Lucky break – a few weeks back, James McNamara, president of Arts Branding, joined our Google+ breakfast hangout on brand management. A couple of years ago in his former capacity at LaPlaca Cohen, James worked with Suzanne on rebranding the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in anticipation of its transformative expansion. Through interviews with leadership and staff and extensive audience research, both qualitative and quantitative, they embraced three pillars for VMFA’s brand: friendly, accessible, and excellence-driven.
In the Hangout, James was eager for a progress report – Do Suzanne and her team still turn to the resources he helped to craft? Are her colleagues on board with brand strategy? Has her director turned out to be a champion of VMFA’s image of accessibility? On all fronts, yes.
In our exchange, it came through how meaningful an accessible brand can be. It forges a lifeline straight to the visitor. James argues that the first message organizations should get out to their audiences is that they’re welcome. During the conversation, Suzanne realized that a synopsis of the brand should be a part of all new staff orientations.
Coming up on the blog–we’ll share stories about the value of friendly, welcoming, accessible brands. Do you have a story to share? Let us know via the comments, and we’ll invite you to be a guest contributor.