How art has innovated traditional branding

Brand art has innovated the way a business brands itself. Instead of random pictures filling a space on the wall, companies are using art as a powerful way to convey their brand message.
Phil Davis, CEO of Dubai-based brand art firm Propriartary
By Kay Marham
Tue 19 Sep 2017 11:59 AM

Branding is the most powerful way to communicate who you are as a company, what you stand for and what you do. And, the art you choose for your wall has the ability to draw immediate attention in any room.

Combine the two concepts and you have ‘brand art’ – an innovation in branding that businesses are using to influence customer experience and perception.

“In the old days, companies used to invest a lot of money in creating their branding, letterheads, etc., but ignored the biggest opportunity they have to communicate their brand message and influence their customers – they would simply ignore their office walls,” says Phil Davis, CEO of Dubai-based brand art firm ‘Propriartary,’ creators of the brand art concept.

Explaining the crucial role that brand art plays, he continues: “There is something about an original piece of art that shows quality in thinking, and if the art contains a message about the business or the brand, it affects how your clients perceive you.”

The ROI on brand art

Davis explains: “When we first started the business, companies liked the idea of incorporating their logo cleverly into a piece of art – this makes clients and visitors to the office look at it and appreciate the message that the logo stands for.

Other businesses prefer a more subtle message that represents them, such as their location or their brand colours turned into a piece of art with their logo painted into the corner, where you would normally expect to see an artist’s signature.

It sends the message to clients visiting the office that they commissioned this because they care about details, want to give clients a nice experience of dealing with them and take pride in their business and what they do.”

The brand message within the art

“I am originally from the UK, but having lived here for a number of years, I genuinely feel very patriotic towards the UAE. I feel real warmth and thankfulness that the UAE is giving me much more than my home country could. I am part of a race of people that feel like a race of ‘Emirati expats,’ as this country makes us feel so welcome and gives us a sense of belonging to the UAE. This is a rare and wonderful thing and is a testament to the country’s leadership ethos and its people.

So many of expat business people also love this country and feel a sense of belonging, so it’s no surprise to me that one of our most popular series of brand art is the series based on the country’s signature colours of red, green, black and white.

Using these colours as part of an original piece of art on the walls in the reception area, meeting room or offices is a way that expat start-up and SME owners can overtly convey their pride and gratitude at being able to do business in this country. This is a message that gives a comfort level to new customers that are based here and very definitely gives them a strong idea of what the company stands for and values. This is the power that well thought-out art can have for businesses.”

CSR & staff happiness

In offices that have a staff from a mix of countries and cultures, the company owner may commission a piece of art that represents the multi-national nature of the people that work there. In this case, the message for the staff is that they are appreciated and that the company wants them to feel happy and comfortable while at work.

Many of our customers run a competition, or ask their staff to decide what art they would like to have on their office walls, to make them happy at work.

Again, the government’s promotion of a culture of happiness makes a lot of sense and this art gives people a sense of belonging and inclusion. This is such a powerful sentiment to achieve with your workforce and the effect is astonishing.

When clients visit these offices and see the message conveyed in the art, they also instantly see that the company really cares about its CSR responsibilities. And this makes the business more attractive to deal with.”

Location

Location is important on another level, which is that the UAE is within a 3-hour flight away from of the huge markets of Asia and Africa and six hours away from the European markets, says Davis. “The art on the walls that overseas visitors, suppliers and clients see has the power to make a massive statement about your brand and your values as a company.

The beauty of this is that we are not talking about needing huge prints or paintings to exert the influence of your brand, but the fact that an original piece of art, commissioned specifically for that business, can do more to enhance the brand image and goodwill than almost any other kind of marketing collateral can achieve. And it is proprietary – the company owns it and it is has been created specifically for them and is literally the biggest brand influence opportunity for any business.”

CASE STUDY: Cander Group

“We are proud of the start-up spirit of two guys working hard for our clients, coming in early and always the last to leave the building - and the art conveys this beautifully.”

Sam Corcoran, co-founder of start-up financial and technology recruitment firm, Cander Group, was keen to commission a piece of art that fitted into their growth-stage budgets, but represented their working ethos and commitment to serving their clients with excellence. Corcoran explains:

“With setting up in business, our office means a lot to us, so our brand art is a bit like equivalent of the ‘About Us’ section on our website, but proudly displayed on our wall for our clients to see.

When we meet a new client at our office for the first time, we want them to get a sense of our brand values and us as professionals in this space. Our office is based in Mazaya Business Avenue in Dubai’s JLT and after our consultation with Phil Davis, we decided on the concept of a view of the local skyline in this area, so our building was easy to identify.

We really wanted to show a scene of the location late in the evening with our office lights still on, while everyone else had gone home. We are proud of the start-up spirit of two guys working hard for our clients, coming in early and always the last to leave the building - and the art conveys this beautifully. We always get asked if the lights in the picture are actually our office – and they are, so it gives a really positive message about our work ethic.

The colours of our logo

The colours of our painting are the same as the company logo – blue and grey tones, with a little white. This reinforces that working hard is part of our brand and when visitors comment on the lights in the picture, or tell us to make sure we make time to have a good evening, it gives us a sense of pride in ourselves.

Our company story is told through our art

The art we commissioned says a lot about us in our start-up phase, but in the years to come, our future art will continue to tell the story of the moments in our business journey and work well as a collection.

CASE STUDY: Cityscape

“We believe that innovation is truly the cog that keeps a company churning. Using original artwork enables us to establish a strong brand identity, connect with a wider audience and illustrates our dedication to our brand and our visitors.”

Propriartary designed and produced the original art used in the branding for Dubai’s flagship real estate event, Cityscape Global. Cityscape Marketing Director, Ian O’Malley explains the thinking behind using brand art for their series of shows.

“All too often we see the same tedious stock images used for various brands and campaigns and this does not reflect our aim of positioning Cityscape as a premier brand and setting ourselves apart.

Our objective as a company is to invest in every element of the brand from the creative, which we refresh every year and change every three years, right through to the onsite experience of our visitors and exhibitors.

We believe that innovation is truly the cog that keeps a company churning. It’s the reason that it’s one of our core brand values, along with unity, passion and integrity, and as such we believe it is essential that we continually strive to develop our brand and ensure that we retain our position as the leading event brand for real estate investment in emerging markets globally.

Using original artwork enables us to establish a strong brand identity, connect with a wider audience and illustrates our dedication to our brand, our visitors and our exhibitors.”

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.