Several weeks ago, as Bob, Jason and I walked around Carmel photographing the many sports cars temporarily at curbside rest before auctions, races, and the Concours D’Elegance, I realized how quickly I was able to determine, if not the year, at least the make and style of varying sports cars, especially Ferraris which were plentiful that weekend.
Which brings me to your creative work and mine. As we passed car after beautiful car, I learned four important lessons from them in regards to anyone doing creative work who also wants to sell it.
- Do something to draw attention.I don’t lust for a Ferrari, but one thing is undeniable, you can’t miss the deep-throated roar of its engine or its bright colors of red, burnt orange, bright orange, or sunny yellow. The Ferrari is not a shy car. It’s a car that says, “Look at me! (And my driver!)” Few people walk past a Ferrari without turning his or her head for a second look. Many people stopped to stare, walk around the car or take a picture. How can you draw the same level attention for your work? How can your work catch and hold your customer’s eyes?
- Add elements that make your work distinctive.
You can’t miss the elegance of a Packardhood ornament or the Duesenberg’s curving chrome exhaust pipes or the wheel rims of the McClaren. What is distinctive about your work? What one or two elements act as a design signature of your work? When I was doing fine craft shows, one of the things that was distinctive about my handwoven rayon chenille scarves was my hand-tied fringe. That finish combined with my color combinations were easily distinguished by both wholesale and retail customer. Those elements made my work distinctive.
- Appeal to the emotions.
The cars gathered in Carmel and exhibiting at the Concours were not meant to appeal to someone’s logical, practical side. They’re meant to be emotional experiences. Sexy, dangerous, adventurous, elegant, accomplished, secure, unique, daring, conservative, stylish, powerful. People don’t buy these kinds of cars because they make sense. And people buy them for those emotional experiences. People won’t buy your creative work because it makes sense or even because they need it. They’ll buy it for the emotions they’ll feel using it, reading it, watching it, listening to it.
- What promise do you and your creative work make to your customer?
Ferrari’s promise is a fast, low-to-the-ground, powerful driving experience. Rolls Royce promises elegance, style and luxury. An MGB promises fun and adventure. So what does your story or painting or service promise to your customer? And do you deliver on it? My scarves and other handwoven wearables promised luxury, durability and compliments. And they always delivered. In fact, I loved hearing stories from clients about their experiences of wearing those scarves to work or an event and inevitably receiving strokes, both complimentary and physical, from people.
The designers and manufacturers of these classic cars were both artists and craftsmen, evoking a spell on the imaginations and hearts of drivers from decade to decade. And the lessons they offer creatives are valuable and inspiring.
So whether your creative work is classic, custom or sporty, remember to draw attention, be distinctive, appeal to the emotions, and make a promise that is uniquely yours to make.
And have fun doing it.