THE INSPIRATION PLACE PODCAST
Tiffany Neuman: I think so often people think like, Oh, I’m going to brand myself, I’m going to pick the colors and the fonts. And you’ve probably heard the term like branding is so much more than colors and fonts, but it’s actually, you know, they say that entrepreneurship and having a business is really a self-development process. Well, so is branding. It really is finding your true self and who you are.
Speaker 2: It’s the Inspiration Place podcast with artist Miriam Shulman. Welcome to the Inspiration Place Podcast, an Art World Insider podcast for artists by an artist where each week we go behind the scenes to uncover the perspiration and inspiration behind the art. And now your host, Miriam Schulman.
Miriam Schulman: Well, hey there, my Artpreneur. This is Miriam Shulman. Your curator of inspiration and you’re listening to episode number 246 of the Inspiration Place podcast. I am so grateful that you’re here.
By the way, do I have to tell you that my book Artpreneur is out. Well, let me tell you something my friend. This is more than just a business book. Really, at the heart, it is a self-development book because building a small business, you need to have such a strong mindset. And the mindset that you build to be an artist, not a starving artist but a thriving artist, is the mindset that will set you up for success no matter what you wanna do in your life. So, Artpreneur, it’s in stores, it’s online, you can order it from your library. And I know you’re absolutely gonna love it. If you like listening to this podcast, you probably are gonna wanna listen to the audiobook version. I read the audiobook plus we inserted clips from podcast guests so it’s a super fun audiobook. I had so much creating it and I know you’re going to love it.
Also, if you like this episode, be sure to check out my free masterclass “How To Sell More Art”. To catch that, go to SchulmanArt.com/SellMoreArt. Alright, now on with the show.
Today’s guest is a visionary branding strategist who helps highly motivated entrepreneurs and influencers up-level their businesses. After over 15 years of working in the corporate world, working with brands like FedEx and Burt’s Bees, she’s left to establish a revolutionary branding business that stays one step ahead of trends. Using a unique hands-on approach that views branding as a self-development process, she now works with clients across the globe to help them ten x their sales and shine even brighter in their niches. She is a contributor for Entrepreneur and has appeared in media outlets including Forbes and various podcasts. She is a professor of design and branding, as well as the host of The Legacy Lounge podcast. When she’s not helping clients create their legacy brands, she’s spending quality time with her husband and two daughters. Please welcome to The Inspiration Place, Tiffany Neuman. Well, hey there, Tiffany. Welcome to the show.
Tiffany Neuman: Hey Miriam. So excited to be here. Thank you so much for having me.
Miriam Schulman: I am so excited. I’m like, I really rehearse these introductions ahead of time. Like, oh, self-development process. Ooh. We’ve known each other for a long time, which is why, like, I didn’t feel like I needed to do as much research as I normally do for some of my guests. Like I’ve been aware and been watching like you make over people like Danielle Weil and who are some of your other clients? Is Selena one as well?
Tiffany Neuman: Selena Soo, Danielle Weil. I did Ron Rick who we both know a long time ago, I mostly work with women though, so just lots of women.
Miriam Schulman: Right. Ron was the bro exception.
Tiffany Neuman: Yes.
Miriam Schulman: It’s awesome. All right. So let me just start right from the top because I’m so intrigued by this branding as a self-development process. What does that mean?
Tiffany Neuman: Yeah. It’s what I like to say is the revolutionary part about it too. I think so often people think like, Oh, I’m going to brand myself, I’m going to pick the colors and the fonts. And you’ve probably heard the term like branding is so much more than colors and fonts, but it’s actually, you know, they say that entrepreneurship and having a business is really a self-development process. Well, so is branding. It really is finding your true self and who you are. And/or if you say of a partner or it’s a small business, it truly is finding out the essence. But as artists it’s even more important because your art is like a–it’s you in like a different form in a way, right? And so I think so many people think they know who they are and then they start going through the process and they’re like, Oh crap, I really have no idea. So it’s a really deep process. I believe if you do it the right way and it’s–the results are ten times better too. So it’s fun.
Miriam Schulman: I talk about that in Artpreneur in the chapter called Embrace Your Inner Weirdo. So we talk about going into your I mean, the chapter doesn’t tell you what colors and fonts to use at all, but that’s the whole thing. It’s not about the colors and the fonts. It’s about what are your values, what are your quirks, what’s your special sauce, what makes you unique? I know you have a way of putting this where you call it a legacy brand. So what do you mean by that?
Tiffany Neuman: Yeah, so that’s my trademark term for like what the process that I take through people through, which is a legacy brand method and basically there’s a few meanings to it. So when I worked in the corporate world, if you think about it, brands like Levi’s, you know, brands that have been around for a long time, they have a what I consider legacy brand. It’s been around, it’s known and it will evolve and kind of like update and change over time a little bit. You know, they like edit their logo, but that red is always going to be there. Their foundation of who they are and who they’re serving is always there. They’ve been around forever. So the problem that I’ve seen a lot of like artists and online entrepreneurs making is that they like to change things up, especially artists like who doesn’t like play in Canva or, you know, change things up. We have short attention spans. We’re multi-passionate. It’s like, totally get it. But when you keep changing things all the time, it doesn’t create awareness. Like people are like, Oh, now she’s doing this or Who is that?
So I’m sure you’ve seen that when artists really dial in on one specific thing or getting known for one thing or one style, or even if they switch it up, it’s like. They’re still known. They don’t change all the time. That creates a legacy. And that’s how you really get known for having a powerful brand. And then the other piece is I love helping people really look into their future and then their future, where do they want their business to be five, ten, 15 years down the road and then reverse engineer it? So your branding for that future rather than most people brand where they’re at and it kind of limits them and then they evolve and then they’re forced to change where if you brand for your future, you can evolve and pivot along the way and you’ll end up in your future much faster.
Miriam Schulman: Wow, I love that. And I’ve been guilty of all of a sudden looking and saying, wait a minute, this doesn’t represent me anymore. That’s not who I am and what I do. And I also when I work with clients, I love the way you’re doing this with the branding. Even when I talk to clients, I tell them to go to their future self. Like when they say, I don’t know how to do this, I say Yes, but your future self does.
Tiffany Neuman: Yes.
Miriam Schulman: Ask her how she did it.
Tiffany Neuman: So true.
Miriam Schulman: Yeah. Do you talk to your future self?
Tiffany Neuman: I do. I talk to. I’m going to sound like a weirdo now, but I talk to my past self. I talk to my future self.
Miriam Schulman: That’s awesome. Yeah, that’s really good. Like our mutual friend Anna Sui id some child work with me about with my talking to my child self and helping heal that. It was really powerful work.
Tiffany Neuman: It is. It’s really healing. I’m also trained in NLP. I found a lot of clients that had like visibility blacks. They were afraid to put their selves out there truly. Uou know, as artists, sometimes people are like, Oh, I feel like I’m going to be selling out or whatever it is. You know, they have these different things that they–these fears, right? And so I actually went and got trained in different modalities, which is also why the branding is self-development work, because if you don’t own your brand, then it doesn’t feel aligned and you can’t embody it. And that can really throw things off too. So you need to work through those blocks as well, which I think we all need to do. Right.
Miriam Schulman: What do you find sometimes is the missing piece with when you when you’re working with somebody, like maybe they have their colors and they think they know what their identity is, but do you ever look at it like, wait, no, there’s something missing?
Tiffany Neuman: Oh, that’s such a good question. Yeah. Most often people come to me and they’re like, I have to change my logo. It’s just not right. Or like, I just need a new website and it’s just not right. And sometimes that’s true, but most of the time. What’s missing is what I call the Brand Foundation. They haven’t done the deep work to go and figure out, like you were saying earlier, what is your values, what is your voice, what is your mission, what is your brand story? All of those messaging pieces are a bigger part of the brand. Like that’s my main focus. And then the colors, the fonts, the logos, the websites, we do all that too, is just the icing on the cake, like it makes it look pretty. You can put lipstick on a pig. But if you haven’t—don’t have that foundation. It’s not going to make magic happen. Like people aren’t going to get what you’re offering and want it right away. That makes sense.
Miriam Schulman: Interesting. Now, do you think in terms of this sounds superficial, but in terms of colors, like there’s one influencer, in particular, I’m thinking about, I’m not going to say who it is, but it’s a she, so she changes her colors. I think every two years I feel like, okay, she’s just going with what the Pantone Color of the Year is now. Is that actually a problem or do you think that’s probably like evidence that maybe the deeper brand work is not done, that they that she’s using color changing the colors? Does that make sense where my questions are coming from?
Tiffany Neuman: I truly think that I mean, there’s things that you can do. Like I worked with an influencer and she loved to change her colors. So what we would do is do like marketing campaigns. So each year there was a different campaign and it changed slightly, but the core colors were the same. Like black and gold were always the same. And then, like the little pops of colors changed. So I think as long as there’s a common thread, it’s okay. But I mean, if you think of like, I don’t know why Target came to mind, but Target like you’re never going to just see Target randomly turn purple. You know what I mean?
Miriam Schulman: Right.
Tiffany Neuman: And so for recognition online, I think it’s important, you know. But again, if you’re an artist, it could be slightly different if you’re known for your art and it shifts slightly, but at least then the style should be the same, you know. There has to be some common thread is the is the main rule I would say.
Miriam Schulman: Yeah. I always like to tell artists that it needs everything needs to seem like it belongs in the same family. Sometimes artists. They’re too close to what they do so like they look at things and. Are seeing the differences, whereas we may not notice. So the example I’d like to give is you put me next to my sister, like would be like, What do you mean? We don’t look at all like and everybody else is like, you guys look exactly the same. And we’re not, we’re not twins. No, we’re not twins, but we both have dark hair and light eyes and Semitic features and probably the same voice, you know, So like to other people we look the same. So sometimes artists are too close. They’re just looking at the differences instead of the commonalities. At the same time, there are artists who are multi-passionate, and if they’re pursuing things that are too different, it is very confusing to their customers. So for example, artists who are painters and doing something like ceramics at the same time, that can be confusing to your customer.
Tiffany Neuman: Yeah. That makes sense because they get known, you know, they see you and maybe they’re like, Oh my God, I love her paintings. And then the next day it’s ceramics. They may not even realize, like if they just see a post or something that it’s you.
Miriam Schulman: Right. It’s like, you know, and to have it in the same booth now, at the same time, Picasso did paintings and sculpture, but you look at his sculpture and his paintings, they do look like they belong to the same family. So it’s like there is a cohesion that is happening there because his style was so entrenched and so strong that it couldn’t [inaudible]. Yeah, that’s right. What do you think is the biggest mistake that entrepreneurs make when they are doing this branding work?
Tiffany Neuman: I think we touched on a little bit already, but it’s really just thinking that the brand is all visual and especially, you know, artists. We’re visual people, so it’s easy to do. But I really think that not doing the deep work is one big mistake. And then another big mistake is. Really not dialing in your ideal audience, right? So I think a lot of people just make especially artists and, you know, it’s like, oh, I want to make art for me and that’s fine, but if you do that, then no, you have to still find out like, who is that audience, who is the collector going to be and really get to know them as well. So you’re speaking their language. It doesn’t mean you should change your art or your style or anything. But once you start seeing patterns in who’s purchasing, I think it’s really important to make sure to pay more attention to that and double down on what’s working rather than just, ‘Oh, my art is so beautiful. It’s meant for everybody.’
Not necessarily like you usually will have a subset of people that really enjoy it. And so you don’t want to just talk to general populations, you want to talk to those people. And I think that’s the main thing. And then there are some mistakes around the visual pieces too, you know, like websites that don’t convert and they’re just really pretty and they don’t have the right branding or the website looks one way. And like the other piece is the consistency, right? Like you said. You know, maybe their social media is have one look and feel and then their website has another look and feel and then their art actually looks completely different. And that’s really confusing for people too.
Miriam Schulman: Okay, so I’m going to be interested in hearing some examples, but before we get there, I can hear the trolls talking to me, those imaginary trolls out there and they are saying, I’m not a true artist if I’m not painting what I want to do or I’m not creating what I want to do. I want to tell you that in every age, successful artists are not only creating for themselves. And here are some examples. Okay, so for example, Michelangelo was creating Christian art for the Pope. So if he decided he was just going to sculpt whatever the heck he wanted to sculpt, we might have had some different things.
We wouldn’t have had the Moses sculpture for the tomb. We would not have had the Sistine Chapel because he said, I’m not a painter, I’m a sculptor. So throughout the ages, we have lots of examples of artists. It’s not so much of kowtowing for. It’s not that you are making art just to make money, but you are selling your art to make money. And if you want to sell art to make money, then you have to sell art that people want and you have to be like dialed in to what the people who have the money are looking for. So there’s that. All right. So now that we’ve spoken to the multi-eyed monster that I’m always imagining is out there like. That’s why do I always have my imaginary listeners are always sitting at the table at the zoom call with me there’s you know, and I can see them and I know what like I can imagine.
Tiffany Neuman: What they’re thinking and say.
Miriam Schulman: Sometimes. Yeah, sometimes. All right. So I wanted some examples of, if you can, some case studies to make it more real for us, like what an inconsistency would look like in terms of a brand mismatch on someone’s website and or in their social media or however that looks.
Tiffany Neuman: And when you said that, another thing came to mind that I can share as a case study, but the first one would be like, say you go to somebody’s website and it’s pictures of their art and you know. Say, their art’s like super serene and beaches. I don’t know, I’m totally making this up but and it’s so that’s there and you have a nice picture of them and then you go on social media and they were playing in Canva and they thought it would be really fun to just use these like these templates that were free and easy and they’re like purple and pink and different colors. Now, most people you wouldn’t think would do that, right? Like have enough sense. But honestly, it happens quite often where it’s like people don’t. They kind of view those things as separate, you know, and your marketing, when people go from your marketing to your website, you want that congruency and that consistency still. So they feel like it’s an extension of what they were viewing because obviously they were attracted to it online for some reason.
So that I mean, that’s an extreme example, but it happens. And then there’s also a case of, you know, our personalities can be mismatched. So for instance, I had this one woman that I worked with and she–her colors on her website were like baby colors like light pink and light blue. And if that’s what you like, there’s nothing wrong with that. But when I met her, her name is Ena. She has, like this bold, loud personality. And I was like, So we got to working together. As I was saying, branding is self-development. It came out that her parents used to because she was so loud and boisterous and everything. Her parents always used to tell her to tone down and quiet down. And so she thought she was being too bold in her website. So she wanted to tone it down. And then you go and you look at this website and you see this nice, serene. Person and then you meet her in real person. And that was like total mind craziness, you know.
Miriam Schulman: So I’m thinking that might be my problem. I’m like, thinking, I’m really loud, but my colors are very soft, like, Oops.
Tiffany Neuman: Well, I mean, it doesn’t have to be an exact match, but just sometimes when it’s that like it was so obvious with her, I was like, this is not representative of you at all, you know? And so we talked about it, and now it’s like red and black and bright and she’s like, fully letting herself be who she is. And it’s changed everything for her, you know, instead of like, okay, I need to be quiet. I need to be meek. Yeah. So that’s a good example, too, in a different type of way where there can be mismatches.
Miriam Schulman: That’s awesome. That’s a really good example, actually. So I know that you have a quiz, we’ll talk about the quiz at the end. We’ll drop the URL at the end as well. But what are some of the questions that go into that brand clarity quiz that you use to help uncover some of these the brand personality?
Tiffany Neuman: Yeah. So a lot of it is actually we tried to make it fun, so some of it is literally a little bit silly. Like if you were an ice cream, would, you know, if you were to eat ice cream, would you choose vanilla or like the huge sundae topped with all the things. But there’s psychology behind that. But then there’s some really serious ones, too, as far as like when somebody lands on your website, how do you want them to feel? You know, because it’s not all about like what’s on there. Branding is all about, you know, I think you’ve heard that term. Probably people don’t remember what they say, they remember how you make them feel. And so we really want to make sure that’s infused to the website. So questions like that of like how do you want the website to feel and a little bit more about your personality. And then it really helps you see where you are on your own branding journey. And then I provide resources to help you further your education or take the next step to actually begin creating a legacy brand.
Miriam Schulman: Yeah, I think that’s a Maya Angelou quote, like, people won’t remember what you said or what you did, but they’ll remember how you made them feel.
Tiffany Neuman: It’s probably true. I should look that up because I find myself saying it more and more so I should know the author.
Miriam Schulman: Yeah. Okay. Where do we find that Brand Clarity quiz?
Tiffany Neuman: Yeah, it’s at yourlegacybrand.com/quiz. Pretty simple.
Miriam Schulman: Beautiful. And if—
Tiffany Neuman: You just go to yourlegacybrand.com, you’ll find it.
Miriam Schulman: Okay and then is it a quiz where it’s going to be tons of questions how long do I need to take the quiz?
Tiffany Neuman: 12 questions So it’s like not even 5 minutes
Miriam Schulman: All right. I’m like, the whole time you’re talking, I was like, I think I need what you have. Like, whoops. Like, why am I using peach on my website? I don’t know. It’s like, I ,like, it looked pretty with the teal. It’s like, I like teal.
Tiffany Neuman: I know. And there’s and that’s always questions too. I get is like, do I use colors I like or do I have to be strategic about my colors? And the answer is a combination of both.
Miriam Schulman: So we can talk about—because I don’t think I’ve talked about this on the podcast yet, is the psychology that we use to do the cover of the book, because that went through a lot of iterations.
Tiffany Neuman: I would love to hear about that. That’s interesting. I used to be in publishing and do book cover design, so.
Miriam Schulman: Oh, okay. So the first round, I really wanted to be rude to my publisher and just say, Why would you even show these to me? And I wasn’t sure if I was just being over-picky or prima donna or whatever. I texted my agent. I was like, Did you see these? I don’t like them. I don’t like them. What do I do?. It was bizarre. It was—obviously people who designed it, hadn’t read the book. And it was pretty much you could tell they had gone on to to like art books and then what they thought an art book should look like. Like it almost looked like every one of them had the color wheel on it, which has nothing to do with the book. Yeah, one of them looked like a Malcolm Gladwell cover, you know, like at the same with the the font, the Sara fonts. It looked exactly like that. And so we went through a few rounds and finally I just said to them these are the. Pantone colors I want you to use. And then. Yeah, and we ended up coming—
So my agent wanted them to match my brand colors, and they at first like, no, like we don’t match the, the author’s brand colors and P.S. the thing we ended up doing is pretty close to my, what my brand colors were to begin with, like the teals that I like to use and the psychology–the reason they went along with that is because it is a book about making money as an artist and they like to use shades of green because green is money when they are using and they have books about that. So do you know, like some of the general I don’t want to sit here and be like the only expert. Do you know some of the general color categories for books? Do you want to share that?
Tiffany Neuman: Yeah, Well, just in general for branding, you know, like blue evokes trust and red evokes actually evokes hunger because like a lot of fast foods use red.
Miriam Schulman: Oh.
Tiffany Neuman: But itt’s also more like powerful and things like that. And green, like you said, very much money nature. Yeah, but not specifically for books. Even though like that was I was an intern for a publishing company, so maybe I didn’t get that far into the psychology.
Miriam Schulman: Well, what my acquiring editor from HarperCollins had shared with me. So that’s Sarah Kendrick. She said—she originally wanted yellow for my book. But meanwhile, when I got the book designs back, none of them were yellow, so I don’t know what happened there. Yeah, but she said that yellow was the cover for an underdog. So, for example, one of the books that I really love, Ninth Street Woman is a yellow book, and it’s about the women of the abstract expressionist movement. So it’s, it’s the color of the underdog That so. That’s one color she shared with me. Another color she shared with me. You’ll see a lot of marketing. Sales books are orange. You’ll see a lot of self-development books as blue because of what you said about the trust. Yeah, she didn’t want me to use pink because she wanted to make sure the book would would feel inclusive to men.
Tiffany Neuman: Makes sense.
Miriam Schulman: But it’s interesting because in my dining room I have some of my books sorted by color, and it’s not just looking pretty, but it also because so many publishers do use these tropes, it actually ends up, Oh, the Blue is my Brene Brown and other self-development books and you know, the Seth Gordon’s are over here with the orange. Like the Orange Land. Yeah.
Tiffany Neuman: Love that. Yeah, I think it’s so interesting to dive in. I worked in the art book world, so I worked for a company literally called ArtBookPrinting.com. So I know what you mean. Like, what did that look like? What is an art book look like? But I love the cover that you came up with.
Miriam Schulman: Thank you. So the cover of what they did was I told I gave the art director instructions. So I started to become more and more specific as we went along with what I was really looking for. And I told them I wanted them to look very modern. I did not want my art on the cover because I wanted all artists to be able to see themselves in this book. And if it was my art on the cover, then it becomes a book about my story, not about the reader. So I wanted everyone to be able to see themselves even in the cover, like being able, making that also kind of an invitation. And rather than ‘this is about me’. So we did find a piece of modern art that we liked, that we purchased the rights for it, and then we change the colors to be the colors. I wanted to that. That’s how that went.
Tiffany Neuman: Nice. I love that story.
Miriam Schulman: Yeah. And then of course, the font has to be readable as a thumbnail on Amazon.
Tiffany Neuman: Yeah, huge point. It’s like podcast graphics. So many of them, it’s like, what does that even say?
Miriam Schulman: That was something actually I changed recently too, so I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this is for the longest time I had a logo of an elephant painting and at a certain point I always tell my artist that on Instagram and anywhere else that they show up that their avatar should be a picture of their face, that people want to interact with people, not brands. And then I realized that all the podcasts I follow that are my favorite podcasts has a picture of the podcaster on the cover art, not the logo. Now I’m trying to think what you have on your cover art. Is that you?
Tiffany Neuman: Mine has the logo and my picture.
Miriam Schulman: Okay. All right. So, yeah. So I changed. I changed it to a picture of me because I wanted people to make a connection with me. And I had thought about having my logo also. Because I love that little elephant.
Tiffany Neuman: Yeah, he’s cute. We could just, like, hang out in the bottom or something.
Miriam Schulman: Yeah, maybe. I don’t know. I couldn’t figure it out. Maybe I need to hire you. I don’t know. All right, Tiffany. So tell us again where we can find that brand clarity quiz.
Tiffany Neuman: Sure. It’s at yourlegacybrand.com/quiz.
Miriam Schulman: Beautiful. So we will link that up in the show notes. And this is episode 246 and make sure that you can also find all the places to connect with Tiffany.
Oh and don’t forget, Artpreneur is out! If you wanna dive deeper into creating your personal brand and signature style, you’re gonna love the chapter “Embrace Your Inner Weirdo”. In it, I give 9 steps for creating your signature brand with your art and your business. So to get that and also all the freebies that we set up to compliment the book, go to ArtpreneurBook.com
All right. Tiffany, do you have any last words for my listeners before we call this podcast complete?
Tiffany Neuman: I would say, based on our discussion today is just stay true to you. You know, like make sure your brand is alignment and you can feel like you’re truly embodying it because if it feels off to you ever and if you’re not truly loving it, then that energy shows through. And so, yeah, just be you.
Miriam Schulman: Fantastic. All right, my friends, thanks so much for joining us today. I’ll see you at the same time, same place next week. Until then, stay inspired.
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