“Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make, but about the stories you tell,” writes one of the world’s most famous marketing minds, Seth Godin.
What he means is that today we are accustomed to processing an enormous amount of information in a short amount of time through various channels. Whereas in the past, we would be confronted with three commercials during a movie break, today there are hundreds of brand messages that reach us more or less directly through Twitter, Instagram, Google, our email inbox, and so on.
Storytelling is the new way for good digital marketing. It is mainly images that are anchored in people’s minds. “Images are processed between 6 and 600 times faster than language.”
There are many stories out there, you may think. Surely, you regularly talk to customers in your gallery or at an art fair and have a sales conversation. Good gallery owners are good salespeople. They should know how to tell good stories that also work in marketing, right?
Not entirely: Storytelling means building an emotional connection with your target audience first, and then using it to “sell” in the second step.
Here are my suggestions for 4 Do’s and Don’ts you should consider when it comes to good art market storytelling:
The 4 Don’ts
1 – Speaking to customers in jargon
While it’s important to showcase your expertise and knowledge as an artist or gallerist, using jargon and technical language can be confusing and alienating for potential buyers. Instead, try to communicate your ideas in clear and accessible language that everyone can understand.
2- Confusing storytelling with a sales pitch
While the ultimate goal of storytelling in the art market is to sell art, it’s important to avoid making your story sound like a sales pitch. Instead, focus on sharing your personal journey, inspirations and motivations, and let your potential buyers draw their own conclusions.
3 – Talking about something “cool” that happened recently
While it’s great to share exciting news and updates with your audience, it’s important to keep in mind that not everything that’s “cool” to you will be relevant or interesting to your potential buyers. Instead, try to focus on insights and perspectives that can help them better understand your art and connect with your story.
4 – Not knowing what your customers want and not addressing it
Finally, it’s essential to understand your potential buyers’ needs, preferences and interests, and tailor your storytelling accordingly. If you’re not sure what your audience is looking for, try to engage with them through social media, surveys or other channels, and use their feedback to inform your storytelling approach.
The 4 Dos
1 – Speak in images
Rather than relying on dry descriptions or explanations, try to communicate your ideas through vivid and evocative imagery.
2- Leave room for imagination
Leave room for imagination: While it’s important to convey your message clearly, it’s also crucial to leave some space for your audience’s own interpretations and experiences. This can create a more dynamic and engaging dialogue between you and potential buyers.
3 – Be honest
Authenticity is key when it comes to storytelling. Be true to yourself and your art, and avoid exaggerating or inventing details that don’t align with your personal narrative. This will help you to build trust and establish a genuine connection with your customers.
4 – Be constructive
Storytelling is not just about self-expression – it’s also an opportunity to inspire and educate your audience. Use your platform to share insights, perspectives and ideas that can help your audience to better appreciate your art and the wider cultural context in which it exists.