Every creative business exists as a function of time. Trends, technology, demand, fashion and economic realities are always changing and evolving. Your business model may, in fact, exist only because of such a new reality. Umm, the Internet is really only fifteen years old and its universality far less than that. Let's not talk about digital photography, C.A.D. and other technological advances that have revolutionized the way most creative businesses produce their work.
However, please do not mistake the world we live in and the new new thing (i.e., Twitter) for what is necessary for the long-term success of your business. The strength of your art and your brand as well as the way you manage your clients will matter far more than if you are a social media master or have the most advanced technology out there. You only need to look at Zappos.com or The Flip to understand what I am saying. In case you don't know, Flip was sold earlier this year to Cisco for $590 million and Zappos to Amazon last week for $900 million. At first blush, both the Flip and Zappos look fresh and new to the market. They're not. Zappos sells shoes online, just like hundreds of other sites (including Amazon). The Flip's technology isn't all that much better than most cell phone video cameras. The reason these businesses work is because of their fundamentals. They know who they are (and who they are not) and they deliver that message across all areas of their businesses -- particularly in marketing and customer service. They have created Tribes of customers that each become brand ambassadors instead of merely happy customers. With brand ambassadors instead of happy customers, growth becomes exponential.
For those of you who think I am too far afield from creative business, I ask only this: How much time have you spent working on your blog in the last month as compared to honing your brand statement?Have you looked to see if and how your message is being delivered in all aspects of your business? Even more important, have you looked for how you might be contradicting yourself to your customer (i.e., are you a planner or designer, decorator or interior designer, graphic designer or stationer)? You can't create brand ambassadors unless clients know what they are cheering for. Yes, it starts with your art, but it ends with clients understanding and embodying your intention behind the art. That intention is your brand and should pervade every aspect of your creative business.