Do museums have to have a brand? If, what would it ideally be like? As businesses are becoming more and more art-like, at the same time, arts are becoming more business-like as well. Status quo is that nationally owned art institutions are competing about the same visitors with commercial entertainment centers – the risk is that the cynicism that surrounds all business culture is extended to art.
Museums are not the ones one would first think of when discussing about branding, but it’s somehow relatively obvious when thinking about it: many modern art museums have their own recognizable logos, slogans and kiosks where one can purchase f.ex. badges, pencils and notepads with logos – the goods which are easily connected with arts. If the branding is thought well through, one may find logos from places which are not in that obvious relationship with arts, like on wraps of a sugar cube in museum’s cafeteria, or on custom designed parking signs next to the road to museum. Also, iconic buildings are usually perceived as a part of a museum’s brand.
This topic rose in to my mind during my recent trip to Los Angeles. When visiting a city like LA, many would think tourist attractions similar to Disney Land or Universal Studios, but I had developed one urgent need for my trip and that was to visit LACMA, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I think the main reason behind this want lies in social media. I had seen beautiful, simplistic pictures of minimalists visiting these architecturally monumental museum surroundings and so, I wanted to belong one of those people too.
Julian Stallabrass, in his article of The Branding of The Museum, is talking about Tate Modern in London, UK, but I would say one can generalize his rules to many internationally well-known museums. Branding is essentially a positive instrument. It may be edgy, or ‘alternative’, but it must be simple, solid and positive. In his article, is a quote from Margot A. Wallace, in which she offers the conventional business wisdom:
“Good branding speaks about the mission and vision to all people that a museum touches –– in a voice that is distinctive and consistent. A consistent look and attitude help people feel familiar with the museum, and comfortable in giving their loyalty.”
Wallace puts well the same thought what I was wondering during my trip, why I wanted to visit LACMA so badly? Quote reminds me of similar Kevin Keller’s theory about his Brand Equity Model’s Resonance. I had created a psychological bond with the perception of a museum, and so, created behavioral loyalty towards it, while had an active engagement to have a feeling of belonging to some larger community – the feeling was so powerful that I’ve no doubt about its correctness.
Have anyone of you ever experienced that kind of odd loyalty towards some brand you’ve never been in contact with before? What are your thoughts about my experience, can you relate?
Source: EBSCOhost Julian Stallabrass, The Branding of The Museum