October 18, 2013

Branding Belief

Banksy, London’s celebrated graffiti artist, is romping through the land of tagging, NYC, as a resident artist this month. Like most graffiti artists, Banksy stays anonymous, hiding his identity from the public even as he exposes his art on public walls to everyone.

What’s ironic is that Banksy’s ‘public’ work has been sold for $100,000 plus.

And Banksy doubly trumped that irony just the other day.

He surreptitiously set up an art stall amidst other ‘creators’ in Central Park.
Staffed by an old man, Banksy’s original, signed work was priced at $60 a frame for the day — clearly an effort to see what happens without the visible hype of, well, BRAND BANKSY.

The result? He sold $420 worth.

What’s the commentary? Well, all art’s open to interpretation.  One blogger talks about lessons in ‘price anchoring’, the value being determined by setting, ‘competition’, etc.  Banksy himself only commented on just the facts — and that the first sale took 4 hours to make.

As we see it, there are a number of possible learnings:

  1. around frame of mind and context — given high-art isn’t sold on the street, there’s a distrust of its provenance, perhaps — Rolex or Folex?
  2. around the inherent ‘value’ of a product — it’s appeal:  what is price, especially in a subjective world like art?
  3. around missing the value of something when we aren’t told it’s valuable, without known headline…or hype

To our aesthetic, his work is compelling. And those who bought at $60 did it not out of hipness or investment but because they liked what they saw.

In a parallel world, entrepreneurs start up new businesses, and they must first be accepted on their own merit, not their long-standing corporate logo, reputation, or brand that’s built over time.

Here at Bandwidth, we help build brands, for entrepreneurs like ourselves and for other big or challenger brands trying to get their efforts noticed and bought.

Our empathy is born out of building our own brand at the same time — we know how hard it is to intro a new, unknown product.

We know we offer value. In fact, given the fact that we’re renegades from big brand experience, we’ve now got the ability to harness that knowledge in a more efficient, effective way. But we aren’t yet a name as a group. So it may take longer for us to make a sale in our art stall.

Won’t people be surprised though with what they get after they take a leap of faith, or buy based not on status quo or what someone else thinks, but on inherent value and the pure reaction to that effort right under their noses.

The creative act should always be one of upending the commonly accepted to get to new ways of viewing. So keep messing with it Banksy. We will too.