US marketing consultant, Trevor O’Donnell, argues that too often in the arts we fail to distinguish between ‘brands’ and ‘brand management tools’. Trevor is a straight talking marketing consultant who has developed marketing/sales strategies for many arts organisations including Disney, Disney Theatrical Productions, Cameron Mackintosh, Cirque du Soleil and the Music Center of Los Angeles.
The place where arts professionals get in trouble when discussing brands is the difference between the abstract, external bundle - Brand with a capital B – and the various tools we use to shape that brand. Unfortunately, the word ‘brand’ has been used historically to refer not only big picture Brands, but to a whole host of brand management tools so it’s no wonder that so many people are confused. For a while there, back in the middle of the last century, the words ‘brand’ and ‘logo’ were virtually interchangeable so it’s not uncommon to find older arts pros who can’t quite get past the brand/logo association.