Brand Inspiration from Image and Legacy

Brand Inspiration from Image and Legacy

Arts Branding has had the pleasure of working with the Aspen Music Festival and School for over a year now culminating in the launch of the AMFS’s new brand strategy and visual identity at the start of their latest season on July 1. We engaged London-based, international design director, Jessica...
MCC Theater: Discovery Before Decisions

MCC Theater: Discovery Before Decisions

 A Permanent Home for Provocative Theater. Arts Branding had the pleasure of working with MCC Theater as it made plans to build its first permanent theater complex. MCC Theater stands out in the crowded nonprofit, off-Broadway theater market of New York City. Its challenging, edgy works make audiences sit-at-attention, rapt by...
Increasing Attendance and Support: Branding, Does it Still Matter?

Increasing Attendance and Support: Branding, Does it Still Matter?

Later in February I’ll be speaking as part of a panel at the California Association of Museums Conference on Friday, February 17, 2012. The conference runs from Wed-Fri, Feb 15-17 in Berkeley, California. Moderator and Panelists Joan G. Cumming, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications at the Autry National Center...
Redux: Make Your Brand Messages Come Alive

Redux: Make Your Brand Messages Come Alive

This quote has been the bane of my writing existence and the monkey on my back since high school. It and the time available are almost always at odds. But, it’s something we should all aspire to especially now as digital marketing is so prevalent. Some of you asked me...
Make Your Brand Messages Come Alive

Make Your Brand Messages Come Alive

Welcome. Isn’t that the first message we want people to know about our organizations—both as an offering and as the feeling we want them to have? Some of you have pointed out that for a brand consultant I seem to spent a lot of time focusing on brand identities and...
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ROI for Branding in the Arts

ROI for Branding in the Arts

I was presenting my company’s credentials recently and afterwards the potential client, a performing arts administrator, asked, “what’s the return on investment for branding? Part of me was incredulous that he would ask this. Weren’t our amazing services and sparkling case studies alone enough to warrant the investment? Another part of me was glad he...
Branding the Arts of Tomorrow

Branding the Arts of Tomorrow

As the annual American Association of Museums Conference gets under way in Houston  I thought it might be fun to riff off of their theme for this year’s conference: The Museum of Tomorrow. Having grown up in southern California, when I hear “tomorrow” I always think of Disneyland’s Tomorrowland and its promise of a different...
Who's your organization's brand champion?

Who’s your organization’s brand champion?

When you saw this essay’s title and saw the accompanying image, did you immediately know what I meant by brand champion? I chose Steve Jobs because he is probably the most recognized brand champion in the world. Could anyone embody the Apple brand more or better than him? As I head off to the American...
Strategic Design in Action

Strategic Design in Action

A while back I posted an essay on Name changes: the real process. I based it on the merger of the Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Dance Company with Dance Theater Workshop, a groundbreaking event in the performing arts and dance world. No one had done anything like this in the U.S., although London...
Branding vs. Marketing: In case you missed that lecture

Branding vs. Marketing: In case you missed that lecture

When we started these essays we thought branding was pretty much a well-understood, accepted concept within the cultural arts field. But then we got this response to one of our new business letters sent to a marketing director regarding our brand strategy consulting services: “At this time, we focus our energy on creating provocative and...
Thinking like Visitors in Repositioning the Nelson-Atkins Museum

Thinking like Visitors in Repositioning the Nelson-Atkins Museum

The New York Times Museums Special Section article, “In a Bigger Pond, and Looking to Make Ripples” is about Julian Zugazagoitia, the new director of the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, and his hope to broaden the Museum’s appeal. He’s started a conversation series called, “Art Tasting with Julian” and says he has been “using...
Understanding audiences for better branding

Understanding audiences for better branding

In general , consultants are collegial, but they don’t usually comment on each other’s work. It’s that whole competitive thing. But this exception is worth making because I’m an alumnus of the consulting firm that initiated this research study, respect their work, was involved in the inception of the study in its early iterations—and most...
Branding on Board

Branding on Board

While listening to panelists at the Crain’s Arts and Culture Breakfast titled Board Games: How to Build and Keep a Strong Board, I was struck by what was not mentioned as pivotal in building strong boards: functional expertise. But first what was mentioned. Panelists included Alan Fishman, chairman, Brooklyn Academy of Music; George Steel, general...
Cultural Diplomacy: Arts Brands Abroad

Cultural Diplomacy: Arts Brands Abroad

Earlier this month I attended New York City’s Alliance for the Arts presentation of The Arts Forum at The New York Times on Cultural Diplomacy: Engaging a Changing World. Panelists included Maura M. Pally, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Professional and Cultural Exchanges at the U.S. State Department’s Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau; Margaret C. Ayers,...
Arts or/are Entertainment?

Arts or/are Entertainment?

In the back of my mind I recall Philippe de Montebello’s impassioned speech some years ago on “The Changing Landscape of Museums.” In it he said, “ . . . it is by clearly differentiating ourselves [museums] from all manner of entertainment that we maintain our integrity, that we remain not only useful but essential....
Carnegie Hall: presenter or educator?

Carnegie Hall: presenter or educator?

I read about Carnegie Hall’s expansion of its in-person and online educational programs and the physical spaces needed to provide them and immediately thought: Is Carnegie Hall still a performing arts center with an education arm (Weill Music Institute) or is it becoming even more of an educational institution with performance venues? This may be...
Name changes: the real process

Name changes: the real process

Recently I attended an introductory meeting for the combination of two arts organizations (more on that trend later) and as part of it they introduced the combined organization’s new name. I was reminded what a difficult branding task naming is. It’s rare that entirely new names are launched in the cultural arts. More often we...