Today I stumbled across this awesome video on Youtube – Rolling Clay With Keith. Check it out:
I love this video for all kinds of reasons. Let’s look at some of them…
1. It’s funny
Let’s face it, we all take ourselves too seriously sometimes and this seems to often come out when it comes time to market ourselves and our work. Isn’t this video a breath of fresh air because it makes you laugh? While you’re busy laughing it is also feeding information about the brand and letting you get a good look at their ceramics, but it never comes across as ‘worthy.’ The very fact that it’s funny, different and clever means that people like me are sharing it. When something makes us laugh, we want to share that with others. I have no stats to back this up but I think funny material gets shared a whole lot more often than serious material.
2. It’s connected
This video creates a connection with the viewer because it is referencing contemporary culture. We’ve all seen the Adele video, we know the song, so we can appreciate the humour by looking at the differences. Keith Brymer Jones isn’t starting from a clean slate and trying to convince us of something – instead he’s referencing something we are already familiar with and giving his riff on it. (For more on this see my post Picasso and the Myth of Originality)
3. It’s simple
Another reason this video works is that it doesn’t try to squeeze everything you could ever want to know about Keith Brymer Jones into one video. Instead they pick one or two ideas (that he’s a bit irreverent and you get to see some of the earthenware) and riff on that for a couple of minutes. That’s enough. Stealing a phrase from the wonderful Jennifer Louden, they go ‘an inch wide and a mile deep.’ When you are planning promotions or marketing materials pick one or two key ideas then explore them as much as possible – this is far more effective than trying to shove 30 ideas at your customer.
4. It’s different
How many other potters are showcasing themselves in this way? I’m certainly not aware of any. The video (and more importantly the idea behind it) goes a long way to differentiating Keith Brymer Jones from other potters. I had never heard of him, but after watching the video I googled him and spent some time looking at his website – so obviously the video achieved it’s result as it piqued my curiosity and drove me to find out more. I also have a sense that Keith is a cool guy and by association I think his pots must be pretty cool too.
Find a way to differentiate yourself from your competitors or other people doing similar work to you. Being just like every other potter is a sure fire way to make sure you don’t sell a lot of pots. Look for ways to make your story different, or your work different, or the way you market your work different. Or ideally all three of those! Always look for ways to differentiate yourself within your area – and your personality (since it’s one of a kind) is a great way to start.
5. It lets us meet the artist
Often people who create things – potters, writers, painters, knitters etc. like to hide behind their products. Any promotion they do is about their work. Yet people respond so much better to people (and even better to animals!) than they do to a stationary object. Audiences or consumers are dying to know about the artist who created something. Ordinary people find creative people fascinating. This is one of our greatest opportunities! Open up and let people meet you. This video succeeds because we see Keith in a dress taking the piss out himself and Adele. This video tells us more about the artist than reading dozens of paragraphs of biographical information every could. And we meet his pottery – but only as it’s connected to him. When you are next thinking about how to promote your work, please consider how promoting yourself – or at least opening up and letting people know a bit about you – can be the greatest portal to attracting people to your work.
But It’s Big Budget…
I suspect some of you are thinking that it was probably produced by an advertising agency and probably cost quite a lot of money. These may both be true (the production qualities are quite high) but don’t let yourself off the hook just because you don’t have the budget. You could apply the same principles to something quite low budget and achieve the same ends – maybe not on the same scale – but imagination, personality, flair and creativity don’t come with a price tag.
When thinking about how you can promote yourself or your work (or ideally both), look for opportunities to ‘think outside the box.’ Look for opportunities to incorporate some humour. Look for opportunities to show a bit of your personality – that’s what customers will respond to. That will make them want to share your work and follow you to learn what you will next surprise them with.