When YouTube was first really getting popular, I used to watch this young artist’s videos. She was new to making art, self-taught, and into mixed media with bold color blocking. If I’m being candid, her art was okay. Not great. Not bad. Not likely to be found in a high-end gallery. Nevertheless, she sold her pieces like clockwork. Why? Because for each painting she finished, she posted a video of herself holding and talking about her work. She had a lot of personality, and it flowed into her videos. She recounted what she was thinking about when she created the work, the symbolism, the hidden elements. All the juicy details.
And it worked. It worked very well. After watching a few videos, you felt like you knew her. That’s the point of storytelling.
People want to buy the artist just as much as they want to buy the artwork. The way to help them buy the artist is to tell your artist stories.
How Collectors Buy Has Changed
How artists get collector’s attention has changed significantly. There is a shift, among collectors and decision-makers, from the over-reliance on galleries and catalog-style websites. With online competition rising, it is becoming extremely hard for artists to draw collector’s attention.
Modern collectors are interested in your artist narrative, which is much more than just the art you make. Your narrative includes your artist’s voice, your background, and your identity. Your narrative helps collectors understand your artistic voice from a different perspective, and that is why artists are using storytelling as a marketing tool.
Why Stories Attract More Art Collectors
Marketing through storytelling is not a new concept. If you think about marketing in fields other than art, you’re already familiar with how large brands like Budweiser or McDonalds have benefited from this approach for years. Remember the Budweiser Frogs? Or how about the “You Deserve a Break Today” McDonalds campaigns? These campaigns used storytelling to create a connection with the consumer.
So, what’s in it for artists that use storytelling as a marketing tool?
Stories Create a Connection between Your Art and Collectors
The number one reason you are marketing your art is to connect with collectors, right? You want the collector to want your art. And that happens when the collector feels a connection to the artwork you make.
Stop for a moment to think of an advertisement you recently connected with.. The chances are high that whatever the advertisement was, it had a story that lingered in your mind. Marketing through storytelling is a great way to draw collector’s attention using a fascinating tale prior to the introduction of a call to action. Using storytelling builds an emotional connection with your collectors such that it is hard to turn down your call to action.
Stories Make Your Art Memorable
While collectors can remember your art because of its striking nature, a captivating story can make it unforgettable. However, of course, the story should resonate with your collectors tastes, preferences, or needs. Can you remember a headline in a book in your kindergarten? You might remember the artwork, but mostly, it’s because you remember the story. That’s the power of storytelling in enhancing memorability.
Stories Change People’s Attitudes, Opinions, and Brain Chemistry
It is unlikely that a bunch of statistics or a list of facts will change your buyer’s opinion and attitude towards your art. They either like it, or they don’t, right? Actually, not quite. Your buyer can be persuaded to change her attitude about your artwork through storytelling. This is especially true where there is a bias towards your art. Research carried out by Berkeley showed the potential of stories in changing people’s behaviors, opinions, and attitudes, as well as brain chemistry. You can incorporate stories in social media posts, website, and online shop descriptions to persuade collectors to taken action.
Stories Build Trust and Relationships
A report by Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messages Survey indicated that 92% of consumers build trust in brands through earned media (media mentions, referrals, word of mouth, etc.). How does it apply? You could be sharing collector’s testimonials, media mentions, anecdotes, or even stories with your audience to build trust and strengthen relationships.
Stories Create Neuro-Associations
Storytelling not only makes your target audience remember your art, but it also adds a more tangible element to its value. There is no doubt that good stories impact our memories. For example, there is a strong connection between Coke and Christmas, which is attributable to Coke’s Christmas advert where Santa uses a brightly lit branded truck to deliver presents on Christmas day. Because of this, many people know it’s Christmas when they see the truck on their TVs. Using stories to create such associations can transform your art sales significantly.
The next time you sit down to write about your art, think about how you can incorporate a story. Whether it’s for social media, your website, or a sales page for your art, stories are proven to help you emotionally connect with collectors, make your art more memorable, and build trust. Most importantly, storytelling will help you sell your art.