Finding Our Niche - An Example of Customer Focus
The video is of a recent project we completed featuring our unique oneLINE style by artist Jonathan Applegate (co-owner of Future Drawn). From START to END the central image of a monastery and barrel is completed without the line crossing or intersecting, and that is how Future Drawn defines oneLINE style. The project was to design a beer label for a Crowler at a local Denver brewery. We embossed the Braille spelling out the brewery name up the sides of the can. We also embossed the oneLINE of a Trappist Monastery with a barrel for brewing, dark glasses and a guide cane to be appreciated by both sighted and non-sighted beer lovers alike. The story below will explain why.
Whether you are a large or small business, finding your niche is the best thing you can do for yourself as a business owner. Below is a short story detailing how focus helped us satisfy our customers beyond our biggest hopes.
The Importance of Focus
I spent 20 years working as a global product manager in corporate America. I am a scientist by training and an entrepreneur in spirit. About two and a half years ago I started Future Drawn with Jonathan Applegate, and I began to see striking differences between owning your own business and working for a large organization. One big difference is that in corporate America when you begin a new position, in general, you have a built in customer base, product line and value proposition. When you start a business from scratch you need to discover all of these on your own. If you are too broad, your customers will not know what you do. If you are too specific, there is fear you will alienate potential customers. Don’t be fearful!
One common principle to success stood out to me as I waded through creating my marketing and business strategies for Future Drawn; focus. Focus your message. Focus on your core competency. Focus on your customers and their needs.
Finding a perfect example of Focus
Jonathan has a unique oneLINE style, which was the impetus for us beginning Future Drawn, LLC. Our logo is made using his oneLINE style, which has always been the center of our identity. It is clean, honest, minimal, unique and visually describes what we do; create hand made pieces of remarkable art. You can see below that this is a single line drawing of a hand holding a pencil. Follow the line from wrist top to bottom and discover that the line does not cross or intersect.
Almost every person who has seen a couple of Jonathan’s oneLINE drawings has had positive feedback. They understand that his ability to map out a picture in a single line without it crossing or intersecting is an amazing feat.
So we decided to narrow our focus to the oneLINE style from his many other styles, and we developed a couple ways to communicate how special the oneLINEs are to two targeted audiences; real estate agents & brokers and small businesses. We joined the Denver Metro Association of Realtors and a leads group through the Denver Chamber of Commerce for networking opportunities.
Our core competency and differentiator had been identified in the oneLINE focus. Our focus on oneLINES specifically helped us identify key customers. We were then naturally able to decide what to offer, at what price point and how to speak about it.
Our message within these regular group meetings began to resonate. Realtors & Brokers began to see how the oneLINE style could be a perfect closing gift that would set them apart from the competition and increase client retention beyond the dismal 20% average for the industry. Business owners within Leads Group 7 also began to see the full capability of our company through our targeted emphasis on the oneLINE style.
We received a commission from a realtor in my leads group to complete a oneLINE of a brewery that she was involved with as a closing gift - right up our focused oneLINE alley so to speak. Turns out the brewery is literally located in an alley about a block and a half from our home studio. Imagine our surprise!
The project become even more special and challenging when we learned that one of the new owners (Tom) of the brewery was blind. We wanted to make sure Tom could enjoy the gift along with everyone else so we decided to make a oneLINE that could be “seen” by Tom through touch.
We partnered with PostNet Downtown Denver to have a vinyl decal cut to fit a 20” X 28” glass frame. Jonathan then painstakingly mounted it externally to the glass and placed a signed white piece of paper inside the frame to outline the black vinyl. The result was perfect! Tom could appreciate the “picture” of his brewery for the first time without actually seeing it. It was a powerful experience! You can watch the video of the original drawing being made, the preparation of the vinyl decal, the mounting of the decal to glass, and Tom “viewing” the art with his hands at www.futuredrawn.com/videos
oneLINE Art Resonates
The experience with the art as well as a two hour long meeting with Ken (the other owner of the brewery) gave us a little more time to understand more about Ken and Tom’s plans for the existing brewery (de Steeg) and the new label (Blind Faith Brewing). Deeper understanding of our full capability between Jonathan’s artistic talent and my marketing skills led Ken and Tom to ask us to design their new Crowler label in the oneLINE style where the image would somehow be raised so it could be appreciated by both sighted and non-sighted beer lovers alike. We accepted the challenge!
In the end we were able to place Braille along the sides of the can running vertically. The Braille says, “Blind Faith Brewing”, and to our knowledge, this label is the first to be blind accessible in any way on a beer can. We know for sure it is the first to have a raised image that can be followed from START to END by touch or sight.
Above is the full image of the Crowler label. You can stop by the brewery and order a Crowler to be filled with your favorite beer on tap and placed into a sealed Crowler can for enjoyment later at de Steeg Brewery 4342 Tennyson Street Denver, CO 80212 (entrance in the alley)
Focus is everything!
We could have never guessed that a oneLINE real estate closing gift could lead to a oneLINE design of a Crowler label for a local Denver brewery, but it happened in part to focus. In this example our first customer, the real estate agent from my leads group introduced us to our second customer, the new owners of the brewery. Our art, message and capabilities resonated so well we were given another project. This level of customer satisfaction is what we strive for in every piece of art Jonathan creates. We want our customers to enjoy the art fully!
We are taking the oneLINE style to new levels of complexity and scale. Below is Union Station Denver in oneLINE. Jonathan has completed two original pieces of this image; oneLINE pen on paper 18” X 24” and paint on canvas 24” X 36”. You can watch the video of Jonathan creating the painted version on canvas at www.futuredrawn.com