Be Smart About Art

Hiding behind a brand name? Ready and confident to make a change for the better?

written by: Susan Mumford Sept. 17, 2017 1) RECOMMENDED-> Susan Mumford + Chris King's Blog 663 views

Hiding behind a brand name? Ready and confident to make a change for the better?

from our Sunday reading series - a weekly blog post (subscribe here)

Something that happens as a mentor of many years is that, over time, I take note of behaviours, tendencies and inclinations that are repeated amongst many different people.

One such observation is that some professionals who’ve been hiding behind a brand name – be it one they’ve created or that of an employer, eventually gain the confidence to address their brand identity* in a shift to their own name.

This can follow years of having a website URL and social media handles in either one or a variety of other names and identities. These are frequently based on projects or personal interests. I’ve worked with multiple artists and art dealers in the last few months alone who have now changed their URL and social media handles a) to be in their own name, and b) to be consistent across platforms.

People are understandably concerned about losing website traffic and social media followers if they make a change. And as a result, while they might have a nagging feeling that the identity needs refining, are too concerned about implications to make a shift.

A transition that I made with social media a few years ago is a prime example of how easy a brand identity pivot can be effectively done…

In the formative days of social media, I’d set up a Twitter account under the name @susanartdealer. That reflected my career at the time: I was an art dealer and my name was Susan. My whole identity was wrapped up in that single activity.

Fast forward a few years, and things had changed. I’d spread my wings into advising art world professionals, was addressing gender bias in panel discussions, had set up two organisations supporting art world professionals and more. Labelling myself as an “art dealer” was no longer reflective of the reality.

In one fell swoop, the existing Twitter account handle was changed to @susanjmumford (@susanmumford belongs to a massage therapist who could at least give me some amazing massages!). This meant that everything but the name remained the same: the same accounts were still following me, I was still following the same accounts, the lists were still there, etc.

To capture any tweets that were sent to the old handle (as that’s what people knew from memory when tagging me in a post), I swiftly created a new account using the old @susanartdealer handle, as it had become available again. It’s still sitting on Twitter unused, directing anyone who finds it to the ‘new’ account. Here’s how the profile looks (note the bio, which prompts viewers to connect with the active account):

What about you? Or even others you know who could do with coming out of their shell? Think about what correctly reflects your brand identity today, consider how to leave room for changes over time, and know that you can always pivot again in the future. 


*What is 'Brand Identity'?

A company’s brand identity is how that business wants to be perceived by consumers. The components of the brand (name, logo, tone, tagline, typeface) are created by the business to reflect the value the company is trying to bring to the market and to appeal to its customers. Brand identity is separate from brand image – the term for how consumers actually perceive the brand.



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