Is brand marketing art or science? There is a long-running debate on the optimum characteristics of brand managers and the extent to which the scientific method of asking questions, building and testing competing hypotheses is the route to success.

We rely a great deal on the rigour of scientific methodologies in research and in analytical techniques to extract value from both quantitative data and qualitative findings, but we believe the artistry of creative thinking, of making conceptual leaps and developing new ideas is a crucial part of having a positive impact on brand performance.

So, inspired directly by each of the topic headings in Will Gompertz’s excellent book, Think Like an Artist, here are the top 8 characteristics of Brand Artists and why we think operating creatively is a route to success.

Be Entrepreneurial
There are artists who do what they do only for the sake of the art – but you are unlikely to have heard of them. The best-known artists work out what their patrons want and find ways of making work that sells. So the Brand Artist can do well by emulating the commercial nous of Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst by being prolific, constantly putting new ideas into the market, leading the charge on new technologies and responding with enthusiasm to mass-market tastes.

Use failure but don’t call it a failure, think of it as a first draft. There are plenty of rejects on the studio floor and many creatives end up doing something different than originally intended. Often success for artists and Brand Artists alike is dependent on finding out what doesn’t work and then taking a divergent path and doing something different.

Stay Curious
There is always something undiscovered, new and different waiting to be found and applied to the world of art. Gompertz talks about the use of optical lenses by Caravaggio and latterly people like Hockney have embraced the iPad to find a new form of communication. Brand Artists always keep an open mind and apply their imagination to improve on tried and tested formulas of success. They are not dreamers, they do this because they are always searching for ways to be a step ahead of the competition.

Be a good thief 
“Stolen with pride” only works in the art world if the original idea is developed into a new original. Otherwise, it’s just a copy. The Brand Artist recognises the strength of one idea and works out how to be distinctive, by adding, improving or adapting it to a different purpose. In highly competitive markets, where propositions converge on the same territory, this is the ultimate challenge for brand owners and where the Brand Artist stands out from the crowd.

Think Big Picture and Do the Fine Detail
Gompertz tells the story of Turner applying a tiny dot of red paint on a seascape to transform the effect of the picture by highlighting a ship under the crashing waves. Small things can make a big difference, and the Brand Artist knows that successful customer experiences are created by a combination of the power of the big idea being clear and forcefully communicated, and the execution of the fine details. One or the other isn’t enough.

Have a Purpose
Artists concern themselves with creating perspective and context. The point of view, literally and also figuratively, is what marks one version of a scene or expression of an idea from another. And so it is with brands – by having a point of view on a consumer need and a purpose in mind for the role of the brand, the Brand Artist can position their concept against the competitive context. The effect is getting noticed, if the perspective and purpose resonate with the consumer, the result is a sale.

There is a moment in the creative process when artists stop and think. Often this will involve stepping back from the canvas and reviewing progress, sometimes asking a colleague or trusted advisor for an opinion. The Brand Artist welcomes the opportunity to take stock, check that the idea in development is still on brief, on track and likely to meet the needs of the customer. Stopping can make brands grow faster.

Take Courage
Artists are invariably described as being “brave” when their work is hard to like, or “ahead of its time”. The Brand Artist is more concerned with getting a positive response now, and having the courage of conviction is perhaps a more constructive expression. That means taking an idea and, having stopped, executing it with confidence, enthusiasm and relentless energy. No Brand Artist achieved anything great in the market by launching in a half-hearted, low risk and timid fashion.

To find out how Tangible can help you be a Brand Artist please get in touch here