Your Brand in a Friendly Face

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.

A photo of a worse-for-the-wear but nonetheless sincere welcome mat

Like the welcome mat at my house, a brand is worth more than a shiny image. First and foremost, it's the case you make to your visitors that you're there for them.


4 thoughts on “Your Brand in a Friendly Face

  1. Pingback: A Whiff of Brand in the Tasting Room | Talking About Talking

  2. Pingback: Case Study: Brand Integration at the Asian Art Museum | Talking About Talking

  3. It’s interesting to consider whether “welcome” is actually as good as a first message should be for a public institution. “Welcome” from the institution still says “this is OUR place, and we have chosen to be delighted to let YOU in”. We the owners are welcoming you the visitor, where terms of access are still with the organisation rather than the visitor. Instead, how about a message which says “you’re home”, or even better has the visitor thinking “this is MY place”?

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