Art for Image’s Sake in Corporate Australia


When developing strategies to build a strong brand image, most company execs don’t think “I know, we’ll hang some paintings.” Yes, such adornments can beautify an office space and add a bit of cultural charm. But embracing art as a genuine brand strategy? Here are a few Australian companies that are and why art has become integral to their corporate ‘big picture’.

Deutsche Bank
Not an overly Australian name first up, but the Downunder version of Deutsche Bank has been supporting local contemporary art for over a decade. They recently became the first ever Education partner of the Museum Of Contemporary Art Australia and have sponsored the Primavera exhibition for young artists since 2004. They’re also currently a distinguished partner of the 20th Biennale, one of numerous arts activities the bank eagerly pursues alongside their very own Deutsche Bank Collection. From a bank viewpoint, the idea is to make art more accessible to average Australians. From a corporate viewpoint the spinoff benefit is a nice arty image that reflects well on Deutsche Bank as a modern, culturally enthusiastic institution.

Macquarie Group
Next up is a more intrinsically Australian corporation with a grand plan to build an art collection reflecting their intrinsically Australian brand identity: thoughtful, contemporary, cutting edge yet approachable. This artistic personification has now become one of the most respected art compilations in Australia. Consequently art is now very much the ink in the Macquarie brand signature with art tours and discussions a regular part of client and staff functions. As far as Macquarie is concerned, art adds value for shareholders by reinforcing their brand image.

Allens Arthur Robinson
Prominent law firm Allens Arthur Robinson is another company stating the case for Australian art as part of their corporate creed. They support local artists by purchasing and displaying work in their offices both locally and internationally; a collection now boasting over 1500 works. As an interesting quirk Allens Arthur Robinson art buyers often acquire works from young artists and follow their career with further works representing each artist’s ongoing creative expression. They also provide an artistic internship program for post-graduate students and an online art journal to generate healthy creative debate.

BHP Billiton
Taking a more global approach to their artistic expression is international mining mega-company BHP Billiton. Ten percent of the art festooned about their new Melbourne headquarters is by international artists. But what does mining have to do with art, you may well ask. Well, nothing, the two could hardly be more disparate. Yet from BHP Billiton’s perspective art gives them an opportunity to reflect the global diversity of the organisation and to challenge viewers with a collection signifying their ‘human, global, visionary and intelligent’ brand.

Our final exhibit is accounting giant Deloitte. Not surprising to find purveyors of a traditionally dry product spicing things up with a creative dabble or two. In fact Deloitte are pretty major players in the corporate art game with rotating office exhibitions welcoming around 6000 visitors every week. The dynamic of these exhibitions changes at least twice a year with paintings, sculptures, photography and even video exhibits handpicked from galleries in Sydney and Melbourne.

First published by Victoria Biggs on LinkedIn on Sept 12th, 2016

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