What’s Brand Got to do with it?
Art museums typically are thought to be serious institutions. Stalwart supporters of good taste and high society. Steadfast in preserving our precious past. Some might describe them as stuffy, prim, proper or straight laced.
And then there is this from Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts:
Fun, frivolous, bold, daring, edgy and risky.
They took the chance of upsetting Eagle’s Fans along with the part of the population that believes museums shouldn’t be fun frivolous or bold. The Eagles fans probably don’t matter so much since most don’t live around here and probably aren’t high on the donor list. But there are plenty of local supporters who could have been turned off by the irreverence.
And in fact, there were many critical comments from people who thought it was distasteful and disgraceful. Those comments were countered by others who were amused and supported the concept.
The post certainly raised awareness of the museum. It garnered 5.6K likes and 5,834 shares. Compare that to the next best recent post, which had 955 likes and 212 shares.
One might say the marketing team was smart to jump on a high-profile event and take advantage of the attention and interest in the Super Bowl. Maybe and maybe not.
Setting aside the controversy to look at the strategy, the bigger question is how well this post fits in with the museum’s brand. Is this a one-off diversion from their standard party line or an indication of a shift in how they’re presenting the institution? In order for this post to have a far-reaching, long-lasting impact that it could have, it must represent the brand and be a part of a larger plan.
Know Your Brand
All collateral, whether it’s social media, printed brochures, blog posts, e-mailed newsletters or signs on the wall, should represent a business’s brand. And that can only happen if you know your brand and who you want to reach.
The brand isn’t just the logo and visuals, it’s who you are as a company, how you approach business, how you make customers feel. It can be serious, silly, fun, or steadfast. What matters is that you understand who you are and how you want to be perceived. Then, you need to understand who you want to attract and determine how you will convey your brand in a way that will connect with that audience.
As the MFA post indicates, you don’t need to be defined by what’s typically expected in your industry. You can start with that but change based on the audience you want to reach. The MOS seems to be reaching out to a different audience. This could be an opportunity to draw in people who wouldn’t typically think of going to an art museum.
An exercise to define your brand: Make a list of words that describe your brand. Start with 20 and narrow down to ten or less. If possible, include a few people from your team or those who are interested in your company. This exercise forces you to focus and define who you are and who you want to be. It serves as a foundation for the tone of how you present your brand. Do your collateral, blogs, social media, etc., reflect this list?
Twenty-plus years ago, my mother and I visited the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC. On the lobby walls of first floor was an exhibit of contemporary paintings by one Linda Climo, beautifully wrought renditions of the famous portraits of nobility by the old Dutch masters. What made these paintings unusual was Klimo’s substitution of sheep for the nobles. Most regal portraits of ram and ewe, dressed in black-work lace and velvet and brocades and silks. We were highly amused, but the pastoral scenes of boys herding their flocks in the exhibits upstairs put us into hysterics, for we could no longer see those rural sheep as anything else but misrepresented nobles.
March 1, 2018
That’s a lovely image! Great sense of humor.
March 1, 2018