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Keep it simply stated. And repeat it.
*Note: this is part 8 in a series. You can read it on its own, or start with part 1 here.
Last time, I wrote about entering a crowded market with the mindset that there is not only room for *you* (your brand, your business, your idea), but that this crowded market is incomplete WITHOUT you! I really believe in the power of this kind of thinking. But how will you define your brand quickly and help others to remember it? Do you need an insanely clever tagline or elevator pitch? How do you stand out early on and not get lost in the shuffle?
I discovered something with my brand, KyleBrush that I think you might find freeing; something that will help take the pressure off and might even point you towards a solution to this problem that so many of us face as freelancers, small business owners, and brand owners. (Continued after the break)
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Here it is: the quality of what you produce or offer is not negotiable (remember: it should be above average and *partly* perfect), but you know this already. However, what you say about your brand to help it stick … this does not have to be clever at all! It only has one requirement: state a clear benefit. And keep this as simple as possible. The best part is that this benefit doesn’t even have to be a point of differentiation from your competition. You just have to be the one saying it OUT LOUD. That’s it.
Just because it’s obvious, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t say it!
Don’t believe me? Look at Burger King: “Have it your way.” Is Burger King the only fast food joint where you can ask them to hold the pickles? Of course not. And while their slogan was originally a dig at McDonald’s, there were (and are) plenty of places that allowed customization of an order. But those other places didn’t say it out loud.
Colgate toothpaste? “Helps stop cavities before they start.” Well, sure. Cleaning your teeth and maintaining good oral hygiene is probably going to lessen the likelihood of cavities. It’s not rocket science, but that fact that Colgate just states the obvious like it’s a claim only they can make is what gives the slogan power!
When I started selling Photoshop brushes, I had not done any research or thinking about any of this stuff. As you know, a lot of what worked for me happened by accident and I’m now sharing the insights I had with you so maybe you can actually have a plan (!) when you take these steps with your own projects. I needed to say something about my brushes so I simply stated the obvious and rolled with it for the first year: “Brushes that emulate natural media.” After all, this is what I was aiming for with a lot of my early brushes, so it was a true representation of my brand. (Continued after the break.)
Were there other brushes on the market that mimicked the look of oil, watercolor, charcoal, inks, pencils and pastels? Certainly. (I’d like to think mine were better than the rest, though 🙂). But nobody else was hanging their hats on this simple (but appealing!) message. So, I did! And before long, other people were repeating it and mentioning my brushes in this context with their tweets and posts. It was amazing how quickly ‘KyleBrush’ became synonymous with ‘Natural media emulation.’ In a short time, I owned this brush category, thanks to the slogan.
Later, I added two more slogans for a total of three that I swapped around depending on the ads I was making: “Serious tools for serious digital artists,” and, “The brushes the pros use.” I’m not sure what a serious tool is, exactly - maybe one that doesn’t have a sense of humor? But I liked the phrasing and stuck with it. As for the third slogan about pros using my tools, this was also just a simple truth stated out loud. Pros use all kinds of brushes (not just mine), but I made sure to let the public know that mine were definitely in their toolkits. And by being the first to make this claim out loud, I suddenly got to OWN this message, as well, and the implication that if you were *not* using *my* brushes, you couldn’t really call yourself a pro. Again, I had not thought about this implied messaging when I started using the slogan. It dawned on me later that this was an added bonus and certainly had some strong psychological influence.
So, please give this some thought and let me know if it’s helpful. Got something to add? Leave a comment. Remember, when it comes to slogans, you don’t have to say anything terribly clever. The key is to state a benefit clearly. And this benefit could be one that your competitors already offer in their products or services. You just have to be the one to say it out loud.
Thanks for reading. Next time, I’ll talk about how I took advantage of video, as a medium, to really sell the benefits of custom brushes to my audience. And don’t forget to check out the resources below the break!
Also, a quick apology for missing last week’s newsletter: I did not want to rush something out in what was already a too-busy work week, so I waited. I’d rather only send you good stuff! Thanks again for reading and subscribing. Please share the newsletter with your own audience if you are enjoying the content. I appreciate it.
Until next time, take care of yourselves, take care of each other, remember to be kind, and I’ll say, Ciao for now.
Resources for You
If you draw on a PC, you have to check out the Lazy Nezumi plugin, which allows you to do any kind of guided perspective drawing (even fisheye!), draw perfect shapes, and a million other amazing things.
I recently did a video interview with John English from Visual Arts Passage.
Podcast I’m greatly enjoying about building your brand, from Liz Mosley
Remember that I have FREE digital art stuff on my Gumroad page.