Art in the Workplace: Targeting Corporate America


From logos to taglines, branding is everything in Corporate America. In order to help establish and promote a specific corporate identity, more and more companies are turning to marketing gurus and PR wizards to help with everything from choosing the perfect logo to writing press releases. Just as indicative of a company’s visual aesthetic is the space in which its employees spend their nine-to-five, as evidenced by the many corporations that are now hiring art consultants to infuse their workplaces with inspiration and beauty.
Choosing just the right pieces of art for a specific business—the ones that reflect a company’s attitude and energy—is an art unto itself. Original paintings, collages, sculptures, glass works, photography, prints, posters and custom frames can all “say” different and specific things about a space. Most importantly, the right artwork can enhance and bring to the forefront all the amazing qualities of a business for its clients and employees to see (and enjoy) each time they walk through the company’s doors.
Designers, gallery owners and artists know the immense impact art can have on a space, but in order to capturethe attention of corporate clients, you must be able to convey the positive impact that art can have on a business—and its bottom line. Some key points:

Happy Employees
The average work day is eight hours or longer—which is more time than the average person sleeps each night! Sometimes it feels as if we live in our offices… so shouldn’t we be comfortable while we’re there? Studies have proven that an aesthetically pleasing environment improves productivity and creativity and elevates mood. (Some studies have shown that it can even motivate employees to dress better!) Working in the midst of inspiring artwork can generate better ideas, improve time management and create a happier work atmosphere.

Impressed Clients
When meeting with clients, it’s important to impress. Artwork can make clients feel more comfortable and stimulate conversation, not to mention make a corporation memorable and more appealing to work with when compared to the competition. Art can play a major role in how people perceive a company, and a great first impression can make a huge impact!

Enhanced Credibility
Corporations can use artwork to boast a bit. Businesses and individuals alike should be proud of their accomplishments and strengths. Diplomas, awards, past projects, architectural designs, portfolio pieces and portraits are all fantastic ways to display the corporation’s collective talents and achievements. By showcasing their successes, the credibility of the company is enhanced.

so how do you find
corporate clients?

Do your homework.
When reaching out to a specific corporation, always do your research. Find out if there are new offices being built. If so, who is filling the space? Who is the architect or interior designer? Are any businesses moving from one part of town to another? Who in the city is remodeling or renovating? Also, know everything you can about the company: What is its business? What is its mission statement? What it the image the company wants to portray to its clients? Not only does knowing the answers to these questions give you conversational ammunition, but it significantly increases the likelihood of the company choosing you as its artwork provider over someone else. A corporation will always go with the person who “gets it,” someone with a shared vision whom the decision-makers can trust without reservation.

Put yourself out there.
If a company is in the market for artwork, make it easy for the key players to find you by including a corporate art consulting section on your Website. Use this space to highlight recent projects and  be sure to include quotes from satisfied client testimonials.
When reaching out to a corporation, be sure not to use an overwhelming amount of industry jargon that could confuse (or insult) someone who didn’t major in art history. Make things clear and easy to understand. Be certain to clarify how the process works and the estimated time frame a specific project will take.
Also, create your own opportunities by hosting your own events such as an art “trunk show” or a juried art competition with corporate sponsors. Find exciting ways to bring potential business partners, especially interior designers, into your space and provide fun, memorable experiences that are sure to leave them wanting more.

Stay up-to-date
on social media.
Never underestimate the power of social networking sites. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and individual blogs are all great ways to stay connected with current clients and find new clients. Use these sites to promote upcoming events, showcase new pieces and even answer questions or give advice (which is a fantastic way to build credibility in the eyes of the public).
Social networking sites are also a perfect place for honing in on your target audience: You can find designers, business owners and art lovers in your city with a simple search. Utilize tweets, posts and updates in a personable, friendly and professional way. Ask questions and get opinions; entice your contacts, friends and followers to respond. Translate your online relationships into real-world one by calling the people you “meet” over social networking sites and arranging to meet in person. You can even host your own luncheon or after-work event and invite them all for a bit of networking.

Stay focused
and be positive.
When developing business relationships, stay focused. Call, call and call again. Look up local banks, hospitals and corporations and ask for the facilities manager or, if they have one on staff, the in-house interior designer. Call interior design firms directly and ask about their current projects and offer ways in which you might be able to work together. Keep your eyes and ears open—sometimes business can be right under your nose. Do you see any new construction in your area? Find out who will be handling the interior design and give that person a call. Always follow up on any leads and call to ask for an appointment. Stay positive! The worst thing anyone can say is “no.”
Show these corporations you understand the importance of branding by making sure all of the visual elements of your own brand are eye-catching, informative and cohesive; your brochures, letterhead, business cards and thank you notes should all coordinate.

Get involved.
Participate in local arts and business events; rent a booth at business trades shows and home and garden shows and get to know the designers who work at them. Join your city’s Chamber of Commerce, attend networking events and lend art to high-end commercial furniture dealer showrooms in exchange for referrals. Get your image and message out to the public.
Partner with local charities by donating a portion of your sales or a piece of work to give back, meet new contacts and increase brand awareness. Let everyone know what you do. You never know where new business will turn up.
Stay focused, persistent and positive. Treat your clients well. Courtesy, kindness, hard work and understanding will lead to happy clients. And a happy client will refer you to others! I can feel the inspiration spreading already… ABN

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