I had the pleasure of speaking with Nikolas Allen and getting some feedback into the creative mind of this branding band man. Originally a rock musician, Allen has begun his career as a graphic designer, to art director, then became a filmmaker and a contemporary pop artist, finally landing his destination as a Branding and Marketing Consultant. He has always had a relentless pursuit of passion.
- What is your stance as a marketing professional? What are you good at? What differentiates you from others?
I am well-rounded and able to execute my visions. Thinking big is one thing, making it happen is another. I do both. My philosophy is, “Do it with excellence, or don’t bother.” I’m able to focus on the micro details, while not losing sight of the macro objective. Oh, and I’m great at telling other people what THEY should be doing! Ha! I’m half-joking, but I guess that’s part of the reason I got into consulting. I truly want to help and inspire people to succeed.
- A marketing strategy begins with an idea. How are yours born?
A mixture of creative and analytical thinking, research and asking lots of questions. This is why branding is important. When you know what your brand stands for, and what your objective is, your marketing message comes into focus. Then it’s a question of how you choose to execute it and what tools you utilize to do so.
- Can you cite brands or well-known products that you admire for marketing brilliance?
I wish I had a long list to rattle off, but honestly, nothing comes to mind. Plus, I’m way more impressed with a solid, quality product (which is rare to find anymore), than brilliant marketing strategies.
- Are we heading towards more individualized marketing and advertising?
Absolutely! There’s more fragmentation in business now than ever before. With so much downsizing, outsourcing and telecommuting going on, “Independent Contractor” has become the new “Employee.” That’s why you hear so much about Personal Branding these days. The individual has become his own one-person company. Therefore, you need to brand yourself (i.e. become) a reliable, professional, productive asset so you stand out amongst the competition and continue to capitalize on opportunities.
- How do you evaluate the potential of social networks for marketing on-line?
The main reason you should be using certain social networks for business is because your target audience is already there. So, number one question is: WHO is using this platform? Secondly, it’s important to know what your objective is: to sell product, to entertain, to educate, to establish thought-leadership, to engage customers, to drive traffic to your other sales channels, etc. Third, you want to know the Analytics. Are the results trackable? Will there be an ROI?
Finally, you gotta JUMP IN! Check things out for a specified period of time and see how it goes. Then, keep this bit of advice in mind: Use what works and drop the rest.
- What industry or market segment do you find attractive for devoting yourself to in the coming years?
Art Brand Plan is my new Education and Consulting business, where I teach Branding and Marketing to Ambitious Creatives. As a life-long artist, I’m aware of the challenges creative people face trying to merge art and commerce. I want to use my passion and experience in business, advertising and art to educate and inspire these people to do the work necessary to achieve their own vision of Success.
- How do you do your own personal branding? What do you recommend other professionals do to position themselves in the job market?
For myself and others, I highly recommend the following:
Show up. Get involved. Have FUN. Love what you do. Do what you love. Know who YOU are as a person. Allow others to be who THEY are. Refuse to compromise your values. Strive to inspire others. Be open to learning. Accept that you have more knowledge than some people and less than others. Be dependable. Be accountable. Stop making excuses. Take responsibility for your words, thoughts, actions and creations. Strive for self-improvement. Say YES to opportunity.
“I take the concept of Personal Branding seriously. To me, it goes beyond business and becomes an ongoing quest for self-improvement. When you strive to become an extraordinary Person, you can’t help but have an extraordinary Reputation (i.e. Brand). Then, in work and in life, you become the very embodiment of Success.”
Nikolas Allen is a contemporary pop artist currently based in Mt. Shasta, California. His background is in advertising, music and video production. He is passionate about both art and business and currently runs Art Brand Plan, an Education and Consulting Business that teaches Branding and Marketing to Ambitious Creatives.
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