This illustration is of a row of confectionery-coloured shophouses on a Singapore street. It also happens to be (ahem) done by yours truly. Sketching is a hobby and I have a shop on etsy.com where I have put up prints of my illustrations for sale (shameless plug). And this illustration has outsold the others and in fact, sales have gathered momentum in recent weeks.
It did set me thinking as to why this particular illustration. A clue came from one of my buyers who said “I was looking for something Singapore related to decorate my apartment in Helsinki and most of the ones I found were kind of generic in the sense of what a tourist would see Singapore as. This print however reminded me of the Singapore I remember growing up there!”
Firstly, if you have ever lived in Singapore, you would be quite familiar with this area and street in particular – it is well-known for its uniquely local architecture and eclectic flavour. So it has resonance among Singaporeans as well as expats who have lived there. It is also a relatively different take on Singapore – beyond the conventional images of the Singapore skyline, Marina Bay Sands and the Merlion.
So I’ve been getting steady but modest sales over the past couple of years. But something strange happened in September. Purely by chance, within the span of a week, the print got favourited a few times and three orders also got placed. That then snowballed into more ‘likes’ and orders – and Iam now getting a minimum of an order a week over the past three months.
This did remind me the brand growth framework of Kantar Millward Brown viz. the best recipe for a brand’s financial growth is to have a point of difference that is highly meaningful and salient. We all know the importance of uniqueness and resonance in driving brand equity but the operative word here is salience viz. coming to mind easily. True brand growth comes if you are able to deliver that meaningful difference to as many people as possible, not just in terms of access but also mental reach (‘physical and mental availability’ in the words of Byron Sharp).
Now if I can only figure out how to engineer that September salience more often!