Be Smart About Art

Stand out from the crowd, even if you're not face to face

written by: Susan Mumford Feb. 1, 2015 1) RECOMMENDED-> Susan Mumford + Chris King's Blog 4256 views

Stand out from the crowd, even if you're not face to face

from our Sunday reading series - a weekly blog post (subscribe here)

How do you get a particular someone to open invites, press releases, proposals and the like – and grab their attention, too?

A single moment in my former life as a retail manager (where I learned the marvels of alternative food options, for which I will forever be grateful) highlights how simply and effectively you can make someone notice you. It takes consideration and time, but can pay off big-time.

I was in my early 20s and still technically a ‘recent graduate’, managing a team of cashiers who were in charge of customers’ first and last impressions. My primary goal was to make the job as enjoyable as a frontline retail job could be. Not only did this mean happier people, it also equated to improved staff retention. We had fun and created a welcoming atmosphere for the Notting Hill community.

As the person responsible for “hiring, firing and retiring”, I regularly sifted through job applications. One day upon walking into the office, I spotted a beautiful green envelope sitting on my desk. It was evidently handmade paper and had my name on the front in beautiful writing. Immediately intrigued, I opened it. Inside was a sheet of matching paper, a handwritten letter and completed application for the role of full-time cashier.

What an outstanding way to present oneself! And better yet, it was personalised, professional and well composed. Within several days, the lady in question was interviewed for the position. She had already gone a long way to make a good impression pre-interview, and as the in-person presentation was equally impressive, there was no doubt that she would make a great addition to the team. She was employed within the week and still works there today, many moons later.

What can we, in the creative industries, learn from this story? It’s simple, yet requires thought. Rather than go about marketing activities in the same way everyone else does, we can make a concerted effort to stand out.

What does it require? Thinking outside of the box, being bold and taking action.

Awhile back when another business of mine was partnering with an art fair, they invited us to send postcards to include in goodie bags. Something held me back from this. As an intuitive, creative being, I’ve come to learn that non-action means that something in my subconscious is saying “no”. Creatives are in fact excellent marketers as we naturally think laterally, and I knew that postcards would get chucked into the bin (or better yet, recycling).

I considered what exhibiting gallerists would appreciate receiving that added value and made us stand out. After a bit of thought we had tape measure & spirit level keyrings made. The business URL was simply printed on the side. People took notice of them, and the exercise paid off very well.

Think what can you do to stand out from the crowd, when addressing potential clients, collectors, critics, gallerists, curators and the like. Results make such effort worthwhile.

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Photographs © Chris King.

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I always love the Sunday blog and its a habit of the universe that it's so often about issues I am battling with at that moment in time.
I do forget , sometime, with the nerve racking business of promoting myself and my work , that I am really really lucky to be perusing a career that I love and that I am blessed to have a creative talent..my down times are always when friends are off on a joyful holiday that I cant yet afford...and havn't had for years... or when the days are dark like this time of the year, and then I go to the most fabulous exhibition , like last week to see Sarah Gillespie at the Beaux Arts Gallery and feel inspired again, if not rather humbled as well. So thanks Susan it's great to have your comments on a Sunday evening and dark Monday morning.
Louise