Selling Your Creative Ideas

Lesson 10/15 - Branding 101


Selling Your Creative Ideas


Lesson Info

Branding 101

So branding, it is a corporate concept, and you know people get a little off put by it especially more on the creative end of things, like how am I going to brand myself, like please. But now you know what I'm saying, you have a bigger sense of where I'm coming from. I would like you to use the lessons of brand development, go buy a book on it if you have to, to discuss this on the heels of talking of authenticity. I know I'm starting to sound like an agency type, but there is definitely value to having this, this brand of what you're doing. Even if it is vaudeville, even if it is a 19th century brand, it is a brand. And people get it when they see you. The get gardening, they get spoken word poetry, or whatever it is you're giving off. So it has to be slick in its own way, if that makes sense? And just remember you are selling something, okay? So when I was titling this course, I wonder if it was really crass to call it selling your creative idea, and I thought about it for awhile and...

people really care about their ideas, don't necessarily want to see it in the sense that they are selling it off to a venture capitalist or whatever. And I didn't want people to think that this course was about that, what now I think you understand it's more about, is having an idea, and finding the well spring of support that you need, okay? But you are still in sales mode. You are selling something, and even if you don't like the idea of being like a sales guy, you are now. So you have to go out there and take that idea, and convince others to love it as much as you do, or at least love it enough to write you a check, so you can do what you love best. You have something wonderful, and you should be proud to want to sell it, right. It has a home somewhere. So, with that, the basics of brand building. Consistency is everything. Consistency is everything, don't design a logo now, put it out there, and then have a new idea for the logo, you know we talked about this for the idea itself, right where you have the idea and it keeps changing because of your creative crazy mind. That can also happen with your branding material so please be careful, don't design a logo and then be like this logo sucks, I want to do a different one and then put that one out there and then you realize the old one is still on the website. Please don't do that, okay. Persistence is also key. Both consistency and persistence, to anyone who is watching this who is a business person, has probably already turned this lesson plan off, because they already know that and they already do that in their regular lives. That's how I know my real audience is still with me. Because to anyone who's already in the business world, this stuff would be really really obvious but to those of us who are idea factories, who write for a living, who draw for a living, who are expected by our peers and our clients to come up with ideas all the time, that's how your brain starts to work. So, consistency and persistence are an aphemia to our very existence, and so it can be super super hard. And you don't always see yourself, so just be careful that you keep yourself in check, and stay persistent with this idea, remind yourself how wonderful it is when you start to feel bored. Make yourself as visible as you can, be memorable. That's easy for some of us, hone in on the essence of your idea, okay. Remember not to be that seven year old you that can't wait to tell mom about everything that happened. And don't be boring, put on a show. We're kinda all in vaudeville, in that sense. This goes back to my thing about storytelling. You're telling a story, you are getting people super excited, give that enthusiasm off, like let that energy come out, put on a show. In business they often call it like a dog and pony show, it's so corny but like, what if you really were giving a dog and pony show? That would be kind of awesome! Who doesn't wanna see a dog and pony show? So sometimes I like to look at old cliche's, like elevator speech, elevator pitch, dog and pony show, where did these concepts come from? It was because somebody thought like, I shouldn't just walk in and give a sales pitch, I should give a dog and pony show. (laughs) I want you to think about that, I want you to be inspired by some of these old cliches. Because it's about being remembered, and earlier I told you don't do it if it's boring, and I mean that like if you, one of the things my husband used to say to our kids who are grown now but I love this lesson he gave to them. He said remember, what's easy is hard, and what's hard is easy. I think his dad used to say that to him. I love that advice and now it's become a little family saying of ours. You know remember, what's easy is hard, and what's hard is easy, what does that mean? When someone gives you a challenge, like you're in school, he was telling this to our kids when they were little, but when the teacher says who wants to go first, do it! Why, because what's hard is easy. See, everyone is like dang, she's going first. They think you're brave, they're already impressed. So the fact, and they're already gonna be a little bit more forgiving, probably, teacher too. Because you went first, because there's no precedent. What's hard is easy, but when you are the last one, because that was the easiest and laziest thing to do, that's actually really hard because everyone's exhausted, nobody cares about the damn speeches anymore, and you know wander up there with the exact same book report that all the other seventh graders just gave, and you're boring. So you took the easy route, and it's actually going to be harder for you. I think that's great advice, I got to hand it to my husband I hope that was super smart. So be loud, be original, be confident, and what's hard is easy and what's easy is hard. The essence of being cool, I know you're looking at me like, yes, tell me how to be cool because I'm so cool, middle aged white lady, but the essence of being cool right, the people we see who we think are cool, is confidence. You look at like a really cool rock star, musician, rap star, whoever, movie celebrity, they just look confident, it's probably all fake, but they look really confident. The coolest kid at your school was essentially just kind of standoffish and probably confident, that's really what it's about and you have to remember that you're not for everyone. So if you are the type of person who tends to be a people pleaser, and tends to want to be liked by everybody, this is going to be super hard for you. Getting yourself noticed, right, means getting yourself criticized. And it means that you're not for everyone. I think Harley-Davidson, the motorcycle company actually used to have an old slogan, we're not for everyone, great slogan actually, and it's like, that means they know their audience, unlike the pharmacy right, the Nationwide Pharmacy, they are for everyone, everyone at some point is going to buy a snickers bar, or cough syrup, or medicine, or whatever. The things you buy in a pharmacy, they really are for everybody, but a motorcycle isn't for everybody. My mom looks at motorcycles, and is mortified. She would, not even not buy one, she wouldn't talk about motorcycle riding. And are they, should Harley-Davidson be offended when they see my mothers response? I mean no, they could give a crap what she thinks. That needs to be you, you need to be more like that kind of a brand, where you are not for everyone. If there are haters, you are like, I mean, I'm not for them, I'm not for that audience. And that's the kind of confidence that is actually really difficult for some people. It's a little difficult for me I was brought up to be a people pleaser, and it's I had to kind of grow up and get over that and realize some people are just not gonna dig it, and that's okay. Your idea isn't for everyone, so stay true to your audiences and don't be shy about it. I'll tell you whose, I think is super cool, Shepard Fairey. There's a documentary that came out recently about him which I watched and was so inspired because we're approximately the same age, and we're both artists, and of course I've been doing a lot of mural arts and stuff so I couldn't wait to see this, and I'm watching this story with great interest, and it's kind of hard not to compare myself to somebody like that especially if we're like the same age and, he's a super celebrity and I'm not, I'm looking at him and I'm like wow, I just love what he's done and when they started talking about the origins of his work with the Obey Giant concept, if you're familiar with Shepard Fairey. Those of you who are not he did the Obama hope poster that is so iconic. But he's been called our generations Andy Warhol, he is just really really notable as an art producer, as a content producer. I mean yes he also has a line of skateboard clothing and he might be accused of being mainstream lets say but that's because of his overwhelming success. So, when they started talking about his early days in the 90s, which is going around town putting stickers up, as a common street thug kind of kid, he just came up with this Andre the Giant idea, and he put these stickers up all over town, didn't even know why he was doing it, just like any other kid, you remember being 17 to years old, you're just like whatever, it's funny. I'm just gonna keep doing it, it's hilarious. But you don't have any deep reasons for doing it, and he just kept doing it, and kept doing it, and then he saw people recognizing it, would overhear people talking about it, and he just kep doing it and kept doing it. And now I look at him and with us being in about the same age and the guy is in his 40's, he's still making Andre the Giant stuff. I don't have that kind of dedication. And I'm in awe of the fact that he does. And that there are artists out there who can stick to a concept with such tenacity and such belief that it went from being the idea of a dumb college kid, and I'm not saying he's dumb but, do you know what I mean like, I relate to being a dumb college kid. It went from being this large creative idea to something that grew with him, it evolved with him and that, that folks is dedication, he wanted to make a difference with his art, it grew ever more increasingly political, and it really spoke to what his passion was in life which was to really make a difference, and that, to me was really cool, yes. Thank you, he's amazing, so, I agree. So kind of back to this concept of branding. So there's branding, and you got yourself, you got your project, you have maybe you're starting the cat cafe, or whatever the thing is. Which aspect of that are you branding? Or is there a hierarchy, are you branding yourself? Think of it as a Venn diagram, do you guys know what a Venn diagram is where you have the two circles overlap? All of it, you're gonna have to polish up kind of who you are, too. I, some people know me as a children's book illustrator because that's how I met them. People I made friends with in New York going for several years to learn about that. When I see them I think of them as children's book authors and they think of me as a children's book illustrator. I have other people who don't even know I've ever done that. So I have to be really careful with, quote unquote branding myself to present myself as the Stacy today that is the penultimate expert on selling your ideas, or the mural artist, and people just need to feel comfortable that they kind of know who you are, and roughly what they're dealing with. That's important and it requires a certain amount of transparency and authenticity in yourself and a knowledge of, know thyself type of thing. But you aren't in the end selling yourself. You're not, you are selling, you're not even selling your idea, really. I mean it's kind of a misnomer the name of the class. You're selling the expression of your idea. That idea is always going to be yours. What you're selling is the actual expression, the cafe that people can visit. The idea for the cafe was always yours, but the cafe itself, you're getting people to get behind it, the garden, is something that people will enjoy and grow and eat and hopefully will still be thriving long after you're dead. That's the kind of thing, that's the expression of the idea but the idea is yours. So you do have to brand both, but focus should be on the thing, not you. It should really be on the thing. You're just the delivery mechanism. You're it's mom, if that makes sense. It does and I really like that distinction between yourself, or the idea and the expression of the idea, it's great. In fact, It leads me to another little piece of advice, if this idea, because I thought about the idea of the garden, right, outliving you, if this idea can't outlive you, that's my first criticism of you. Go back and come up with something else. Seriously, you could die today, any of us could. All evidence all around you points to the fact that this life is fleeting, do not put any idea out there that has to have you working on it day after day after day after day and the minute you leave us, the idea leaves us. It's already a bad idea if that's the case. Just gonna leave you with that, that's important. Please create ideas that will outlive you.

Class Description

Ideas are the natural realm of creative people, but sometimes the toughest part is selling a new concept to the world at large. How do you convince potential supporters to get behind your idea? Learn to recognizing the importance of community and audience–Your idea has an audience, it has potential. In Selling Your Creative Ideas, with Stacey Williams-Ng, you’ll learn to find and connect to the right audience that can help make your dream project a reality, and get paid for it.

In this class you’ll learn.

  • Networking Strategies
  • Matching your Ideas to the Right People
  • Researching Potential Supporters
  • Going from Idea to Project to Profit
  • How to Define Success

Stacey Williams-Ng, the mastermind behind Black Cat Alley, an outdoor art gallery, will take you through the entire process of getting paid to create your art project.

In Selling Your Creative Ideas, Stacey will help all creatives get organized, and package their ideas to make them appealing to potential supporters. 



I really liked Stacey's way of speaking, her voice and energy! Thank you and congratulations making your projects real and good luck with your future ones!