The "dismal brand" of craft.
Aligning Craft Values and Craft Practices with the New Economy

Average Doesn't Cut the Mustard Any More

Craft has been self-absorbed in self-importance, resting on its past laurels, while the marketplace has changed drastically over the past twenty years. Just like print media and music, craft must redefine its role in the marketplace. Craft needs to rethink.

Grey PouponThe previous post generated a comment from Tara Brannigan...she says, "The examples listed, Grey Poupon, Campbell's Tomato Soup, etc., are singular products with an easily definable set of descriptors and a strong level of consumer awareness."  Very likely, many other people were thinking about this.

Makerstanding greenAnd I agree. It is easier to create a "brand" for mustard than it is to create a "brand" for an enormous diversity of makers and expressions of craft. Craft represents many media, many levels of skill and expertise, and degrees of expectations. I just can't imagine trying to answer the question, 'What is Craft?' It makes my head spin to think of it. It took Bruce Metcalf and Janet Koplos, authors of Makers: A History of American Studio Craft, 505 pages for just the 20th-century craft movement.

MustardOn the other hand, unless you understand that before Grey Poupon developed their remarkable advertising campaign, French's Yellow mustard was the only mustard anyone used.   The rise of Grey Poupon proved that the American supermarket shopper was willing to pay a premium—as long as what they were buying carried with it an air of sophistication and complex aromatics.

Despite the complexities of rebranding craft and the craft community, there's still room for applying the lessons of successful marketing.  Differentiating subsets of craft consumers and then target marketing to each audience provides the most likely improvements.  

For individual makers, developing your brand and cultivating an audience for your work is essential to achieving better sales. Branding the work allows the maker to establish prices beyond covering expenses.

If people walk up to your booth and say,
"Why does this cost so much?"
you have not established the value of your brand. (Read the previous post on ASK Harriete.) No one goes to an Apple store and asks why an iPhone5 costs so much.

Apple-iphone-5It is hilarious just to think about it. Not only is the value of an Apple phone established, but it isn't even one of a kind or a limited edition. An Apple phone is a mass-produced consumer item. Everyone pays full price. And next year, people will replace it with another phone.    

Think about how you can establish a clear brand for your work and define your market. Possibilities might include:

UNIQUE Objects
NICHE Marketing
ENGAGING the Customer

Competing with 1000s of other look-alikes has no future. Average doesn't cut the Mustard anymore.

Authentic Iconic Copyright, Trademark and Patent
Authentic Iconic Copyright, Trademark & Patent
Constructed entirely with post-consumer recycled tin cans. The packaging reflects the iconic images of our consumer society.
This post was updated on June 22, 2022, to provide current links.