The Brag

Creative Sydney: Wednesday June 3

In Arts, Creative Sydney on June 8, 2009 at 3:29 pm

Finding Your Fans
Wednesday June 3, 6-7.30pm

Everyone with a creative drive knows how exciting it is to have a great idea, and equally how frustrating it is when nobody else wants to hear about it.

An appropriately full house turned up to hear nine of Sydney’s successful creatives share their experiences with finding fan bases and building communities around creative ventures. The approaches presented were many and varied, proving that there is no single magic formula to ultimate creative success.

Some highlights of the talk:

Jean-Claude Abouchar (The Grand Social) explained his approach to building a strong industry community and consumer following for The Grand Social, an Australian-New Zealand online marketplace for local fashion designers. One of The Grand Social’s most exciting initiatives has been the Pop Up Store, that gives customers an exclusive offline opportunity to see and “get a feel” for the clothes in real life. Abouchar stressed the importance of exposing Australia’s own talent to Australia’s own community as well as overseas.

Virginia Hyam, the executive producer of The Studio at the Sydney Opera House talked about finding a program for an audience and finding an audience for a program, and linking the two processes. She is the brain behind planning and expanding The Studio’s exposure to community press and radio over the last five years as a way of finding new and relevant audiences for The Studio program.

Particularly entertaining was university student and popular YouTube vlogger, Natalie Tran who showed one of her hilarious self-directed and acted clips and talked about her popular online presence (she is the 55th most watched vlogger of all time on YouTube). She insisted that in real life she isn’t really very cool and spends about 15-20 hours a week making videos and replying to comments. She joked about the money that her success has brought her, “ it gets me a train ride to uni – and a doughnut”. Unlike other YouTube sensations such as lonelygirl15, her approach to finding an online audience wasn’t planned at all, just a classic case of “right time, right place”, and she reckons that if she did exactly the same thing today it would be a completely different story.

Adam Ferrier (Naked Communications) then posed this intriguing question: What product would best reach an audience?
1. A remote control for your remote control
2. An online shopping mall
3. A padded condom
4. A magazine for vampires
A hands-up survey produced mixed responses (including giggles) from the audience. Ferrier’s main point, nevertheless, was that creatives should throw strategised marketing and publicity campaigns out the window, and instead generate word of mouth with a relevant, original product and an understanding of the relevant industry and buyer.

Radical? Maybe. Effective? Apparently. Entertaining? Definitely.

Almira Pizovic (Picaholic), Tim Brady (Freshly Baked Gallery), Madeleine Boyd (Stupid Krap), Tim Burrows (Umbrella) and Kate Bezar (Dumbo feather, pass it on) also contributed to the discussion.

[Posted by Roz Helper]

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