The guest blog post by Paul Brent, Branding: The Tiger and the Gate Crashers , on December 15th was so well received, Paul is offering more thoughts on the matter as the drama unfolds. While the situation is a mess for those personally involved, it does provide some interesting insights and talking points as we all consider our own brands… here is what Paul has to say:
If Tiger Woods would be so inclined, I would offer him this advice from someone who has been observing the branding phenomenon for the past twenty years, “Just change you image to fit reality, Tiger.”
While the golfing industry and several of Tiger’s endorsement partners need a squeaky-clean family-man image, there are plenty of products and entities that would be perfect for Tiger Woods new image. To begin with, alcoholic beverages and energy drink with caffeine and all of those other activities that promise heightened performance both on and off the golf course. A Tiger posing as the Captain or sipping malt liquor with an attractive blond on his arm would be a winning combination. The city of Las Vegas should contract with Tiger to be a spokesperson. Who better to say, “What happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas. I should have played in Las Vegas.” What customer of those products wouldn’t believe in his endorsement?
Brand building and brand management is a personal journey that all licensing properties and artists have to deal with, as Tiger does. Well, maybe you do not have to deal with it so dramatically and not in the eyes of the world. As you develop who you are as an artist, whether a designer of scrapbooking supplies and children’s wear, or t-shirts and surfboards you need to fit the image of someone who relates to their market and consequently the customers who buy your licensed products.
Christian Reese Lassen and Mary Engelbreit are two artists who embody their artwork and who are brands their customers and fans can relate to yet are very different. Lassen, the surfer who paints the ocean and tropical sunsets has veered from his popular under and over ocean scenes painted in exacting detail to many other subjects and a much looser palette knife style. His fans have followed along.
Mary Engelbreit has had a magazine devoted to home decorating and home style recipes. Her loving characterizations of vintage children with charming quips attract a totally different group of fans. Mary has kept true to her initial image and has not changed her style or outlook. Will she allow herself room to grow and change?
Personally, I have progressed in licensing from a watercolor style that has been called “breezy” by one reviewer in the Wall Street Journal to oil and more tightly rendered watercolors with digital enhancement, all the while keeping close to my coastal roots. I feel that my changes can be considered evolution rather than radical change. Many times a new subject matter or new media use was precipitated by a personal experience, sometimes just a wild idea or my take on an incoming trend. Each time I introduce a new collection I think of the story behind the art and how I can talk to customers about the new work. This adds to the value of the artwork and makes them understand how I relate to the art I create.
So, who are you as a brand and an artist? Does your image allow you room to grow or are you constricted into a limited market due to how you define yourself? How you change as an artist and a brand are part of the natural change of life itself. Let’s hope we all manage our changes better than Tiger.
Here’s to your ever evolving brand to help you build your creative future!
disclosure: Paul Brent nor I have any vested interest in Tiger Woods, Christian Reese Lassen or Mary Engelbreit – they are simply used as examples in the context of branding.