International Art Materials Association

   eNEWS:  May 10, 2017 

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Building Your Business with an Effective Brand Strategy
Article 6 of a Six-Part Series by Ken Banks, CEO, KAB Marketing

Live Up To The Brand, Everyday!

To be able to live up to the brand strategy every day it’s imperative that you develop a plan for you and your organization -- whether they are employees or contractors or vendors.

Often, marketers will work diligently to develop a brand strategy that can really work and resonate with the customer, but then they spend little or no time making sure that everyone in the organization is on board with it. Before you ever communicate one marketing message via advertising or promotion, you must ensure that your organization understands what the brand stands for and how it effects how they do their jobs and the decisions they make. Think about FedEx and the success the company built by “absolutely, positively making sure that your package is delivered overnight.”

Before this theme line ever saw print or broadcast, the company had to make sure that it had the logistics to deliver on the promise—the pilots, the distribution operations, the trucks, the systems all had to be in place and working before they could build the FedEx brand. It’s the same with your business. If you are promising that you’ll have the supplies that your customers and clients need, when they need them. You have to make sure that your inventory and the system to maintain it are in place consistently.

If you are a sole proprietor, you may think this isn’t applicable to your business, but it is. You have to put the priorities and the procedures in place to make sure that YOU live up to the brand every day. Your suppliers need to know your brand promise as well so that they can support you in living up to it as well. And you can’t just say it once and expect that performance will match the promise going forward. Just as an effective marketing campaign must plan for ongoing messages and reinforcement to build awareness and understanding, your internal communication must also reinforce your promises. How many companies are you familiar with that promise “Satisfaction Guaranteed” until you try to return a defective item or one that wasn’t right for your needs. Just as you plan for your marketing efforts with an annual plan so, too, must you plan your internal messages to constantly remind everyone what your brand promise is and how you are going to live up to it every day.

Hopefully, you now see the importance of branding and specifically why having a brand strategy can make the difference in whether you grow your business or struggle to keep up with the competition. Following this process for your company, your products, and yourself can differentiate and resonate and make your brand the first choice of your customers.

See the first 5 articles in this series on the NAMTA Resource Page.

Ken Banks is a retail marketing consultant and a member of the Retail Advertising Hall of Fame. He specializes in helping companies develop effective brand strategies. He is an adjunct professor in graduate marketing studies at Schiller International University. He has won numerous industry awards and recently co-authored the book BrainBranding—Activate the Brain—Stimulate Your Brand with Robyn Winters. You can receive monthly updates on branding by registering to receive Ken’s Blog on his website –


NAMTA's Newest Retail Operations Manual

Business Plan

Your business plan is not a one-time exercise. While the first time that you create your Business Plan will likely be the most intense, re-reading and tweaking it annually is necessary to keep it relevant and useful.Each year there are likely to be changes to the retail landscape: new niches of retail open up; competition moves in and out of your trade area; art trends change. So the art materials retailer who continues to update and use the business plan has the best opportunity to sustain and grow their business.

The best business plan for you is researched and written by you. Sure, there are accountants who can write a business plan for you but that tactic costing you money the author isn’t going to bring the authority and passion you will bring to your Business Plan you’ve done your research and analysis.By having to research the details of your plan, you will have thoughtfully constructed it and understand every number and word. THAT is why your business plan will be an important part of your success and ensure your peers and associates will be seeing you at the NAMTA’s Art Materials World trade show for many years to come. Click here to download your copy right now!

Advocating for the Arts
Read current and past issues of Art Advocacy NEWS

Arts & Belonging
Simply put, belonging is being part of a collective we. It’s about how much we believe we fit in a group or place, and how much that place or group welcomes or includes us.

Since 2015, Community Foundations of Canada's national Vital Signs program has been exploring how the sense of belonging has an extraordinary capacity to transform lives and communities. Their research found that 38% of Canadians don’t feel like they have a stake in their local community. So they asked: How can we strengthen our sense of belonging to each other and to our communities? Read more . . .

Save the NEA
On May 1, Nina Ozlu Tunceli, Executive Director, Arts Action Fund shared another great example of how all of your grassroots arts advocacy efforts of sending thousands of letters, emails, phone calls, personal visits, op-eds, news articles, targeted advertising, and research proved effective.

Nina said Congress has reached a bipartisan agreement on a bill to fund the nation’s federal agencies and programs for the remaining balance of the current FY2017 fiscal year, which ends on September 30, 2017.  None of the nation’s arts and cultural agencies nor programs incurred a budget cut. In fact, many of them received funding increases for this year. She gave special thanks to House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert (R-CA) for initiating a funding increase for many of these cultural programs in the House Interior bill and to Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) for matching the funding increases in the Senate version of the bill. Many thanks to Congressional Arts Caucus co-chairs Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Senate Cultural Caucus co-chairs Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) for keeping member pressure on Congressional leaders to increase funding for these critically important cultural agencies. Nina also thanked o the 350,000 Arts Action Fund members for contacting their Members of Congress, signing our petitions to the White House, and sharing their stories on social media and with traditional media.  Visit the Art Actions Fund page.

Fact of the Week #124

The student develops and organizes ideas from the environment. In art, students rely on their perceptions of the environment, developed through increasing visual awareness and sensitivity to surroundings, memory, imagination, and life experiences, as a source for creating artworks - from

Read all the Facts

By The Numbers

When surveyed after Art Materials World 2017, a whopping 97% of Attendees said they would recommend the show to a friend.

Art Materials World

What Did You Think?

If you attended Art Materials World in Salt Lake City, NAMTA would like to have your testimonial about your experience on the Why They Come to Art Materials World page on, so we can let others in the industry know why they should start planning to come to Dallas in 2018.

Fill out this testimonial form, or just send you thoughts to


SMU’s National Center for Arts Research (NCAR) announced its third annual Arts Vibrancy Index, which ranks more than 900 communities across the country, examining the level of supply, demand, and government support for the arts in each city.

This year, 20% of the communities on the most-vibrant list appear for the first time – a total of eight new communities, including one new state, Alaska. Key movements and new communities featured on the lists include - read more . . .


Thank you to everyone who participated in the post-show surveys.

The following members are winners in the Post-Show Survey Drawing.  Each will receive an Art Advocacy T-shirt and Mug.

Beth Wild
from Carpenter Wild Associates
Rachel Chiverton from Armadillo Art & Craft
Alex Preston from Rupert Gibbon & Spider, Jacquard
Andrew Purdy from CPSA
Shawn Szirbik from Hulls Art Supply & Framing
Jane Drussel from Janes Artifacts.

 Paul John Stormo

Paul Stormo, former owner of Artograph, passed away on May 4th at the age of 80. Mr. Stormo served as a NAMTA Board Director, NAMTA President (1987-88), and received the NAMTA 1993 Hall of Fame Award. He will be remembered for his indomitable, optimistic spirit that inspired us to be more than we are.  Contact Holly at if you'd like more information.

Read Obituary . . .

Member News

During National Volunteer Week last month, Starlight Children’s Foundation and Michaels teamed up to deliver Michaels backpacks that will bring joy and comfort to hospitalized children across the U.S. and Canada. 

Michaels team members across North America assembled the backpacks and filled them with cool arts, crafts, and other supplies to inspire creativity and bring smiles to seriously ill children of all ages. Michaels’ team members delivered a total of 30,000 backpacks to kids at over 380 hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

to Bob Ross on winning a Shorty Award  - Twitch Streamer of the Year. Bob’s afterlife celebrity reached new heights with Twitch.  Read more . . .


Welcome New Members 

The Gel Press Brand represents the discipline of science meeting the discipline of art - offering a superior monoprinting plate that is permanent and reusable.

Walter Products
  is an established wholesaler of scientific products, offering private labeling to dealers.


The NAMTA staff regularly searches the web for articles and stories that may be of interest to our members . .  .


7 Best Practices For Managing Online Reviews Of Your Business

Science Found The 5 Things That Drive Employees To Go Above And Beyond

5 Effective Ways To Boost Your Self-Esteem

3 Easy Ways To Beat Loyalty Program Skepticism

When Small Stores Go Out Of Business, Owners Ask: Now What?

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