Imperfect art leads to lesson in marketing

By: Bo McDonald

Several years ago on a hot July afternoon I was browsing the many art galleries that line Royal Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Several artists and gallery managers exchanged pleasantries and asked if I needed any help. My response was the same. “No thanks, just looking.” Looking indeed. I wasn’t in the market for any art, just some free air conditioning on a scorching day in the Big Easy. All of that changed when I stepped inside Studio 831.

Immediately, a mixed-media abstract caught my attention. I was drawn to splashes of orange, one of my favorite colors.  I stopped a bit longer to look at it.  Studio owner Greg Creason engaged me in conversation. He spoke a little about the piece, and the inspiration for it on behalf of the artist, Tracy Jarmon.

“It’s not perfect you know,” Greg said. It was one of only several works that Tracy was able to recover and restore after he was forced out of his home and studio by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. “He did the best he could, but you can still see some of the watermarks on it.” Indeed you could. After spending about 10 minutes listening to the story of the artist’s Post-Katrina struggles, I was sold.

Of course I did like the painting, but the tale that went with it was amazing. Tracy Jarmon had just returned to New Orleans. He was trying to rebuild his life amid many challenges when the hurricane hit.  This piece was one of the only pre-Katrina things he had left, but needed to sell it to make ends meet.

I probably wouldn’t have bought the artwork without the message.  That’s what made it immeasurably valuable to me. I knew that “Bob”, the imperfect orang-ish image deserved a special place in my office. With a prominent view for visitors I could share the story of Tracy Jarmon.

How many people are browsing your marketing message, and passively saying “that’s nice” without much incentive to respond? Perhaps they might give you a try, much like I considered taking “Bob” home with me from Studio 831 in New Orleans. Turn inquisitive interested browsing consumers into loyal happy fans of your brand by sharing your story. Don’t make it a laundry list of products you have or a smiling face asking “can I help you?” Your brand has a story. It’s time to embrace it, craft it, and share it. Even though your message may be imperfect and have some watermarks, it’s unique. And your competitors can’t claim and steal it. Need some help crafting your story? It’s what my team loves to do. Let’s talk:

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