When Worlds Collide – Reality TV meets Art Licensing

Back in December, Paul Brent did a few guest posts about branding in anticipation of his teleseminar, Brand Yourself For Success in Art Licensing . On December 15, 2009 – he wrote a post I’m reposting today. It included Tiger Woods and the White House Gate Crashers.

I remember commenting to him and others, “Just watch!  The Gate Crashers will get a reality TV show!”

Little did I know they were already filming and the TV crew from Bravo TV was following the whole thing!  Last night, on The Real Housewives of DC, the world got a glimpse of what happened and what has been happening since.  Personally, I’m still confused.  Looks to me like they were looking for their 15 minutes of fame and got more than they anticipated. No formal charges have been made, to my knowledge, but it doesn’t look like life is a picnic for this couple or anyone associated with them.  Not only can not being true to yourself hurt your own personal brand, but it can have a ripple effect to those in your circle.  For those reasons and more… think carefully about your branding and living strategies!

I think today is a great time to re-visit Paul Brent’s post,

Branding: The Tiger and the Gate Crashers – Blog post by Paul Brent

If anyone has experience in branding and especially building a brand based on an individual and lifestyle, especially in art licensing, Paul Brent is the go-to guy! Paul will be sharing his in-depth knowledge on the subject of branding, to be unveiled at in early 2010. For now, here are some timely thoughts from Paul and lessons to be learned from recent current events.

Well, it seems that today’s news is constantly bringing us examples of how branding works. Licensing artists can all learn from current events how not to build a brand and how to destroy one. The White House gate crashers have sought recognition and brand building by succeeding in their audacious attempt to attend a White House reception. Their brand is now firmly entrenched in the public’s mind. We can only hope that they have a plan for how this will help them secure their place in reality TV or result in jail time.

Licensing artists can learn that audacious acts need to be well planned and researched. Sometimes the risk is warranted other times it can backfire. In the early 90’s I was working with an individual who had a trained Florida panther and who was doing educational presentations with the panther to bring attention to their plight. I painted a portrait of the panther and arranged to have the panther appear in my booth at two trade shows. I did have to clear this with show management and the facilities management. The panther behaved and we were certainly recognized at those shows. Everyone in attendance knew there was a panther on the floor. If the panther had misbehaved the whole gamble could have misfired. Luckily the panther and trainer lived up to expectations and built my name recognition at a time when I needed something spectacular for people to remember me. So when planning an occurrence of this type be sure to think out all of the possible rewards and drawbacks before proceeding. I am not sure that the gate crashers were this astute.

Tiger Woods gives us another lesson in brand management. I have often said that you are your brand in art licensing. In Tiger’s case that extends into marriage partners, family and sexual partners. His brand was built to match his sport where family values predominate in a conservative, business leader demographic of fans. It is too bad he did not live up to his fabricated image and has damaged, possibly irreversibly, one of the greatest brands of all times.

While few licensing artists achieve the celebrity of Tiger, we all must insure that what we promote about ourselves rings true. I once knew a talented artist who painted what would sell but dismissed her work to people who know her, belittling her work and making negative comments about her customers who bought it. While I never heard of that getting back to her customers I think it could have been a potential time bomb for her career in art licensing.

It is far safer to stick with a truthful image of yourself and your art and not risk the pitfalls of negative press. Some of the most negative comments I hear about artists from manufacturers are late delivery, difficulty in contract negations and relentless control issues concerning quality and color. Developing a good working relationship and being reasonable, not a pushover, is going to serve a licensing artist well especially over the years as design directors and manufacturers licensing directors change jobs in the industry. We have many times made lasting friends with individuals who then bring us along as they change jobs and we certainly enjoy the referrals they give to others within the industry.

So just because you are not in the media’s eye, you, too, can learn from our newsworthy celebrities about how to achieve success in art licensing.

– Paul Brent,

I don’t know about you, but I have no desire to be in the media’s eye in the way that Tiger or the Gate Crashers are! Thank you Paul for letting me share your insights on the blog. (again!)

Here’s to your branding success!

– Tara Reed

P.S.  Get a copy of Paul Brent’s teleseminar replay, Brand Yourself for Success in Art Licensing, today!

Art Licensing Girl Identity: Revealed!

When I came downstairs to have my son take the latest goofy photo of me for the blog, I have to tell you I scared him a bit.  I had my costume on, showed him the cartoon and said, “I have to look like this.”  He replied, “I’m terrified by how much you do!  It’s kind of creepy!”

Let’s just say I was pleased as punch!

So just WHY had I created a costume and flipped my hair out (burning my finger on the rarely used curling iron!) and dressed up like a cartoon?

Simple… Paul Brent told me to.

(Or, as I say in the video, he ‘double-dog-dared me’)

I’ve been doing my homework he gave during the Branding teleseminar and know that others are as well.  As I prepare for SURTEX I figure it is a great time to step back and look at the big picture: my art, how I present it, what I will be saying and showing at the show… the timing couldn’t be more perfect!

If you, too, want to do a brand analysis, the “Brand Yourself for Success in Art Licensing” teleseminar replay is ready for anyone wanting to to spend the time and money to get big results!

Go to double dog dare you!

Here’s to your creative, and well-branded success!

– Tara Reed a.k.a. “Art Licensing Girl”

Hey artists – what’s your line? and other fun, branding related info from Paul Brent

On Wednesday, February 24, 2010 Paul Brent lit a fire in the soul of many an artist.  In his hour long Teleseminar, “Brand Yourself for Success in Art Licensing” he gave us his mistakes to learn from, things to avoid and most importantly – lots of things to do to get our brands up and running or working even better than ever.

Taglines were just a part of it but boy have we been having fun with it in the past two days!

On Facebook, Paul wrote:
I have been talking about tag lines recently. Currently mine is “America’s best known coastal artist” but I have been thinking about updating it. It could be aggressive “Art going coastal” or Biblical “Let there beach art” maybe short and straight forward “Bathroom art” . Requirements are it must be under six words and must have some mention of art, artist, painter, etc. included. Any ideas?

Some responses from the “peanut gallery” for him included:

  • “Get Brent Out of Shape”
  • “Brent’s Beautiful Beaches”
  • “Brent’s Gone Coastal”
  • “Paul Brent: Arts a Beach!”
  • Skip the bathroom art — you are so much more than that! The original is still the best.
  • hah Paul you are funny. (Bathroom art) . How am I supposed to get any work done today… all I’ll be doing is thinking of tag lines… the only thing I can think of is “Better than Sand in Your Crack” (oh no she didn’t.)
  • How about “Art from Sunny Florida, while everyone else is experience the global warming”? (oops! That doesn’t follow the ‘six words or less rule!)
  • hey ’bout..”Coastal art from the heart”
  • Brent’s beach art

One of the things he told us to do was brainstorm and get feedback… good to see he follows his own instructions!
I spent my day doing all the ‘behind the scenes’ techy stuff so anyone who wasn’t able to listen live could still have access to this very powerful hour of branding wisdom.  The audio is edited and everything is ready to go!
So if you want in on the fun and brand-building savvy – head to to order your replay today!

Here’s to your creative and well branded success!
– Tara Reed

Here are a few testimonials from people who were on the call…

“I woke up at 4 a.m. this morning with tag line ideas running through my head and thinking about all I need to do to work on my brand. When I went to my computer to jot down my ideas, I saw your email–thanks so much for the lists to help focus on exactly what to do. I am so glad I took this seminar!”

Betty Laur

“I’m amazed by not just the quality and quantity of the information; but also the genuine and friendly personality of Paul Brent. I’m fortunate to receive all this information in the early stages of my development; because I know it will give me the most solid launch possible!”

Brenda D. Baker

“Tara, it was powerful and I have been so busy. All my answers came like a tidal wave that night. All my answers were in pieces here and there. Right in front of my nose and did not see it. After that call in two hours of brain storming, I saw my style, subject, and created a logo and tag line. It just all fell into place. Great class and I’m looking forward to hearing the replay for things I might I missed. ”

Bruce Michael

Is Your Art Brand Helping You Grow Your Art Licensing Business?

A brand is more than a name, a logo and a business card.

Branding affects Art Licensing in multiple ways and it is important to know how this works. Building your brand can be as important as creating your art in order to stand out from the crowd. What makes you different than every other artist with a pencil or paintbrush? A well-crafted branding strategy can help convey your message while you are busy in your studio – providing you know what you are doing.

Branding is how you define yourself to your customers.

If you can successfully do this in a positive way you are on the road to success. Building a brand that will go the distance means more than picking a font and creating a logo. First, you need to analyze your art and how you run your business.

Paul Brent knows branding and will be sharing his tips and insights in a 60 minute teleseminar on Wednesday, February 24th at 5:30 pm PST / 8:30 pm EST.  For $57 you will get a lot of knowledge and skills to build or improve your art brand.

What are you waiting for?

Get all the details and sign up today!

I hope we talk to you next week! (I’ll be facilitating the call.)

– Tara Reed

Good vibes needed please! (& the power of asking and trying)

If you recall, I did a video proclaiming 2010 to be my year of “flow” – that’s the verb I have chosen to guide me this year. I want to stop resisting and worrying and just go with the flow.  The creative flow, the flow of opportunity, the flow of health and happiness… all of it.

And WOW! So far so good!  We have some exciting things coming up – many of which I discovered or got a final “yes”  to this year.

  • – the Ask Call for February (on Wed. the 17th) came to me via email – “I have this new product and thought it might be of interest to your audience…” Absolutely!  What artist with a website doesn’t want to know how to make it work more efficiently for them?
  • Brand Yourself for Success in Art Licensing – teleseminar by Paul Brent (on Wed, Feb 24th) – we’ve been talking about this for months and now it will be happening!
  • Ask Mary Engelbreit – 13 months in the ‘wooing’ – Mary will be the Ask Call expert on Wed, March 17th – can’t wait!

And these are just the amazing things going on on the information side of my business – not the art side.  But do you see a trend in these events?  They are all opportunities that came from my taking the Teleseminar Secrets Class and learning to connect, teach and inspire by phone.

We’re getting to the part where I need good vibes now…

The cool thing about the Teleseminar Secrets Class is that once you are a student, you are always a student and you can listen in every year to learn the new content and brush up on some review.  I have 2 really cool things going on during the class again this year.

THE GOOD VIBE REQUEST: I entered the “Teleseminar Secrets Challenge” again this year (this time as a “Veteran” – if you read my blog last year you might recall I was a finalist for the “Newbie” category.)  Well I am a finalist again!  One of 6 Veterans who will give a 4 minute speech on WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 10th to the other students (usually about 500 people are on the line) and tell them why I believe I deserve to be the “Highest Vote Getter” among the 6 finalists.

For some reason I was REALLY NERVOUS during my speech last year – like, crazy didn’t-think-I’d-get-each-word-out nervous.  The level of it surprised me!  I fully intend not to repeat that feeling.  (The audio sounded fine but it didn’t feel good while I was talking.)

So I would love to know that I have you on my side and sending calming energy to me, OK? (Very new-age, I know!)  I have so enjoyed every Ask Call I’ve done or facilitated since my first call in December 2008 – and it’s thanks to the artists and support you give.  That was part of the challenge entry that got me into the finals…

I’ll let you know how it goes on Thursday, ok?

Another fun Teleseminar Secrets addition – I have been asked to be on the “Faculty” to teach about using Twitter to grow a business.  I was just tweeting away during class and posting to the Facebook fan page and suddenly heard my name and ended up on the live call… if you want to hear my basic thoughts and how this came about – you hear it all below…

So remember, none of these amazing things would be happening if I wasn’t ASKING (for experts to become part of the family), TRYING (entering the challenge) or LISTENING (to new ideas like the SEO for Artists.).

You don’t know what is possible for you or your business unless you try.  So I encourage you to take a deep breath and GO FOR IT!  The worst that can happen is nothing… the best?  Who knows!

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

Brand Yourself for Success in Art Licensing – teleseminar with Paul Brent

I’m excited to announce that Paul Brent has put together an information-packed hour to get you thinking, strategizing and building your brand for success in art licensing.

Paul Brent understands branding.

An artist, interior designer and print publisher, he began licensing his art in 1988. Bookmarks, bed linens and insulated barware were among his first licensed products. Since then he has gone on to work with many, many manufacturers and grown his licensing business to be the 94th largest in the world, according to License! Global Magazine’s Top 100 Licensor List for 2008 and 2009.

Paul Brent is the most well known coastal artist in the U.S. He has managed to build and evolve his brand to include so much more than beach and sea life and has done so very successfully. The Paul Brent Designer brand has been in the marketplace for over 20 years and shows no signs of slowing down.

I will be facilitating the teleseminar on Wednesday, February 24th at 5:30 pm PST / 8:30 pm EST.  At only $57, this could be the best investment of your time and money you will make to help you build your brand in the market place.

This teleseminar is for artists who want to learn to effectively create a brand for their art that will help them grow their business, with emphasis placed on building a brand for the art licensing industry.

  • What to expect from a successful branding strategy over the course of the next 30 days to one year.
  • What the 9 most common pitfalls are in both a visual brand and a business brand – and how to avoid them.
  • Key strategies of branding to help you:
    • create and maintain good artist / agent relationships
    • protect your copyright
    • keep your brand fresh in the market place
    • and use your brand to attract attention in the media.
  • How to commit to your brand strategy and take the first step.

Go to for further details or to see the long list of valuable freebies you will get in addition to the hour long teleseminar.

Or CLICK HERE to get signed up!

Here’s to your well branded creative success!

– Tara

P.S. Combine these branding strategies with the SEO (search engine optimization) skills you will learn on the Monthly Ask Call on Wednesday, February 17th and the impact will be even bigger!

Oprah’s “aha moment”— Is this your trademark’s “aha moment?” – Guest Post by Cheryl Hodgson

The following blog post has been re-printed with the permission of the author, attorney Cheryl Hodgson who has done two great “Ask” calls, the most recent on January 20, 2010.  Read on to get some interesting food for thought about trademarks.

“Aha moment.”  What do you think of when you hear that phrase? Or should I ask who do you think of?  Oprah Winfrey would like it to be her!  However, after her recent settlement with Mutual of Omaha insurance company, she might not be the only one that can use the popular phrase.

Oprah’s production company, Harpo Productions, had originally claimed that “aha moment” was a  trademark from her television show.  At, you will find numerous videos showing the “aha moments” of various celebrity guests.  Some of those moments include, “finding a different kind of happiness, learning to prioritize, and the courage to do something new.”

Harpo learned that Mutual of Omaha was using the slogan “official sponsor of the aha moment,” and sent them a letter asking them to stop use.  Omaha responded by filing a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Omaha arguing that they had already been granted preliminary approval of a federal trademark for the slogan.

Harpo had previously applied for trademark protection of “aha moments” in entertainment services and in magazines, while Omaha applied to register “Proud sponsor of life’s aha moments,” “Official sponsor of life’s aha moments,” and “Celebrating life’s aha moments” in the insurance industry.

In doing a Google search, I found that Omaha also owns the domain <> where they describe “A moment of clarity, the aha moment is a defining moment where you gain real wisdom—wisdom you can use to change your life.”

Even though Oprah had made the mark famous, Omaha alleged that she failed to police the mark and there was no opposition to its trademark application.  The case was settled out of court.  This story can be your “aha moment” in brand protection.  I’ve written much about the importance of developing and maintaining a trademark monitoring program.  Read our earlier post:  Enforcement means having a watch program in place to monitor new filings and counsel to give prompt notice of potential conflicts.  Failure to police can mean complete loss of rights.

This all might not even matter much longer anyway, now that Oprah has officially announced her talk show will end September 9, 2011.  Aha…

For more information on the importance of policing and monitoring your trademarks in the digital age, sign up for our blog and we’ll send you a free chapter from the Guide to Building and Protecting a Valuable Brand on the Internet, based upon the INSURE™ Brand Protect Sequence.

The lesson I learned? If you register a trademark, you better watch and enforce your rights because the “You Snooze, You Lose” rule applies!

Learn more about and from Cheryl Hodgson on her blog at  Watch for new art licensing information products from her in the near future!

– Tara

P.S. Get your free copy of Cheryl’s first “Art Licensing Info Monthly Ask Call” July 2009 mp3 replay if you haven’t already.  The January 20, 2010 audio replay (1 hour long) is available for $15 thru 1/31 and $25 after that.

Who Else Wants to "Taylor Hicks-ify" their Business?

Me! Me! Me! (Picture me jumping up and down in a crowd my hand held in the air trying to get the attention of the branding powers that be…  dorky I know but I’d do it!)

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE a good musical!  In fact if only I could sing and dance I may have taken to the stage instead of picking up a paint brush.  But my talents lie in art and marketing so I will leave the performing to others and enjoy a good show as often as possible.

Last week the Broadway Musical of “Grease!” came to town. My friend has season tickets and as luck would have it, her husband REALLY didn’t want to go.  It was a win-win because I did!  And they had great seats — 12 rows from the stage — woo-hoo!  Score for me!

But I’m not blogging to tell you about my seats but to tell you about “Taylor Hicks-ification”.  You know him, right?  Won American Idol?  Well the advertising for the show looks like this:


If you are a die-hard Grease! fan you might connect the dots and not be surprised when I tell you he only sang one song in the whole show.  I did not connect the dots that the “Teen Angel” only had one song and my friend and I both fully expected to see him before the second act.

He did a great job — that man can sing!  And they worked some humor into the show that had the crowd quite entertained.  (I won’t tell you — don’t want to spoil it for anyone!)

But here is why I decided I needed to blog about this:  Taylor Hicks sang ONE SONG and was the main marketing piece for the whole show.  All the other performers were knocking themselves out for 2 hours singing and dancing and I’m sorry but I can’t remember their names.  They weren’t put in front of me 20 times and they were never on a national tv show, talked about on the news, radio and more.

So the lesson for us in this:  BRANDING and VISIBILITY! Taylor Hicks became a name when he made the finals on American Idol.  When he won, he became a brand.  Even though he was only a small part of the actual show, he was 90% of the marketing.  I’m sure many tickets are purchased by his fans so they can say they saw him live.

That is why I plan to “Taylor Hicks-ify” my business. Create buzz.  Brand awareness.  A fan base. Get some press.  Make noise. Make friends.  Have fun.  If consumers know who I am the retailers will be more likely to buy products featuring my art, knowing they will sell.

I don’t have a specific plan yet but I can guarantee it is rolling around in my head.  I’ll be sure to share ideas I come up with that work well.  For now — I’m off to paint and listen to my CD of Grease! so I can relive the event in my studio.

~ Tara

P.S.  To learn more about the show, CLICK HERE.

P.P.S.  To learn more about Taylor Hicks and his new album, CLICK HERE.

P.P.S.S.  How cool would it be if Taylor Hicks commented on this blog? (hint! hint! Taylor if you find it!) I’d have to blog about THAT!

5 things to include in a Press Kit…

I got an email the other day from an artist who purchased my Trade Show eBook.  When you buy the book, you get a “Trade Show Time Tracker”, a guideline of what to do when (I need to go make sure I’m on track now that I think about it!).  One of the things on the list is “Prepared your Press Kit if you will bring one”.

Her questions was this:  What exactly do I put in a press kit? You don’t cover it in the eBook.  Good question!  Thought it would make a good blog post.  Here are 5 things to include in a press kit:

  1. Contact information! Don’t overlook putting your business card in the press kit.  You want them to find you if they decide they want to do a cover story about you and your art, right?
  2. Press Releases. If you have done any press releases that would be relevant to the press at the trade show, be sure to include them.  Speaking of Press Releases, make sure you are giving good information for a reader and not just talking about yourself.  You are more likely to be included in an article, etc. if you give tips that people can use (like “5 things to include in a press kit”) vs. tooting your own horn (like “I’m really great at making pretty press kits”) — see the difference?
  3. Company Fact Sheet. Now that I told you not to toot your own horn, that doesn’t mean you don’t include some basics.  Who are you?  What is your story? What do you do?  Are you an award winning artist?  Put it here.  Supporting charity?  Write it down.  New in business or going at it for 20 years?  This is the place.
  4. Promotional Materials. Do you have postcards, brochures or flyers that show / describe your art or products?  That should be in there!  Like everyone, press people are busy people.  And they have a LOT of press kit choices to look at… I had the pleasure of getting in the press room when I worked with Simple Scrapbooks™ magazine, trust me, it can be overwhelming.  The person needs to “get” who you are and what you do at a glance… what can you include that will catch their attention and make them want to learn more?  That is the key to a successful press kit!
  5. Presentation. How you present your press kit is as important as what is in it.  As I said in #4, I’ve been the press person and walked the press room.  Usually they have racks and racks of press kits, some are in folders, some are tied with bows, some are really ornate.  (How creative the kits are depends a lot on the industry.)  So you need SOMETHING on the outside to make someone stop and say, “Cool!  What is this about?”  Maybe it’s a catchy headline, or a captivating image.  I’ve seen press kits in pocket folders, envelopes, even pizza boxes.  I caution you against doing something too big (they may not find a spot for it) or too small (people may not notice it).

Here are some other resources for more nitty-gritty information about Press Kits and Press Releases:

May the press be with you!

~ Tara

P.S.  Want to learn more about the book that prompted the question that prompted the blog?  Click here

The Vote Boat and Branding

While I was in New York last week, I worked and also did some “touristy” stuff that I never have time for when I’m there for the Surtex Show.  While riding the boat back from The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, I saw the craziest thing!  A sailboat with Obama & Biden on the sail… No Wait!  It turned and there was McCain & Palin.  What on earth was going on?

Everyone was talking about it and taking photos, just like me.  What is is for? I assumed it was to remind people to vote so I snapped some photos and thought I’d investigate more when I got home.

This morning I opened the photos and could see the sails more clearly, on them it said,  Yeah!  A website I could check out!  (Click on it and you can too.)  What did I discover?  A company that uses sailboats around many popular ports, including New York, to help companies with branding.  And what a great way to get the attention of thousands of people a day for their services… put both candidates on a boat and you get people talking!

Now, what can we, as artists, take away from this?  Get creative, I say!  What can you do locally or nationally, to get attention to your art or brand?  What are the hot topics that you can leverage to build brand awareness?

I don’t have the answers since I just got back and am catching up on laundry, but you can bet that as the clothes go from the washer to the dryer the cogs in my brain are turning…

Have a creative day!

~  Tara