?

Marketing Your Brand
1. Think about who your potential customers are more likely to be. Someone who prefers delicate, fine jewelry is not going to get excited about my designs, and I'm not going to try to convert them. My target audience is more likely to be women between the ages of 21 and 45, working in some type of creative field (like interior design) or marketing field (selling real estate).

2. Show what's special about your brand.   What makes a Cadillac different from a Ford Pick-Up? Each are different and have qualities that appeal to different people. It doesn't mean one is better than the other, it's more like "different strokes for different folks." But both Cadillac and Ford know their brand, what the unique qualities are, and who their target market is. My jewelry is more likely to appeal to someone who loves natural gemstones (as opposed to someone who prefers polished, faceted stones) and loves to express their individuality (an extrovert as opposed to an introvert.)

Knowing this about your product and a potential customer will allow you to create a connection by creating a need to express themselves. Think of it this way, I'm sure you've seen commercials for Dodge Ram trucks. Dodge has figured out who that potential customer is likely to be and came out with "Ram Tough" commercials. The customer wants to be portrayed just like the guy in the commercial. The commercial invoked feeling.

3. Envision your potential customer with your product. What are they doing? What are they feeling? When they purchase your bath salts, do you picture them totally relaxed, enjoying the fragrance of the bath? Do you picture the young mother using your crocheted potholders to remove her freshly baked cookies from the oven? I picture one of my customers having lunch with friends at an outdoor cafe on a sunny day. Everyone is laughing, enjoying the conversation. When they are finished with lunch, they are going to a local art gallery. Oh wow.....someone noticed how much fun my customer was having and approached her to find out where she got her necklace.....................Happy selling!!!!

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