There’s a tension that arises so frequently in museums that it seems natural and almost unavoidable: the curatorial team and the marketing (communications) team struggle to get along. Both groups are intimately involved with the customer but what they do with the customer and the nature of that interaction, however, are very different. This can lead to conflict between the two teams that are theoretically working toward the same goal.
In a recent workshop, the following discussion with a curator, in response to my setup that highly functional teams actively work to achieve shared goals, exposed a work dynamic with substantial consequences for organizational effectiveness.
In working with mission-driven institutions for more than a decade, we've learned the power of a small set of core values firsthand. While we've seen this brought to life with our clients in the nonprofit and cultural sector, the reality is that core values are for everyone. We were able to test this principle recently running our workshop for a docuseries depicting the struggles of small business entrepreneurs in NYC. The series “Hustle,” hosted by entrepreneur John Henry and produced by Alicia Keys and Marcus Samuelsson, is available for viewing from Viceland.
In Friday’s New York Times, David Brooks invokes both marketing and branding as the opener for a column on the Michael Cohen hearings. It is certainly appropriate to invoke these terms in relation to the current President, who is a kind of brand savant, but what troubles me about Mr. Brooks’ use of branding is the unfortunate tendency to equate branding with pretense, to define it as a kind of falsehood that you prepare and wear to cover up the truth.
In this follow-up to "Why rebrand?" I’d like to highlight some reasons that do not pass muster. I have seen all of these serve as the primary reason for a rebrand. If you happen to see them, please take it as a warning that the question of “Why” needs closer examination.
Why rebrand? Thoughts prepared for the Chicago Museum Exhibitors Group on the topic of Rethink, Rebrand: Why, When and How Museums Reinvent Themselves
This article is written with museum examples in mind, but the principles apply much more broadly. Experience shows us that the sequence of these three questions is important. Only initiate a rebrand with a solid why. Then explore when and how.
At Communicating The Museum Brussels, Raquel Meseguer, who hails from the theatre world, gave a seemingly unassuming presentation that was actually electrifying and a revelation: Dreams of Resting Spaces. Should we not find in museums—especially art museums—a place of respite, rejuvenation, mystery, contemplation, and inspiration?
Artists don’t usually think of themselves as brands. I’m sure the idea chafes. “I am an artist” is an assertion against branding and its requisite responsiveness to customer demand. But despite all protestations to the contrary, artists are brands.