Brian Usher Edi­to­rial

Pub­lisher & CEO

Arabella - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - Www.ara­bel­lade­sign.com

It’s spring and there’s a tale of two re­al­i­ties out there. We keep hear­ing that the art mar­ket is strug­gling – at least in cer­tain parts of the coun­try. Al­berta with its de­pen­dence upon the en­ergy sec­tor and world oil pric­ing seems par­tic­u­larly hard hit but, just one prov­ince over, sales in Van­cou­ver are re­ported to be boom­ing along with the su­per-hot real es­tate mar­ket. Across the coun­try there’s ev­i­dence that the mar­ket for lux­ury goods is in­creas­ing in key Cana­dian cities, but less ur­ban ar­eas are of­ten bereft of ‘higher-end shop­ping’ op­tions, as De­bra keeps re­mind­ing me. When faced with poor eco­nomic times, the usual, ac­coun­tant-ap­proved ap­proach of many busi­ness own­ers is to cut back on ad­ver­tis­ing de­spite decades of re­search ev­i­dence that this tac­tic is only ben­e­fi­cial in the short term while man­ag­ing cash flow. Longer term, the loss of mar­ket po­si­tion­ing can dra­mat­i­cally al­ter client per­cep­tions of the vi­a­bil­ity of the busi­ness and al­low ‘ com­peti­tors’ to step into the void. Of course, jug­gling ex­penses is al­ways a rel­a­tive mat­ter – usu­ally de­pen­dent upon the back-up re­sources avail­able. We know about that. So I’m not be­ing crit­i­cal, just urg­ing some cau­tion. It also helps to un­der­stand how your ad­ver­tis­ing is tar­get­ing your ideal cus­tomer. Faced with de­clin­ing re­sults from ‘tra­di­tional’ sales chan­nels, some gallery own­ers are look­ing at ways of re-in­vent­ing them­selves – es­sen­tially chang­ing their ap­proaches to reach­ing po­ten­tial cus­tomers. One gallery owner we know of has in­vested in su­per high res­o­lu­tion 9x6ft LED screens in their gallery lo­ca­tion and is look­ing to lev­er­age the in­vest­ment by cross-mar­ket­ing with sev­eral other me­dia sources. I think this demon­strates a crit­i­cal mar­ket­ing strat­egy – namely col­lab­o­ra­tion – that many busi­nesses re­sist. Some might see it as a barter econ­omy. If suc­cess­ful, this owner’s ap­proach rep­re­sents a rea­son­ably ef­fec­tive means of overcoming the lim­i­ta­tions of wall space and time re­quired for cu­rat­ing in­ven­tory. We look for­ward to hear­ing if it is suc­cess­ful. An­other gallery owner, and this does re­quire some deep pock­ets, is look­ing to pur­chase a 42ft lux­ury RV which will be wrapped in graph­ics and used as a trav­el­ing bill­board. I imag­ine cur­rent low gaso­line prices make this seem a man­age­able busi­ness ex­pense, but it does tie one up with a lot of time on the road. So here we go – Pop-up Art Gal­leries – and the chal­lenges therein. Even though th­ese are novel ap­proaches to the busi­ness of mar­ket­ing art, they do still re­in­force the re­al­ity that a key as­pect of any busi­ness is ad­ver­tis­ing – get­ting your brand and prod­uct in front of the right cus­tomers. And clearly, know­ing who your cus­tomers are and where they are should be key to your ap­proach. Of course, it’s our be­lief that ARA­BELLA still rep­re­sents one of the most cost ef­fec­tive ways of reach­ing the higher net-worth mar­ket. With that in mind, in this is­sue we’re pleased to present the launch of Art Van­cou­ver – a new art fair ven­ture started by Lisa Wolfin Wayrynen and Matt Wayrynen (www.art­van­cou­ver.net) in 2014. This is an ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­nity for lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional artists and gal­leries to po­si­tion them­selves in a ma­jor west coast art event that is likely to draw a di­verse range of art col­lec­tors and afi­ciona­dos. We’ve de­voted pages 42-81 in this is­sue to pre­view some of the great tal­ent that will be at Art Van­cou­ver on May 26-29. De­bra and I are look­ing for­ward to at­tend­ing, and catch­ing up with a lot of old friends and meet­ing many new ones.

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