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What has this beautiful photo of Worthing beach got to do with brand growth?

Vicky’s thought of the day

Made by me by the Sea, hits the spot for me – it’s effortless, enjoyable, and enlightening! 

Vicky Vaughan

CEO, The Brand Surgery

  • Activity title: Launch of Made by Me by the Sea
  • Professional Marketing Competency: Technical: Brand and Integration 
  • Activity Category: Professional activity
  • Activity type: Job Promotion 
  • Date: March 2022 
  • Time: 10 months
  • Evidence: 
  • Worthing Herald article by Elaine Hammond
  • Adur and Worthing Chamber article about Multi platform

Introduction: 

During the pandemic, I decided to channel my creativity into digital illustration and launched Made by Me by the Sea.

What I expected to learn:

I didn’t expect to learn anything. My confidence was at an all-time low, due to a lack of work and income. I started drawing to focus on something positive. 

The most important things I learned: 

  1. I shared a few of my Art Deco inspired illustrations, including Brighton City Airport, on social media which were really popular. This gave me the confidence to approach Montague Gallery in Worthing, which accepted my work.
  2. I created a brand called “Made by Me by the Sea” and within a few months of this venture, people wanted to know the person behind it—and I was encouraged to include my name.
  3. I have met some interesting new friends. My artist friend, who is also interested in psychology, shared his id, ego and superego idea: id drawings are when we draw what we want to draw, without regard for the outcome. Ego drawings are when we draw with some regard to the outcome. And super-ego is when we draw exclusively for others and not ourselves. Logo design is Super Ego, aligning with the customers’ vision and brief. Although there is some degree of playing when designing logos. Made by Me is a blend of Id and Ego, creating architectural patterns and wallpapers are definitely Id. They are effortless for me. When I draw buildings, I am excited to repurpose the decorative patterns into decorative cards and gifts.
  4. I feel more confident sharing illustrations and Made by Me website stats are a joy to see. People are staying on for a minute or more, browsing. I can easily tell when I need to add new content. Due to time constraints, this is reactive rather than proactive.
  5. The different angles that the press like when you share a story. Worthing Herald liked my charity background, and the Chamber liked the multi-platform approach.
  6. I have received several commission enquiries, which I have delivered. I don’t enjoy working on a commission that can’t be reproduced or repurposed, therefore I have introduced a lower commission rate, where the client receives the first print, and I can resell and repurpose the illustration afterward.  One of these was Brighton’s Royal Pavilion illustration.
  7. It is really difficult to predict what people will like best. My most popular illustrations by far are: The Prom, Connaught Cinema, Brighton City Airport and Sunny Worthing.
  8. I had a lovely surprise when I logged into MailChimp and have seen that many people have subscribed to my newsletter for the latest designs with no lead magnet whatsoever, with more to add manually. It’s a magical feeling when people are interested in following me without promotion. 
  9. Shoreham residents dislike the name Brighton City Airport and still fondly refer to the airport as Shoreham Airport. Therefore, I have two versions of this illustration, in the two names. My ‘please people’ driver definitely helps here. Luckily, Brighton City Airport understands the different preferences. My client’s reason for calling it Brighton City Airport is they are appealing to overseas visitors, and Brighton is better known than Shoreham.
  10. Creativity is only 50% of the work, there is printing, framing, posting, and working at the gallery, which all artists are contracted to do. The worst parts of this venture are certainly framing, packaging and posting.  Therefore, I work with Print on Demand suppliers, like Redbubble, who fulfil the less enjoyable tasks.
  11. When I share my Art Deco illustrations on LinkedIn, they gain more engagement and shares than my logo design posts! I receive positive verbal feedback about my logo design, yet I sense that sharing art is appreciated more than sharing logo design. Is this simply due to business vs pleasure?
  12. Made by Me platform showcases my creativity perfectly. It is evidence of my skills and has received positive PR from the Worthing Herald and Adur and Worthing Chamber.
  13. Instagram and Facebook are best in terms of sharing illustrations. Reels are popular, when sharing progress updates of illustration work. It is interesting researching hashtags of popular artists and also interior designers.   
  14. Multi-channel marketing consists of SEO, gallery space, and social media. The vintage Art Deco style illustrations sell themselves. Within one week of the wallpaper designs being published on my website, I received a phone enquiry. This is much easier than promoting logo design.
  15. Customers come to me rather than the other way around. I simply add a new product or drawing to the Made by Me website, and it gains interest. It is still early days. Customers see visual branding as an expense, unlike my art which is a treat and enjoyable.
  16. I sent a Brighton & Hove Airport greetings card to the CEO of the airport, who then invited me in to create a new logo, which has just been approved. I will use this strategy for other buildings of interest, which are potential leads.
  17. I enjoy the blend of my retainer work and drawing. I like variety. The only thing is a lack of time. 

How will I apply this to my marketing role?

  • My designs are stimulating interest in my branding business, for example, the airport. People are becoming interested in my personal brand, as a creative.
  • Keep sharing my creative illustrations to boost creative branding work. 
  • Customer stories provide great content, and I am encouraging customers to share stories.
  • I’ve become interested in the different styles of art deco and architects and will continue to share this as content. 
  • I will continue cross-promote The Brand Surgery and Made by Me.
  • Now I have a reputation as a creative, I can showcase 
  • Keep researching the Print on Demand suppliers. I love that RedBubble fulfil orders. I really don’t enjoy framing, packing or posting. I can set my own profit. I am currently seeking wallpaper suppliers. 
  • My dream would be for Made by Me to be spotted by a national retailer. Research indicates that retailers care more about profit and terms, than they do about creativity. This does not align with my strengths. Someone called to suggest I attend the Birmingham makers festival with my wallpapers and I am looking into this.
  • I need to decide where to focus my efforts. Spreading myself too thinly has always been a weakness.

What I’ll do differently 

  • Ensure I balance my id, ego, and superego art—and keep being creative. The trouble is, because drawing is effortless, I feel guilty that I’m enjoying myself.
  • I need to research the route to hiring an apprentice to assist with digital marketing. It is time-consuming and takes my efforts away from designing. 
  • I am looking for licensing opportunities. I feel excited about my wallpaper and have been sharing the most popular paint colours and designing them to match.
  • My weakness to date has been pricing. I need to work out a pricing strategy. 

Action and next steps

  • Explore PR opportunities.
  • Explore licensing opportunities.
  •  Recruit an apprentice.