Just a quick follow up to Helen’s post this morning. The power of branding today seems to be pretty immense and I think it’s fair to say that we judge the value of the product by its brand rather than its true qualities. For me it’s a sad truth but its certainly isn’t going anywhere.
The obvious answer would be for craftsman to get the hang of this branding lark. The problem is by their very nature craftsman will always strive to build to their very best ability and on the other hand would often heavily undervalue themselves. This combo is the exact opposite to what the the big brands seem to achieve; create a high perception of a low value product.
There are a few success stories in other industries that take something outdated and unappreciated and make it modern, hip and desirable. Think of a small farm shop in the middle of London bringing together local fresh produce and enticing the consumer away from the supermarket. For this to succeed it relies on that brand power and appeal to get people to take note.
For Craftsman to brand themselves more strongly its certainly got to start with them appreciating and valuing their own work, at least for them to become their biggest fan.
All very true Richard. I don’t honestly think a craftsman can earn a living these days, or very few can without getting into other branches of the trade. Everyone else is doing that now though.
The question, is there enough for everyone?
Well said Ken, If the older generation of craftsmen are struggling then the younger generation haven’t got a chance. Although it seems that people are finding a good balance through having it as a profitable hobby.
trevor cogan says
I guess it’s a bit like an artist who always strives for the next painting to be the best work. You put heart and soul into it but like the artist,the craftsman always sees a fault or some way of improvement . That’s what drives you to make the next piece and you are only as good as your last piece.
That also raises the question of are you doing it for commercial gain or just wanting to bring something nice into the world?
Blimey Richard, do you have a branding problem?
Only when he sits down trevor 😉
Thanks Trevor, I really like your point about the commercial gain, and think you’re absolutely right. Most of the time I guess there’s very little thought to the money, instead the drive is an achievement.
Branding is essential and it’s something that many craftsmen would benefit from understanding better (including myself!). What I don’t like to see is the bigger brands and jumping on the bandwagon labelling their crap as craftsman made quality. Sorry about the rant!
The other battle that craftsmen have to fight is getting the general public educated. Most people believe that if you hire an interior decorator to source your furniture, you are getting the best furniture money can buy. When we all know that working with a furniture designer/maker will get you EXACTLY what you want and often times for the same price as hiring a decorator and buying the furniture that they source.
It’s tough to compete with the ‘Ikea’ mentality of disposable woodworks. Good on you for shedding some light on this Richard.
trevor c says
And another thing, we went to the CLA game fair at Ragley Hall over the weekend and a few of the artists stands caught my eye. One in particular had a wonderful style of stylising country animals in watercolour. The paintings were great but then i noticed the other bits. I know this will sound terrible and cliched but she was also selling calenders, mugs, trinkets, etc. I know it’s a typical marketing ploy but when you looked at her paintings and reproductions, the cost of a calender or mug with a print on was a cost effective idea and it gets her work seen.
Now, i’m not saying you should have a tea mug with a picture of a workbench on it but i’m sure most of your subscribers drink tea in large mugs and they wear tee shirts, what about a couple of branded items?
I’m sure with a little thought, i, you and your subscribers could come up with a catchy headline and use your logo? Or run a competition?
Hi Trevor, very interesting point and I think it’s something that at the very least helps to cover the costs of the fairs which is essential. Branded products can go one of two ways, I’m not keen on tat with your name on but funnily enough me and Helen were talking about a few options the other day, will keep you posted…
trevor c says
Richard, love to know what you might be thinking of and i can always come up with some ideas to bounce at you. You have my e-mail address if you want to contact me directly. Didn’t realise you’d be at the European woodworking extranvaganza, never been, so will be looking forward to seeing your stand there.
Hi Trevor. Thanks for your offer, I may take you up on that I’d be intrigued to hear your thoughts. The EWS is a great show, we’ve been every year and always look forward to it. Hope to see you there!