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Extending Your Brand Beyond Your Shop

By Jen Gramm, Tru Vue Director of Marketing

In previous marketing posts that were inspired by the Tru Vue® Retail Makeover at Fourth Corner Frames in Bellingham, WA, we focused on creating a unique selling proposition (USP), developing your branding and communicating it to your customers. In this post, we’ll discuss extending your brand beyond your shop and your customers to reach new and profitable prospects.



There is no doubt your current customers are the proverbial low-hanging fruit, the most likely source of your next projects. However, adding new clientele to your customer list is the key to long-term, sustained growth — turning people who are currently unfamiliar with your services into loyal customers and frequent framers. But how do you identify and reach this elusive group of customers? We’re going to look at three approaches to extend your brand:



Shotgun Approach

This approach is exemplified by the typical newspaper ad — it exposes your message and your brand to a wide range of people. The cost of a newspaper, radio, TV or billboard ad is high, but it reaches a lot of people — some of who will be receptive to your ad, but also many who will never want, nor need, your services. This is one way to reach a large audience at times when people are thinking of framing — around graduations or during the holiday gift-giving season.



Yet, because of the cost of placing such ads, and the low incidence level for custom framing this can be a risky approach to extend your brand beyond your shop.  A more cost-effective way to help attract specific customers who may be interested in custom farming is target marketing.



Target Marketing

Target marketing is identifying and reaching out to a group of people who are most likely to need framing. Here are three target examples to consider:


  1. New Movers — who have yet to establish a relationship with a framer in the community, and whose disposable income can be evaluated by the neighborhood they chose to live in.
  2. Parents of Seniors — not the elderly, but those who are about to graduate from high school and college — and have plenty of photos and diplomas to frame.
  3. Businesses — such as restaurants that may frame art, sports memorabilia or reviews…corporations that need to make a statement in their lobbies and offices…and doctors and lawyers who often hang diplomas.



Community Partnerships

Community partnerships  can range from sponsoring a youth baseball or soccer team to hosting exhibitions for local artists, sponsorships are a powerful way to weave your business into the fabric of your marketplace, extend your branding beyond the walls of your shop, and become the top-of-mind source for framing in your community.



In fact, when the Tru Vue Retail Makeover team of Ken Baur and Meg Glasgow first assessed winner Sheri Wright’s marketing at Fourth Corner Frames, they recognized the importance of her connections within the local art community as a valuable opportunity to expose her brand to her target audience.



“It was great to see that Sheri was already involved in a monthly art walk,” said Meg. “This was a good anchor for creating a marketing calendar, building in deadlines for publicity, notices, social media posts and e-newsletters.”



In addition to purely civic-minded initiatives, a small business can form profitable, mutually beneficial relationships with other local organizations. For a frame shop, the most obvious of these include local photographers, wedding planners and art galleries with whom you can share marketing costs and trade customer referrals.



Upscale businesses like wine shops, gourmet restaurants, and boutique-style retailers target the same demographic as you do — so consider marketing ideas (like co-branded mailings or events) you can pursue together to share resources. For the reopening of Fourth Corner Frames, Sheri partnered with a local winery to provide beverages for her event, a great opportunity for each business to gain exposure with potential new customers.



You may also find seasonal synergies, like John Ranes of The Frame Workshop in Appleton, WI. His shop partners with several organizations during the December holidays to promote his store’s lines of collectible Christmas items.



Not-for-profit organizations and schools can also be a good fit. Myrna Dow, owner of High Desert Gallery in Bend, OR, lends her expertise in framing fabric art to an auction that takes place during the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show™ in support of a local cancer foundation.



“The ultimate objective of establishing partnerships is to generate interest in — and sales of — custom framing,” said Ken. “A good partnership will allow for that, but it doesn’t happen automatically.”


Two Proven Tactics

Following are two proven and fundamental tactics to help convert exposure to sales:


  1. Collect e-mail addresses from event registrations or raffles — and follow up with a special offer that generates a visit to your shop.
  2. Showcase your work. Get your work into the public eye — at art events, in restaurants, schools, etc. And always make sure your shop is credited for the framing on a placard by the piece.



Establishing and maintaining partnerships, in addition to the many other marketing opportunities your shop can require a substantial time investment. You don’t have to do it all yourself. For example, Sheri Wright found that working with an outside consultant who had both marketing experience and strong connections in the art community was a smart choice for Fourth Corner Frames.



For more insights and tips on branding and marketing, check out the first three posts in the series, which take you through the beginnings of brand-building to strategies for making your brand work for you.


This article is intended for educational purposes only and does not replace independent professional judgment. Statements of fact and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) individually and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, are not the opinion or position of Tru Vue or its employees. Tru Vue does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented.

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