Branding Tips from Andy Warhol In 2006, the International Herald Tribune published an article that examines 20 years of the Andy Warhol brand. The author of the article commented: “To judge by all the merchandise, Warhol is being positioned as the next Hello Kitty.” Today, seven years later, the comment still rings true.•Warhol would have loved the Internet Era, a time when everyonereally can have their “fifteen minutes of fame.”•As a master of branding and commercialization, Warhol was ofthe persuasion that “Being good in business is the mostfascinating kind of art.”Let’s take a look at 3 ways you can practice this fascinating Warholian art of boosting your company’s brand.
Small Business Tactic #1: Be the BellwetherBellwether, or one who takes the lead orinitiative, is the perfect word to describeAndy Warhol in the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s.The Economist describes the Warholmarket as: “the bellwether of post-war and contemporary art.”This article refers to a Warhol painting(“Eight Elvises”) that sold for anastonishing $100m+ in 2008.In 2009, another one of his works, “200One Dollar Bills,” was auctioned off for$43.8m. Warhol was the ‘bellwether’,indeed!
Small Business Tactic #1: Be the BellwetherThe best part is, consumers don’t have to haveChristie’s or Sotheby’s kind of money to own alittle piece of Warhol’s brand.Walk into Target and pick up a mug or t-shirt.Visit just about any online poster website, andyou’re sure to snag a bargain reprint right offthe home page.More than two decades after hisdeath, Andy Warhol is still a masterof brand extension, which isexactly why he’s the bellwether ofthe contemporary art market, amarket that’s overly self-aware ofits own commercialization.
Small Business Tactic #1: Be the Bellwether The lesson: •Good brands sell stories, an ethos –not products.•Though Warhol had the occasionalwork of art sell for millions of dollars,the majority of his (post-death)revenues don’t come from theauctioning of originals.•The revenues come from licensing andsmall consumer goods that carry thatinimitable “Warhol Ethos.”•Build your brand’s ethos; be thebellwether.
Small Business Tactic #2: Market with Transparency “I’ll endorse with my name any of the following: clothing, AC-DC, cigarettes, small tapes, soundequipment, ROCK ‘N’ ROLL RECORDS, anything, film and film equipment, Food, Helium, Whips,MONEY!! love and kisses ANDY WARHOL. EL 5-9941.” -The Village Voice, 1968Now, we can’t all get away with that kind of marketing! But chances arewe could all benefit from pulling back the curtains just a little bit. •Whether you believe him or not, Warhol marketed himself as highly transparent. •He famously said, “If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There’s nothing behind it.”
Small Business Tactic #2: Market with Transparency The lesson: Explore ways that your brand can let people inon what it is you do, how you do it, why you do it, etc. Thisis a fundamental part of content marketing.You can start implementingthis small business tactic now!These are great outlets forbranding to get started:• A Company Blog• A Social Media Brand Page• A YouTube Video
Small Business Tactic #3: Generate Ideas & Find Help in Execution•Andy Warhol is inarguably thecatalyst that popularized screen-printing. But more important than his“rediscovery” of screen-printing ishis decision to utilize it for brandextension.•Instead of laboring over the toolsand machines for 14 hours a day,Andy Warhol came up with the ideas,executed them a few times himself,and then had other people do theintensive labor for him. As a result,he was able to perfect the art ofbrand extension.
Small Business Tactic #3: Generate Ideas & Find Help in Execution The Lesson:•As the business owner, you are the ideagenerator.•Trust in your employees to take yourideas and run with them.•Don’t believe the lie that having otherpeople do the “heavy lifting” for you willcost your brand it’s reputation.•Being the idea generator andimplementing marketing automationtactics are just two of many ways you can“mass produce” whiles still maintaining abrand experience.
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