What Artisans Can Teach Us About Marketing: Part 1

When I lived and worked in Italy, artisans were a big part of the commerce and culture of the country.  People would flock to local shops, drawn to homemade breads and cheeses. Furniture and furnishings were made by hand. The vineyards and wineries to this very day retain that artisan mindset.

Even today, large companies try to incorporate the “artisan” imagery into the way they position and market their products to consumers. According to a study by Datamonitor, over 800 different products have been launched using the term “artisan” in the past five years.

Artisan imagery in branding evokes a positive perception with consumers.

Artisans are true craftsmen. When you walk into an artisan’s shop, you are not a number- you are their customer. And in a world of mass produced products and noise in the marketplace, consumers are drawn to the artisan experience because it’s all about quality, individual attention and the pride of craftsmanship.

Living in Italy gave me a lot of exposure to artisans and why their work is a magnet that draws customers. I believe we can learn a lot from these craftsmen to craft more effective marketing campaigns, events and messages that resonate with our customers, regardless of the industry.

Of course, every business needs to grow, and in order to achieve our goals, we need to scale our marketing and reach more people, more businesses and more decision-makers. But “artisan marketing” and “scaleable marketing” are not mutually exclusive. We can bring the “artisan touch” into our marketing.

We have many tools, resources, systems and processes at our fingertips to help us not only scale our marketing, but to do so in a way that engages customers as individuals, not an impersonal database. As we implement these tools more deeply into our work, we are certainly improving the way we connect and communicate with customers and prospects.

But these tools are just part of the customer engagement and customer relationship equation. The other part is the personal aspect – humanizing the brand. And that is something that cannot be done through software or an automated process.

Humanizing the brand requires the personal, human touch. And like an artisan, we need to roll up our sleeves and do a little bit of work.

Starbucks imbeds "artisan culture" into their marketing, operations and in-store experience.

Starbucks imbeds “artisan culture” into their marketing, operations and in-store experience.

Take Starbucks as an example. The Starbucks brand is ingrained with the artisan’s touch.

Their product (and their marketing) does not feel mass produced. Their employees do not just serve coffee, they’re called “baristas.” They create a high-quality experience that turns delighted customers into a global community of passionate fans.

That’s the power of an artisan’s mindset when a company deeply imbeds it into their marketing and their business. Seemingly small, personal touches can have a ripple effect.

In my next post, I will share my thoughts on what we can learn from an artisan’s focus on quality.

In the meantime, what are great examples of “artisan brands” and what can we learn from it to become better marketers? Let me know your thoughts.

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