What Free Art Friday taught me about good branding.
First off, Free Art Friday is a weekly scavenger hunt for art that occurs in many cities across the world, including Houston. Artists of all trades put out a free piece of art and then post clues on Instagram with the hashtag #htxfreeartfriday for people to find. When somebody finds the art piece, they have to post on Instagram that the artwork has been found. I participated in Houston’s own Free Art Friday for the first time a couple of weeks ago and was so inspired by the event. As I was running (well, driving) around town with my mom and brother, I realized that Free Art Friday was all about branding. Here are a few things #htxfreeartfriday can teach about branding and promotion.
1. Using social media effectively.
Social media is the backbone of this operation, so artists have to use it effectively. From posting clues on Instagram to using the right hashtags to reach their audience, artists are increasing their social media presence to new potential buyers. Just like many other small companies, these artists rely on social media to spread the word about their products.
2. Do your research.
Everything begins and ends with research. With Free Art Friday, both artists and scavengers have to do their research before beginning. Artists research their audience, what their audience would be interested in and where to put their artwork. Scavengers have to know their city pretty well and look up which artists are putting out each week. Likewise, every business has to research their target audience so they can be reached through the proper advertising and public relations channels.
3. Sometimes you have to give something up to get something in return
Artists have to give out a piece of work for free, which can be difficult for a starving artist. But they see the benefits almost immediately, with new and happy followers who might not have ever heard of them. Companies also sometimes have to give things up like time, money or products, but they know that good responses, word-of-mouth and reviews are worth the effort.
4. Don’t ignore your values.
Values should be at the core of every business. The artists who participate in Free Art Friday believe that art and culture are an important part of Houston and that generosity is a good trait. By putting out free art for the local community, these artists show their core values. All companies can incorporate their values through charity work, pro-bono clients or donations.
See the art hunt unfold on Instagram with the hashtag #htxfreeartfriday or join it yourself this Friday.