Revitalized cities

Inciting an Urban Renaissance

It’s 10:30 am and I’ve received two sales calls on my private phone, 19 emails from various companies’ drip campaigns and by the end of the day (according to the NY times) I could see close to 5,000 ads and brand messages. As an Art Director and human being, moments like this give me pause.

What’s the best way to stand out amongst this continuously growing crowd? How can we make better, more authentic connections with people who would likely want to take advantage of what our clients have to offer?

Today I want to focus on the power of art. Whether you are breaking ground somewhere or rebranding a region – when culture flows, people (and their pocketbooks) ultimately follow. Something as simple as an evolving mural can reach 1.5 million people.

But there are many ways to tackle artful marketing beyond just paint. Ingredients like nature, food, music, culture and film are well-known, cost-effective catalysts that draw big crowds. Like the High Line in NY, NY. A once abandoned elevated rail track in a less than desirable neighborhood that has now been reclaimed as an elegant natural green space. It draws an estimated 4 million people annually to the region, and has spurred substantial ROI resulting in the city taking in $700 million profit in real estate taxes. Amanda Burden, New York’s chief city planner said in her TED talk, “A city has to take the long view (because) public spaces have power.”

The High Line in New York City

You can find examples everywhere. Such as Theaster Gates, the humble potter who reshaped and revived the entire south side of Chicago and founded multiple themed cultural centers throughout the neighborhood, such as The Listing /house, The Archive, The Black Cinema House and The Arts Bank – all out of Blight buildings.  He understands how instrumental culture is in igniting change and states, “I believe that beauty is a basic service.”

Or the way JanSport connects to their ideal demographic (hipsters) through music.

Art cultivates community by drawing kindred spirits to a place where they can share perspectives and experiences. It’s an opportunity to depart from email alerts, computer screens, ads, demanding workplaces and daily responsibilities. Authentic art stands out among all the rest because it’s an invitation to both escape and connect. Art is especially effective because it’s a conversation, rather than a sales pitch.

In this shareable economy art is way for brands to connect with people in a deeper more intrinsic way. And when you really think about it, that’s everything your brand needs to stand out.

 

[Haley Munro is Haley Munro is an art director currently wiggling her way into the Home Owners Association in order to, “High Line” her own community.]

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Craig Fuller cfuller@greenhaus.com
Paul Whitbeck pwhitbeck@greenhaus.com

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