Category: Academy

Call For Artists – Build a Profitable Art Business in 6 months. Orientation Starts on July 2nd

Build a Profitable Art Business

Get ongoing business development on Zoom (and eventually in-person) with this 6-month business development program.


Help 300 artists actualize a profitable business system that complements their creative cycle through design thinking approaches, workshops, and ongoing exhibits.

Creating an incubator

After years of researching how artworks, I have come to realize that we are all different, we live differently, we have different business development needs, different advertising needs and different ways of doing things. 

I used the feedback from my research to design the ABLO and SMARTERai operational philosophies that borrow from proven project management principles. This incubation program is designed to accommodate artists and cater to their different business needs.  


However, the Hiscox report notes that online art sales may be benefitting from growth in other e-commerce sectors, as 73% of art buyers said they had bought other products in a similar price range online before buying art online. In 2017, that figure was just 68%. --- Source


Sessions are once per week

  • 1st Class July 2nd 2020
  • Register first so we can get on the same page
  • Pay and setup your account on CreativeUTO.ca when you're ready 
  • Your CreativeUTO account gives you access to the backend
  • CreativeUTO account accumulates Volume for activity (community currency)
  • Early bird Pay $45 for the 1st 2-months
  • The incubator is $75 per month for 6 months
  • You get continued support after through our Slack community
  • Our classes will be through Zoom (where we will setup multiple rooms)
  • Once Social Distancing restrictions change they will eventually be in person

Click the link below to register



Scroll down for more info



All projects at CreativeUTO go through 4 phases of development. These phases are alpha, beta, launch, operate. ABLO is part of the SMARTER system; both ABLO and SMARTER are based on project management principles and that will help manage the community and the projects involved.  Projects can cycle back to any of the 4 phases in ABLO. One such project is an online collaborative incubator for artists. We’re in the BETA phase of setting up the online incubator. 


BETA phase

We are in the alpha phase of the incubator, looking to gather a community of artists who will get to develop their business side through our workshops; where they will  get proper guidance to prepare a pitch deck for their organization detailing out  their value proposition, target market, sales funnel, and marketing plans.


While online art market growth may be plodding, one key trend has emerged: Big spenders—defined by Hiscox as collectors who spend more than $100,000 per year on art—are increasingly comfortable browsing and buying art online. The report notes that these big spenders are the most frequent visitors to online sales platforms, with 50% of them visiting multiple times per week—a big jump from the previous year, when just 38% of big spenders made multiple virtual trips per week to online art vendors. And those increasingly frequent visits are translating to more transactions—47% of big spenders said they bought art online in the last 12 months, up from 30% in the 2018 report. - Source

In house currency

Community members who earn MANA (our in house currency, built into your account on our website) can use it to trade for resources, cash out, or trade-in for a license to host workshops or their own projects.  


In house workshops include:

  •       SMARTER Collaboration
  •       The Art of the Sale
  •       Know Thyself
  •       Business Model Canvas 2020
  •       WordPress Website Workshop
  •       Get up to $7,000 in funding through Access


You walk away with knowledge on how to operate a profitable business system that fits your day to-day creative process

This includes: 

  • The freedom to fail and succeed
  • Free-flowing design thinking classes
  • Showcase your art at our upcoming exhibits
  • How to set up and operate your WordPress Website
  • Keyword research 
  • Get your pages on Google
  • Social media strategy
  • A Business Model Canvass to create a Pitch Deck
  • Sales funnel content & marketing strategy
  • A fully functional  website
  • Work on projects, or workshops in the community
  • Create a tribe and collaborate on projects together


  • Access to a community of artists
  • Access to events, programs, and workshops

Long term goals

  • Helps us create resources to help with homelessness, isolation and mental illness in our community
  • Build an ecosystem of 300 artists
  • Help us build the Artists and Social Innovation Expo. A 7 day 300 annual artist art installation.

Registration process 

  • 1st Class July 2nd 2020
  • Register first so we can get on the same page
  • Pay and setup your account on CreativeUTO.ca when you're ready 
  • Your CreativeUTO account gives you access to the backend
  • CreativeUTO account accumulates Volume for activity (community currency)
  • Early bird Pay $45 for the 1st 2-months
  • Incubator is $75 per month for 6 months
  • You get continued support after through our Slack community
  • Our classes will be through Zoom (where we will setup multiple rooms)
  • Once Social Distancing restrictions change they will eventually be in person


Click the link below to register


Sessions are weekdays between

Design thinking classes targets everyone on the bell curve

  • 1 till 3 pm
  • 5 till 8 pm
  • 8 till 11 open house 




The Unicorn Exploratory Workshop Hosted by Vince Schutt MBA

Exploratory Workshop Hosted by Vince Schutt MBA

About the workshop

As an artist, my art is facilitation.  I will facilitate an exploratory workshop on the use of art as a communication medium for empowering community's own motivations and will to move forward on environmental solution-making.

About Vince Schutt

Vince is the founder of Enviromentum.  He facilitates learning opportunities for people from all walks to empower their communications in ways they never really knew were possible.

Vince is not fond of walks on the beach, and if he has to walk on the beach he'd prefer it to be short over long.


Visit Vince's website




  • 1st Class July 2nd 2020
  • Register first so we can get on the same page
  • Pay and setup your account on CreativeUTO.ca when you're ready 
  • Your CreativeUTO account gives you access to the backend
  • CreativeUTO account accumulates Volume for activity (community currency)
  • Early bird Pay $45 for the 1st 2-months
  • The incubator is $75 per month for 6 months
  • You get continued support after through our Slack community
  • Our classes will be through Zoom (where we will setup multiple rooms)
  • Once Social Distancing restrictions change they will eventually be in person

For more info about our whole program click here

Click the link below to register

Personal Branding Unicorn Workshops Facilitated by 5 X Tedx Speaker Bobby Umar

Personal Branding Workshop Facilitated by 5 X Tedx Speaker Bobby Umar


There are followers, there are leaders, and then there are thought leaders. Thought leadership is a key differentiator between those brands who are driving the conversation forward versus simply engaging in it.
It is a type of content marketing where you invest in the experience, talent and passion within you, your business, from your community, to drive the conversation and answer the biggest questions of your target audience on a particular topic.
Your personal brand is your promise to deliver to every person you come in contact with. It is your reputation, integrity and what your audience expects of you, whether they are your team, your tribe or your customers. Building a strong thought leadership personal brand will set you apart, create more opportunities, and help you stay on top of the innovative trends in your industry. Bobby Umar will share the 3 key aspects of a Thought Leadership
Personal Brand and drill deeper into the what and how on one of the key aspects: content creation and generating new ideas.
This will be a key aspect to building your business. There will also be a Q & A session where you can ask any question around your business and current state.


  • Why invest in your leadership and personal development
  • What is personal branding and why it is important
  • Why thought leadership
  • How to determine your personal brand
  • How to build thought leadership
  • Deeper dive into content creation, idea generation and leveraging LinkedIn

Bobby Umar, CEO of DYPB

Bobby Umar is an inspirational speaker, coach, and one of the most prolific advocates of heart-based leadership in North America. Inc Magazine named him one of the Top 100 Leadership Speakers, alongside such noteworthy giants as Richard Branson, Brené Brown and John Maxwell. Bobby is a 5x TEDx speaker, and one of the top social media influencers in the world, with over half a million followers. 

He has been named the "2nd Best Business Coach to Follow" on Twitter and the "4th Best Leadership Influencer" according to Kred. Bobby is an author of three international books, including a #1 Best Seller. He is also a Huffington Post contributor and hosted a weekly tweetchat called “The Power of Connection” that reached over 65 million impressions weekly. To date, his social media influence has garnered over 1 billion impressions. Bobby was also named a "2015 Speaker to Watch” and most recently, he was named a "Top 7 Networking Guru to Follow".

A social media advocate, who champions authentic connection and leadership, Bobby has appeared on hundreds of podcasts, TV and radio shows. With a background in brand marketing (Kraft and Unilever), engineering (Bombardier) and the performing arts (Second City), Bobby has led Raeallan (www.raeallan.com) for over a decade and is now a recognized thought leader in networking, social media and personal branding. He founded the DYPB – Discover Your Personal Brand movement (www.dypb.ca), which for five years hosted the largest event

in North America dedicated solely to personal branding, featuring 60 experts and over 300 delegates. 250,000+ people from across the world have experienced Bobby’s high-energy keynotes, interactive team-building activities, and engaging workshops.


Follow DYPB on IG



Follow DYPB on Linked in




  • 1st Class July 2nd 2020
  • Register first so we can get on the same page
  • Pay and setup your account on CreativeUTO.ca when you're ready 
  • Your CreativeUTO account gives you access to the backend
  • CreativeUTO account accumulates Volume for activity (community currency)
  • Early bird Pay $45 for the 1st 2-months
  • The incubator is $75 per month for 6 months
  • You get continued support after through our Slack community
  • Our classes will be through Zoom (where we will setup multiple rooms)
  • Once Social Distancing restrictions change they will eventually be in person

For more info about our whole program click here

Click the link below to register

Creative Unicorns Strategy Workshop Facilitated By Salomeh Ahmadi

The Unicorn Strategy Workshop May 2020

Course Description

Develop your ability to innovate, think strategically, and gain a competitive advantage for your organization through strategy – placing the right resources in the right direction at the right time.

This course is designed to provide learners how to incorporate better business strategy and strategic thinking and apply essential business management principles to your idea or company. You'll see how planning and taking action over the long term can help realize business goals and objectives given the complex and dynamic context that might be unique to you. You'll examine case studies that cover a wide range of business situations and issues. You'll gain practical and focused strategic-planning thinking, and then explore and integrate functional business activities into the business plan.

You will develop your ability to think strategically, analyze the competitive environment, and recommend positioning and value creation. We will look at the fundamental tools you need to understand strategy: effective internal and stakeholder analysis; environmental analysis, value chain, core competencies, McKinsey's 7S Framework, SWOT-analysis, Porter’s 5 Forces, visioning, to name a few

Assess: where are you today?

Alternatives: what might you do / provide?

Choice: what should you do?


  • Design the foundations of a strategic roadmap
  • Identify opportunities to improve your top and bottom line
  • Evaluate how internal and external forces might affect your strategic moves
  • Learn how to better thinking strategically
  • Touch on business growth strategy

About Salomeh Ahmadi

  • With an MBA and a background in the social sector, Salomeh focuses on connecting the parts to the whole in new and empowering ways. She brings experiences working in small and fast-paced organizations, with SMEs, and social entrepreneurs, providing research, strategic and critical thinking to resolve complex issues. A strong facilitator and creative problem solver - she hones in on the gaps while connecting it to the bigger picture.

Visit her website




  • 1st Class July 2nd 2020
  • Register first so we can get on the same page
  • Pay and setup your account on CreativeUTO.ca when you're ready 
  • Your CreativeUTO account gives you access to the backend
  • CreativeUTO account accumulates Volume for activity (community currency)
  • Early bird Pay $45 for the 1st 2-months
  • The incubator is $75 per month for 6 months
  • You get continued support after through our Slack community
  • Our classes will be through Zoom (where we will setup multiple rooms)
  • Once Social Distancing restrictions change they will eventually be in person

For more info about our whole program click here

Click the link below to register

Support & Resources for Artists During COVID-19

As we move into the middle of May, Toronto looks at implementing phase one of lifting some of the lockdown restrictions. This can be as soon as May 19th CBC reports. Thanks to our collective due diligence, persistence to social distancing and lockdown measures - let's continue to avoid a second wave.

Below is a list of resources to support artists while we are planning around COVID in the coming months. While protecting the health of our communities, it’s inevitable that without income our collective health will be impacted by stress while managing the necessities to get by. There are supports out there beyond the emergency relief fund. Governments, organizations and grassroots have diligently and compassionately compiled resources and support for everyone who needs, to seek them.

Recently, Canada Council for the Arts (CCA) conducted a survey in early April 2020 to better understand the needs of the professional arts sector to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. The report can be found here. Of their membership, 8,842 replied. Where 42% of individual respondents said they had or would be applying to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit; and 61% expressed confidence that the emergency aid measures announced by the federal government would be helpful to them – that leaves 39% who believe it will not. 

Despite the uncertain future, the city, communities, organizations and government have come together support as best as they can. Below is a partial list of resources available for artists, individuals and even organizations.

Supports For Artists

CBC Compiled a list of where Canadian artists and freelancers can find help during COVID-19 shutdowns https://www.cbc.ca/arts/here-s-where-canadian-artists-and-freelancers-can-find-help-during-covid-19-shutdowns-1.5503360

Freelance Artist Resource: This is a list of free resources and financial relief for those artists of all disciplines. This list is specifically designed to serve freelance artists and those interested in supporting the independent artist community. www.freelanceartistresource.com/

Artwork Archive: Financial Relief, www.artworkarchive.com/blog/financial-relief-resources-for-artists-during-covid-19

Edu Arts: This includes a list of specific resources by category, www.eduarts.ca/resources-for-the-arts-and-learning-sector-during-the-covid-19-pandemic

Toronto Arts Council: Federal and local supports, https://torontoartscouncil.org/covid-19/emergency-funding-support


General Resources

  • 519: A more holistic list of resources and information about services, supports, and care during COVID-19. Including essential services, care, emotional supports and supports for newcomers and refugees. www.the519.org/covid19resources
  • 211: A List of Food Banks in Ontario
  • Tapa Micro-Grant: A one-time micro-grant of $75 for artists for groceries (you can also donate) https://tapa.ca/submission-micro-artist-grants-for-groceries-bad-news-days/
  • Grassroots Resource: A Toronto-based, community grassroots effort, organized by initiative and type of support. You can either look for support or provide it. This excel includes, volunteering and financial, with tabs at the bottom that include: how to help; health/mental health; support services; free activities; and more – updated regularly in this excel.

Be well,

To stay up to date on the Canadian response and supports available during COVID, see updates on the federal website for individuals, businesses and sectors. And if you plan on applying for the Emergency benefits, which have now been extended to August 2020, you can read about How to apply for EI and COVID-19 emergency benefits, on CBC here.

Reduce Bounce Rate Increase Online Sales

Are you a Website Browser?

Most of us browse websites, probably more than we are willing to admit. But what makes us stay there?

If someone clicked on your website will it stick? Will they stay to browse? And will that ultimately lead to a sale? Knowing the answers to these questions requires you to look over some of the (easier) analytics behind your website in order to work on optimizing your digital assets.

The bounce rate is the percentage of users who land on your website and decide to leave after visiting only one page. Ultimately, a higher bounce rate, as a percentage, indicates you neither converted nor convinced the user to stay. The purpose of selling your work online is to ensure a seamless customer journey from start to finish, here’s how.

  1. Quality – this can mean different things to different prospects. What does your ideal client need in terms of quality? High-resolution images? A quick purchase in two clicks? The right words, or easy user experience? Clutter-free navigation and usability? As well as, the right content. Ensure all or some of these as you roll out your business.
  2. Optimize page load time – if your page takes too long to load, or looks unusable in mobile, this increases frustration and decreases engagement. More importantly, load rates affect shopping cart abandonment.
  3. Call to action – what single and specific action do you want users to take when they’ve consumed whatever content you’re offering? One suggestion: subscribe to an email list, or get access to a freebie that requires their email. After this, you can send them great content to build a relationship.
  4. Smart Formatting – don’t include so much text that leaves readers lost and uninterested. Use headings, subheadings and of course the right colour contrast and size for visibility. Hire a copy editor for readability, if you’re unsure of how to convey a strong and simple sales message (or read over the successful websites that do it right for an idea).
  5. Attract the right visitors – this could be the meta descriptions for users’ searches. Achieve this through blogging, content marketing. Create great content and improve engagement; social media and video marketing, and here are 42 more ways to do this.

Bounce Rate

Many sites have a high bounce rate. As a result, this can mean people are just visiting, but it also means the remaining users are serious buyers and remain longer - but you must ensure they lean towards yes and not the middle. The bounce rate numbers range from 31%-50% (an excellent rate) for some art marketplaces like Etsy and Artnet. You can find out your website's analytics from tools such as Google Analytics, which has to be connected to your website.

Similarly, ‘Time on Page’ is another approximate metric. That and bounce rates are based on whether or not two clicks are made in order to accurately calculate, otherwise, it’s just an average. Ultimately, consider these metrics holistically and not in isolation.

Likewise, there's data for industry-specific conversion rates. Conversion rates are the percentage of website visitors who convert - either buy or convert into action. According to WordStream, across industries, the average landing page conversion rate was 2.35-2.8%, (arts and crafts are at 3.84-4%) yet the top 25% are converting at 5.31% or higher. Ideally, you want to break into the top 10%. As well, these numbers change according to the device (remember to optimize your web content for mobile!). In the end, focus on your art, the content and tackle each of these areas one-by-one so people remain, and not bounce.

5 Websites to Sell Art Online in 2020

Websites to Sell Art Online

Online art sellers have a goal in common with you, which is to find qualified buyers to view and purchase your art. They're your business partners. Here are a few sites to start and what they have to offer.

Saatchiart –  boasts over 12 million monthly page views and an extensive marketing plan that includes mailing printed catalogues. Additionally, they have editorial features and art advisory services. Their commission is 35% on every artwork sold. If you price your pieces slightly over your general asking price to offset this, you might get great exposure. Otherwise, you can create your own website and for the cost of the domain, host and marketing budget you might lean on your networks and marketing. You can sell anything from paintings, installations, sculptures to prints. Founded in 2010.

Your cut: 65%

Etsysupport independent creators’ is the go-to marketplace for vintage, art, and handcrafted items. While it has gone through a lot of changes, including the questionable nature of 'hand-made,' Etsy still boasts total visits of 208 million in September (similarweb.com). The majority are from the US at 60%, and 10% of their traffic is from social with Pinterest at number one. Founded in 2006.

Your cut: all of it, except the 0.26 CAD cents fee per items posted, and a 5% commission.

Society6selling your art reproductions on a variety of products such as prints, mugs and shower curtains – this is the site. You retain the rights to your work, and they manage order fulfillment including packaging and shipping. Just upload, select products and dimensions. They had 3.97 million visitors in September. Founded in 2009.

Your cut: you set up a markup price only for three products in their catalogue: art prints, framed prints, and canvas. And each other item has a flat rate, and then you decide what your profit is on top of that.

Artfinder - with over 10,000 artists from all mediums (digital and sculpture), this site has work ranging from $26 to $65,000. The website is simple and easy to navigate. As well, they had 348 million visitors in September, with high traffic in the UK recently (similarweb.com). Founded in 2011 and based in London and Miami. 

Your cut: 67%


Art and Prints

Some POD sites (print on demand) might be free (ArtPal has no commission, some are curated such as French-based Singulart that has a global list of artists; and there’s even a space for digital art to buy, Daata Editions that posts original, digital artworks by established and emerging artists, allowing you to stream or download high-quality digital artworks on any device” among many others, Tappan Collective, Artfinder, Zatista, or Azucar), but don’t expect to sell out of your work. There isn’t a lot of data that guarantees success. Use these tools as a platform and aim to bring visitors to your website or mailing list. Review the social media accounts, reviews, and if the site is marketing through ads and other means to keep their website traffic going. Check to see if your aesthetic or medium fits, review the costs, and other perks offered by each.

Ultimately, if you place yourself on an existing platform that has an audience in the millions – you might get the exposure you will not through your website traffic alone. As a result, you might benefit from having both a personal website and another account, as well as social media, where buyers might find you. Be strategic with your time. As well, you can always add more accounts later. 

Bounce Rate

Know your bounce rate - the percentage of visitors who enter a site and then leave after visiting one page is the bounce rate. This could mean people are just visiting, but it also means the remaining users are serious buyers and remain longer. The numbers range from a 31%-50% bounce rate for Etsy and other similar arts markets, which is an excellent rating. I previously discussed how to improve your bounce rate here

Selling your art online today is a bit of trial and error. There aren’t enough reliable reviews to know which site will work best for you. Often, they’re user-generated and buyers searched (be sure to use your tags and key search terms). Browse the website, and review the quality and shopping experience.

Firstly, ensure you have one popular social media account such as Instagram or a Facebook group, for instance. Secondly, join other sites that work best for you. Ultimately, if most of these sites can charge the customer for the shipping fees, I think it pays to remove the guesswork out of marketing to a wider and more global audience.

5 Marketing Myths For Creative Entrepreneurs

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Creating art and running a business can feel like two full-time jobs, but it doesn’t have to be if you work smarter and not harder. Sometimes I see creatives put energy into non-urgent tasks, such as, why won't people follow me on Instagram?


Our good pal Ross from the show Friends once yelled, 'Pivot!' when moving a couch up against a corner staircase. Pivoting is important. A lot of business owners refuse to pivot and thus become unsustainable. Most businesses dissolve before they hit the two-year mark. Pivoting is vital as an entrepreneur. While you might not be well-versed in all things business, you can definitely learn, try, repeat, and adjust. You must assess what you did, such as when you wrote those reflection papers in school. You need to be reviewing your actions. Think back, what did you learn?

All start-ups go through an iterative process, which essentially means you learn from your mistakes. The process by which you get closer to creating exactly what is needed in the world (a product or service) and having it stick. For example, concerts are no longer just about musicians, but also the art, outfits and light installations. An experience they can charge twice as much for.

In the art world, we also see it as the turn of the century artists who push new forms, or politics, or trendy mediums. For example, there's a trend in life-like sketching. There's also an interest in graphic design, web design, book design, and storytelling. Big brands want to collaborate with local artists because they have authentic fans that big brands could never cultivate. You should know what you do and do not want.

Knowing what to do and what not to do is key. These will change for your medium, industry and geography generally speaking. There might be more once you dig a little deeper into what you or a similar competitor is or is not doing.

5 Marketing Myths

1) Hashtags: Once a business owner asked me, how can I use hashtags to get customers? Tags don’t convert a person to purchase something or even some of the time. Hashtags are one step in attracting people to pay attention to you. Then you need a call to action – a follow, a subscribe, a message, or a newsletter sign-up. The engagement and call to action are vital steps that build up the relationship into a sales funnel. After this, you have to continue to build trust before selling. Unless you get a celebrity endorsement - people need to build trust or be referred to you.

2) New is best: vintage always makes a comeback (hello 90s hip-hop), and certain forms of art, such as macramé and life-like sketches are trending. We also see a return to analog photography. New is not always best but can be where used appropriately. If your story is aligned with vintage, old, or analog – play on that theme authentically in your marketing. Don’t try to be “new” because contemporary art says so.

3) Don’t make mistakes: failure is just another learning opportunity. You might shy away because of fear and doubt, but historically art and inventions were born out of repeated attempts at simply trying. You learn from who you are and what you know in order to evolve. Some of those learnings might be from doing it wrong, so you get closer to how to do it right. If it's worth your goals, you won't give up.

4) Marketing = sales: sometimes, but not all the time. If you’re a visual artist who’s only posting on Instagram, you might find out gallery representation is better. If you’re a graphic designer, you might find out cold-calling agencies to provide contract work or collaborations with brands might be your bread and butter. Just passively posting on social media or buying ads does not translate into direct sales, unless your marketing budget is in the five-figures. Above all, your story has to land. Your artistic medium might be saturated with competition - do you stand out and in what ways?

5) A portfolio is enough: if someone asks to see your portfolio, and you have one, but never returns, what do you do? If you do nothing, you’re not doing enough. Engagement is key in nurturing relationships over time. Remember the sales funnel is a process where someone is attracted, interested and engaged, which might translate into a sale over time. Typically, a sale is not the first step. An interested buyer might come back 6 months from now to have you interior design their whole house if you left a strong impression on them. If you don’t maintain relationships with interested parties, through professional and timely follow-ups, you might be losing a sale or referral. Just parking your work on the world wide web does not translate into sold-out tickets to your concert.

The Right Way

Social media, SEO, or word-of-mouth are each individual means of marketing, not a single one is the answer to a lucrative career. You need to find out which tactics will work best for you and your target market. If you might do best through gallery representation, and if your target market is retired women 55+ with a master’s degree, who enjoy travelling and documentaries, they might not be on social media let alone using hashtags. Are you spending too much time on Instagram?

Put aside time to research and learn about marketing, test, and gauge the impacts and results. What did you do, what didn’t you do, what worked and what didn’t. Always get feedback. Don't be shy, ask others, specifically your ideal clients, what do they like or dislike about how they can find out about your art and purchase it. Do they prefer an email, shopping in-person, or shopping online through a secure e-commerce site? Where will they hear about you or where do they frequent?

Marketing is a spectrum of approaches and tactics, from competitive analysis to pricing, to your promotions. The answers won’t come through a magic ball, but understanding the myths can help you pivot.

Branding versus Marketing

Branding, Marketing, Logo – What’s The Difference?

Branding versus Marketing

What does the public say about your artwork? Ok, what does your friend or parents say about it?

You need to know what the public’s perception is of you in business because feedback is gold. This type of analysis is what corporations pay money to research through surveys and focus groups. Knowing where your business stands in branding, marketing and strategy are important concepts to know when developing a marketing strategy. What’s the difference and why should you care? If you’re trying to monetize your passion, it pays to know how to run a business.

Branding is what the public thinks and says about you. Alternatively, marketing is what you say you want your company to be. Your marketing strategy is based on what you want to sell or pitch. For e.g. back your ads by market research, or which ads should you run where. That requires a marketing budget. If you're a big company you’re focusing on awareness, clicks and traction. As a small business, you should also consider these to a certain extent.

Branding runs a bit deeper than marketing and can even encourage someone to buy a product. Based on the last product you bought, whether athletic wear or technology, why did you choose that brand and not another one, when the price wasn’t a variable?

Three concepts you need to know to decipher in the world of business:

Branding versus marketing:

Branding is who you are, and marketing is how you will build and showcase brand awareness so you get in front of your ideal customer. Branding is vital in huge and saturated markets. In art or music, how will your brand or story stand out? Visually speaking we see the brand first and remember it, or not. How the customer's eye perceives or remembers you is branding. What can they expect of you? Marketing is a plan or set of tools you will implement to deliver your brand message. Marketing supports your brand message and can be a mix of visuals, texts, keywords, videos and so on, both online and offline.

Brand versus a Logo:

If a brand is how a customer experiences your product or service, a brand is a single visual that represents your company. Brands are ultimately built through customer interpretation and perception. That might not be what you expect and so encourage feedback and research. Let’s take the famous Nike logo. It’s unmistakable, but what Nike has mastered is the logo instils the brand into your brain because through marketing you have seen a lot of things represent ‘Nike’ through ads, videos, and sponsorships. They have done this seamlessly. If you think Nike, you can probably come up with a few words to describe what Nike represents as a brand. If someone is not familiar with your logo or your brand, they need constant reminders to engage before they connect with it. Ultimately, they need an emotional or memorable experience related to it to excite or interest them. This is where immersive experiences, community building and collaborations matter.

Marketing strategy versus marketing tactics:

A strategy is a plan you will put into place to achieve a specific goal or set of goals. Put another way, what resources will you put where to achieve the desired outcome, based on an analysis. On the other hand, tactics are the sets of actions you will implement to achieve those goals. So your strategy informs the tactics you choose. Choosing the right tactics is important to achieving the right outcomes. In a saturated market for e.g. marketing on every single social media platform might not be realistic. By choosing where, how and when to post you are being strategic – and the tactic is what you post, where and when. Strategy is like chess, and it helps define your competitive strategy. Tactics are the details.

Branding is often said what leads to fans, people who come back and are ride-or-die. Alternatively, marketing helps to get people to go to the brand in the first place. Both are important and one does not necessarily come before the other – it depends on a lot of variables such as industry, size and market. Remember, you need to find a balance between how you think you’re conveying your brand and how it’s actually received. Be open to feedback and evolution.


Value Proposition for Creative Entrepreneurs


Value Proposition for Creative Entrepreneurs

Creativity is a unique skill. Artists have the advantage to create and demonstrate the value they provide simply because they’re creative. This is not a skill available to everyone. Creativity is a currency. Overall, your value just needs to be rendered in the right way, to the right audience at the right time. You know that not all art sells. So what do you promise to deliver to customers should they choose to buy your product or service? That is the definition of a value proposition (VP).


Sometimes a VP sticks because it's trendy. It pops up at the right time to the right audience. Today, right now, I see popularity sits with graphics and stories about self-care, mental health, and work-life balance – all flourishing on Instagram. We see these in the form of quotes, comics, posters, and strong illustrations with a cohesive colour pallet and brand story. This lands with people because it is human nature to go through emotional peaks and valleys and to try to self-actualize and evolve. We want to relate, we don't want to feel alone, and we want to feel better.

The fact that artists and writers are tapping into a trend, or zeitgeist of the moment (however you see it), is a win-win situation. It is what the audience is craving and the story that artists share. Talking about self-care and mental health also helps to remove the stigma around mental and psychological growth. Health and wellness are universal. In many ways, we know art is also universal.

Do you need a Value Proposition (VP)?

Just because you’re an artist, and "the medium speaks for itself," it’s understandable you don’t desire or want a VP to convey to a potential buyer, manager, producer or client. However, if they don’t have access to your work, how will you hook them and get their immediate attention through a conversation? What will you place in your social media bios and artist statement? Apart from that, how can we know with certainty that your art will land, on its own, into the minds of audiences? Sometimes the art becomes even more memorable due to the story behind it. You write this as an artist statement. But the artist statement is meant for those who more often understand art, which is not always the general public or potential customers, and plus it's quite lengthy. That's where you want to introduce the VP.


Check out three artists you admire, review their website, the about, artist statements if they have, and bios.

How would you describe them in one sentence to someone? What stands out to you? Why do you like them? What's cohesive about the value they provide? How would you describe them in three words?

Lost in Translation

Art doesn’t translate to every audience. Similarly, listen to conversations in a museum where everyday people try to interpret the art. However, that is not to say that you can’t get people’s attention. If you’re clear on what you want to convey, chances are it sticks and is something they want to return to (and maybe even purchase).

While the artist statement depicts the deeper purpose and ethos of your work, you need a much shorter 1-2 sentence statement about your work that sounds good when you speak it. For example, Beyoncé’s VP is tapping into the ethos of the feminist women's empowerment movement. Thinking of Beyoncé, you might consider the words strong, beautiful, independent, to ‘run the world’ and ‘get in formation.’ We won’t argue the merits of ‘feminism’ through Beyoncé here, but the point is to the suggestion that her ethos and unique value and message is clear – for independent women to be themselves, and to remember how strong they are. Arguably this is an underlying theme throughout her career, but now more explicitly so.

Banksy, as we all know, is the anti-art graffiti artist whose message can be summed up as social justice and politically driven, with a lot of nuance to each piece. The point is you want to be recognizable without feeling compartmentalized – you are not your VP. It is just part of the story you share today. That VP will change with the seasons if you want it to.

Top Tips for your VP

  1. Don’t bury your VP in meaningless slogans, buzzwords or a story that doesn’t move cohesively throughout your brand and products.
  2. Make it strong because people generally have about 7-11 seconds to latch onto your message and get it. From your website to your in-person ‘elevator’ pitch.
  3. Keep it simple. Be quick and explicit about pointing out how your product or service is unique and powerful. Why do you do it – make sure your passion and truth speak.
  4. Make it even simpler. Test it out on people. Is what they interpret, what you think you are?
  5. Frame it as a relationship. You are creating a relationship with your thoughts and experiences to produce art; likewise, through art, you create a new relationship between the observer (or listener) and the art. What relationship are you creating? What are you building – trust, honesty, integrity, curiosity, inspiration, or a feeling?

So which comes first, the art or the VP? There’s no correct answer to this. With Banksy, he was driven by his artistic vision and the value he expressed to the world and people took note. With Beyonce, she evolved over time into the women’s empowerment movement more explicitly as a society did too during a pivotal time. Finally, in an economically driven society and in the attempt to destroy the ‘starving artist’ trope – your VP is the reason why people will buy from you.

MoMA writes in there about,

“We’re committed to sharing the most thought-provoking modern and contemporary art”

This is simple and different. Ultimately, not all spaces focus on ‘thought-provoking’ art, and this VP will be reflected in the decisions MoMA makes in curation. Likewise, you as an artist are curating not just your work for the sake of creation, but for an audience. Your work deserves to move and stir in people whatever it is that you want to propose to them, just make it clear.