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Archive for the ‘Auctions’ Category

Your Relationship With Your Publicist

In antiques online, Auction Advertising, Auctions, business, selliing antques on February 14, 2012 at 1:48 pm

It’s  Valentine’s Day, a good time to talk about relationships between client and publicist. The best ones are where roles are clearly defined and both sides of the table understand and respect the other’s role.

The spin cycle takes time.

The Spin Cycle Takes Time

When the dialog gets muddled, weird things happen. Clients don’t see immediate results in mass media. Perhaps, they are so busy – particularly in the case of auctioneers mounting monthly sales – they don’t see the results and, worse, don’t read the end-of-month metric reports. That can lead to a breakdown in communication.

We have talked about the two types of media: short lead and long lead media. The short lead media tend to be trade papers, industry blogs, social media. The coverage is immediate and targeted. Long lead media are your consumer magazines, big newspaper, sometimes even broadcast.  When the long leads hit, their impact is huge.

But the waiting can be hard. If it’s difficult for you to see immediate results, you’re not looking closely enough. Publicity grows, slowly at first and then exponentially.  So, if you hire a publicist, be ready to wait.

Case in point.  Last summer I planted a story for a client with a national publication. Nothing happened. Nothing happened. Nothing happened. And then, six months later, in January, the time was right for the story.

By then, the client had grown weary. The daily demands of the auction business consumed the young company. It got to the point they couldn’t see the forest for the trees. They called me around month five of the process and said, “We want to hold off on publicity.”  I advised against it but the client already had his mind made up. So, with kisses all around, we went our separate ways.

Four weeks later, the arts journalist from the national publication called. She was ready to run with the story and was on a deadline. What happened? There was no time to reach out to the ex-client. I had to tell the journalist to call the contact direct. She did. Her name was not recognized. The contact did not take the call. And since I had been asked to “hold off,” was off the case.

The day the story hit, I read it and all of my ex-client’s competitor’s wer named. The only company that went without coverage in that article was the ex-client. Yesterday, I received an email from one of the competitors and – guess what – they included a link to the article.

The ex-client was livid. How could this have happened, they asked when they called.  I explained they had “fired” my firm and then, when I had provided contact information, they had not taken the call.

Moral of the story: When you engage a publicist,

  • Have a clearly defined goal
  • Know the spin cycle takes time
  • Read the monthly metrics reports to know where your name appeared
  • Trust your publicist

The client-publicist relationship is as important as any other relationship you maintain.

 

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New York’s New Auction Houses

In Art business, Auction Advertising, Auctions, business, Chinese art, Cool Exhibitions, Young Collectors on August 15, 2011 at 2:28 pm

The last ten months have seen four neighborhood auctioneers spring up in Manhattan, or just across the 59th Street bridge, in Long Island City. At this rate, NYC will soon become the wholesale auction capital of the United States

Roland Auctions in Greenwich Village

Refreshingly, most are generalists. (Of the two that specialize, Hong Kong Auctions – which has been around for about 5 years – handles only Chinese, particularly paintings.  Gene Shapiro Auctions on the Upper East Side specializes in Russian art, with  successes in American and Continental art.)

Among the wholesale houses, the properties come from estates on Park Avenue, Fifth Avenue and the nearby tri-state area. They run to the types of items rich people collected in the 60s, 70s and 80s. For instance, mid-century modern designer furniture by Hans Wegner, Finn Juhl, Tomi Parzinger and others is being spit out by the truck load. Modern paintings too.

The condition is often excellent and while the provenance must often be discretely handled, almost all the auction houses state the addresses property was taken from.

Because most of these guys run monthly sales, you can’t buy glossy  image laden catalogs, so it is imperative to visit their websites often.  The sites tend towards bare bones, linking to catalogs posted on Live Auctioneers.com. The best way to see what they are selling is to visit the previews.

  • Hutter Auctions is on the West Side in midtown, not far from the Alvin Ailey School of Dance. It’s in a warehouse building, so you can’t peak in the windows. You must take the elevator and poke through a warren of holding rooms. Best buys tend to be traditional furniture, much of it by big name manufacturers.
  • Capo Auctions in Long Island City bills itself as a neighborhood auction houses. It draws from Long Island estates and recently featured weird items from the old Steinway Mansion. I can’t say what their best buys are but it’s easy enough to find out by checking the website and clicking  to prices realized.

Best advice – visit these venues and bid. As of this writing, you are competing mostly with dealers and that makes good odds that you will get what you want at a decent price. Another thing, often the items that don’t sell at auction get posted to 1st Dibs, where their  price increases.