The Ogden City Arts Advisory Committee is a group of local artists and residents that focuses on all things art happening in the city. The group’s members work as liaisons between artists and Ogden City to ensure art remains a vital part of the city. R. Brandon Long is part of The Banyan Collective and a member of the committee.
I’m an artist and a marketer. And for years, I’ve privately debated whether Andy Warhol a better artist or marketer.
There are dozens of articles dedicated to the branding and marketing expertise of Warhol. A 2016 LinkedIn article written by John Fries delves into how savvy Warhol developed a unique brand, lived it, created brand extensions, networked, leveraged public relations, collaborated and built an extremely loyal fan base. I would love to see Warhol on Instagram in 2017, even if it was just the same picture repeated.
My podcast production company, The Banyan Collective, produces a fun show where we interview local musicians who play acoustic sets live inside a camper van at Ogden’s First Friday Art Stroll. I often ask the #VanSessions musicians about social media. By now, most of those we interview understand the significant impact a solid branding and social media strategy can have on success. Others remain hesitant. And in the immortal words of Jim Morrison, “the time to hesitate is through.” Warhol didn’t have social media, but he was a disruptor. A marketer.
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If you create the greatest art in the world but no one sees it, who cares? You may be reading this in print, but many are reading this on their phones. The handy pocket computer has taken over our lives and attention — despite politics’ best efforts to destroy the fun — and we’re introduction to new and talented artists through on apps: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Musical.ly, SnapChat, Twitter, et cetera.
If you’re not serious as an artist about creating a presence on one or two social media platforms, you’re not a serious artist. That is the new art normal. Now, maybe your form of disruption is anti-social media. Go for it! But even Bansky has an Instagram with only 41 photos and an amazing 1.3 million followers.
Ogden City Arts Advisory Committee member Jane Font has amassed nearly 100,000 YouTube followers through her massively popular Painting with Jane YouTube page. Jane is a talented painter, but she found a niche through social media with instructional painting videos, and now thousands of people who would have never been exposed to Jane’s art have watched her videos. It’s marketing.
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The art of marketing is storytelling. The best place to tell your story in 2017, however, is through a blog, vlog (video blog) or podcast, then marketing through social media. Make your art. Then make time to create a thoughtful, branded, cohesive social media marketing strategy to support your art.
Warhol understood branding and marketing, as well as the importance of disruption. Create your own disruption through social media. The time is now. This could have easily been written in 2009 with the recent advent of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, but eight years later, it’s unbelievable how resistant some are to embrace social media as a serious success strategy for artists.
I’ll leave you with the first verse from Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin.”
Come gather around people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone
And if your breath to you is worth saving
Then you better start swimming or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changing