Friday, September 29, 2006

The Art of Branding

There is a huge and passionate arts community in Sydney. And a new initiative by a couple of art collectors has enabled businesses to part with a measly $2,000 for an active involvement in it.

The project is called Signature of Sydney. 450 companies have invested $2,000 each to create the project and put up $150k in prize money.

The task: "Create a new, contemporary icon of Sydney and capture it's real spirit - with it's people, architecture, nature and all the modern businesses that fill this city with life."

Each piece of artwork has to feature the 450 brand names or logo's. Commercially oriented, yes. But with $150,000 up for grabs, there was a strong number of high calibre entries.

Read the article in the Sydney Morning Herald

From a branding sense, for $2k it's a bargain. Everyone in the arts community who's involved in this project will probably have a nice little warm spot in their arty heart for the brands that participated.

Of the 450 brands, guess how many FMCG brands there were?

Two. Huggies and Weet Bix.


This got me thinking about how brands could use this concept. The driver might be where design or colour is a big part of the purchase decision. It might be a way to show you're coooler or more in tune with grass roots than your competitor. Or it could be a good thing to demonstrate premium values, rather than yell the fact to consumers.

Brands like Kleenex Facial Tissues.
Coke or Pepsi
Any half decent wine brand.
Qantas or Virgin Blue.
Gloria Jeans or Starbucks

It could be anything really. Just pick a brand related theme.

Why doesn't a brand start a competition, open to all artists in Australia, where artists integrate the brand into a work of art?

At the end select 12 winners. Every month for a year, a winning (branded) artwork features across a range of media - Avant Cards, Style mags, Metrolites outside museums, art galleries, trendy cafes etc.

Look for ways the artist can get recognised in the arts community. All of the sudden, the brand becomes relevant to everyone involved and potential consumers start to get emotionally engaged.

Starts to paint your brand in pretty special light too.

I reckon you could do it properly, including media, for about $200-250k, and it would be a great way to broaden and strengthen the impact of your brand in the marketplace.

Even this Ken Done piece starts having meaning when you put it in the context of say, the need for sunscreen, or anti-nausea tablets.

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