In the arts and culture industry, we have seen some great branding examples like the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) or Whitney museum. But why is it that we don’t see many small arts businesses and organizations establishing and working towards building their brand? There seems to be a misconception that brands are only to be established by bigger organizations. 

This article expresses why it’s important for small/medium arts and culture businesses to prioritize branding. Good branding practice is especially critical now that the pandemic creates an uncertain future for arts and culture. 

The most important part of running a business is understanding the reason behind the work you do. Building a brand gives a voice and visuals to be able to communicate that vision. 

Branding is your voice

Your brand represents who you are and what you believe as an organization or an individual. It goes beyond just creating a logo; it’s the sum of the company’s values, personality, and customer experience strategy. 

Your brand essence needs to come through in any and all interactions between you and your customers. That could be on social media, email communication, market deliverables and/or presentations, to name a few. It’s important to make sure that you have one voice and one message to communicate your vision across multiple channels. 

Branding is inspiration 

Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why, says there are two ways of influencing people’s behavior and that’s by manipulating them or inspiring them. Having a strong brand allows you to inspire your customer to believe in your cause and stand with you. 

Let’s take Nike as an example. Their belief in social justice and equality is one of the key reasons they have a huge recurring following as their customers have the same values. Having a strong brand identity helps you connect with your customer at an emotional level and makes them feel good when they participate or make a purchase. 

Branding helps you stand out 

The arts are becoming more and more competitive with fewer ways to gain people’s attention. It’s critical to find a way to stand out from the crowd. With the pandemic, it’s safe to say that 90% of engagement with arts and culture is taking place online. That means you are now competing globally. How do you stand out from millions of similar businesses around the world?

The truth is people have very short attention spans and it’s on you to find ways to engage your audience in a way that is delightful and valuable to them. Building your brand identity helps you create awareness and gain credibility in the market. 

It’s equally vital that your marketing and social communication should be consistent. Your marketing/communication should leave a long-lasting impression on your audience. Think of it this way, people love to share brands and experiences they have had, but how will they do that if they can’t remember what it was?

Branding helps build a community and build trust 

A brand is not just the face of a company. It encompasses the entire customer experience. Ask yourself whether the promise you are making is actually being delivered in the product. There are no shortcuts – the customer is very quick to spot gaps in [communication/services?] and move on to another company that fulfills their needs. If you build a brand based on transparency and you make sure to deliver on what you say, you are already taking the right steps to building a loyal customer base. 

Wrapping up

To sum up, a strong brand stems from a great idea. It helps a company align and commit to a vision and ultimately to the delivery of your product/service. Branding is what makes a memorable impression on your customer and provides clarity on what to expect. It’s the way you build a relationship with customers. Lastly, it helps you stand out from your competitors and highlight your uniqueness. 

Subscribe to our newsletter to learn more about branding for arts and culture. If you are looking to get started on your branding, contact us on [email protected] for a free consultation. Our design team will be happy to assist you.