4.2 Understanding the Product (It Is Worth It): Local Brand; Global Brand
You develop your skills in an artistic field in the course of artistic education, e.g. musicians improve playing on a chosen instrument and students of visual arts work on their artistic techniques. However, when you graduate, you face a question: what will I live on? How am I supposed to earn money? The number of jobs in cultural institutions or large companies is very limited in the cultural and creative sector: it is a sector of individualists such as artists, freelancers, micro-businesses and self-employed people. And when you choose such an artistic or creative career path, first and foremost you have to determine the range of services and products that you are going to offer and sell to your prospective clients: what does the work of a designer, for instance, involve? Do they sell ideas, thoughts, concepts, physical designs or are they responsible for all stages from the idea to production? What is really the ‘final product’ transferred to the client and what are its components? Do they also sell time spent on prototypes, conceptual drawings or mock-ups? How do they contact the client in the process? Do they meet with the client personally or maybe only communicate electronically? The situation becomes even more complicated in the case of music; for example, there is no longer one client: there is a group of audience members; there are dependencies on the whole music market. Then, how to prepare a product and monetise success in such a field?
The cultural and creative sector is extremely diverse; it covers many segments, so it is difficult to define clearly the issues of a product (service). Working on a creative product or service is inseparably connected with the field of art that you represent: if you are a musician, the mere proficiency in playing an instrument or singing is not enough. It is important to create a ‘product’ in the form of closed musical material, recorded on a CD or, for example, as a concert or event material. Again, this product depends on numerous factors: whether you perform solo or as a member of a larger group of musicians, or a band. However, the fee for a stage performance itself can only be an element of your income, because there are a number of other activities that allow you to earn money; under copyright and intellectual property law (for more information, go to 🡪 IPR and Copyright Knowledge), you can earn on:
- original material on a physical carrier, e.g. CD: the sale of CDs;
- royalties e.g. from playing on the radio and in other media;
- posting the original material on online platforms (for more information, go to 🡪 International Portfolio and How to Share);
- selling your own compositions/songs to other entities (e.g. for films, theatre performances and nowadays more and more often for computer games), also to other performers; and
- and if your name is promoted, sometimes even the participation in an event (as a celebrity).
Therefore, when you think about your products or services, you should always look more broadly and consider various potential uses. The challenge in this context is your work valuation; for more information, go to 🡪 Setting the Right Price; International Pricing.
The word product has been taken from a different reality and many artists and creators are outraged at it. They do not want to ‘be a product’. But sometimes it is worth looking at your work from such a useful point of view.
The European Union has freedom to conduct business and the movement of goods and services, which greatly facilitates the internationalisation of work for artists and creators (legal basis, Article 26 (internal market), Articles 49–55 (right of establishment) and Articles 56–62 (services) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Thus, self-employed people and members of the liberal professions or legal persons, within the meaning of Article 54 TFEU, who are legally established in a Member State may:
- establish themselves permanently and continuously in another Member State (freedom of establishment (Article 49 TFEU));
- or temporarily offer and provide services in other Member States while remaining in the country of origin (freedom to provide services, Article 56 TFEU).
In the context of reaching out to international markets, it is crucial that new technologies and digital communication have completely changed the way cultural works are created, produced and distributed, have provided innovative tools for accessing culture and personal reinterpretation, and globalisation has enabled artists and creators to reach an unprecedented number of audiences. And simultaneously, you can still work from home.
If you want to try your hand on international markets, you should think about and plan your activities to include getting to know your potential clients well: defining your potential target group and locating it on a selected market is crucial. At this stage, it is necessary to define the preferences of prospective clients and the needs that your new product meets (why should they reach for a product or service from abroad?), and this knowledge will allow you to precisely define the channels of reaching to your potential clients. In this process, the persona technique may be helpful, i.e. creating an imaginary profile of an ideal client, that is, your client.
By creating your ‘persona’ (or rather, by ‘asking’ him questions and considering potential answers) you can think to whom you address your offer (regardless of whether you think about companies (B2B) or individuals (B2C) as your potential clients).
To identify your persona correctly, you can more easily reach him with an interesting message, so it is worth considering what questions you should ask yourself when you create the persona, e.g.:
Who is your client? (age, gender, place of residence, education, etc.: the offer is made differently if addressed to a twenty-year-old woman from a small town or to a fifty-year-old professor at a university)
What does he do? (positions, responsibilities, company size, industry, etc.)
What problems can your products/services help to solve?
What does he value and what is his ambition?
What is his financial status?
In addition to knowledge specifically related to the product and the process of reaching the client (sales), there are also new market elements; speaking a foreign language is significant, but also (or, perhaps, above all) you need to understand the culture and rules prevailing on a given market. Considering cultural differences is essential (e.g. the calendar of holidays and traditional working hours, but also such elements as adapting the packaging of your product to the distribution system in a given country), not to mention different legal arrangements.
Drawing on the example of music quoted above, one of the objectives of the music market is the highest possible return on the products/services offered, such as artist’s music and works (concert, sale, use of music in films, etc.). In this case, from a business point of view, music becomes a product and playing it a service. Both the market value of the song and that of an artist vary over time, although the artistic value of that work remains the same.https://www.pexels.com
The artist’s image, artistic expression (you perceive fringe artists differently than pop artists) and building the image of the ‘brand’ are important in the process of increasing the market value. Artists have a wide range of activities to reach potential fans and audiences and to build a community around their art: there are many methods. Continuing the music example, you can:
- seasonally promote hits;
- use an older work as a jingle;
- perform at a well-known music festival or an industry event or in a television programme;
- release albums more often;
- work with other artists or representatives of other industries (sports, etc.);
- allow music to be added to specific products as a complementary good; and
- promote your CD at points of sale (evenings with the author), in radio or television programmes.