Global Corporate Art Collections as Reputation-Makers

August 01, 2015

Global Corporate Art Collections as Reputation-Makers

Can art shape your reputation? I had not thought about it but after reading this piece in the Financial Times, it absolutely makes sense. According to the article, institutions are increasingly selecting art not just as decoration but as reputation-maker and creativity-inspirer.  The article talks about companies…”that see art not just as a decorative necessity but also an opportunity to stimulate the thoughts of their employees, support artists through purchases of their work and, perhaps most importantly, to project their desired image to clients, staff and visitors.”

Companies, especially financial services ones, have extraordinary art collections and sponsor global art fairs like Frieze and Art Basel where they have the opportunity to invite clients and prospects as well as their own executives. Whereas golf events used to be the hot ticket to die for, a visit to a MoMA show or Tate Modern as a guest of a company sponsoring the exhibition can be exhilarating.

What surprised me most was that when companies buy art which today is most often contemporary, they are also sending a message to their stakeholders that they are cutting edge, innovative, creative, international. It does reflect kindly on the company as a lover of art and expression and supporter of artists. It signals a different kind of corporate responsibility in its support of the arts, artists and patronage. The recession no doubt curbed many companies enthusiasm and pocketbooks for expanding their art collections but since the recession eased, companies have been back at it again filling their lobbies or private gardens with their newest purchases. I should add that many of these companies also make these collections available to the public whether in the public space of their buildings or at community events they host. The idea of sharing art adds to a company’s public image-making and reputation for generosity.

The article also described a new book, Global Corporate Collections, published by Deutsche Standards, which showcases these incredible collections. It would be lovely to see.

I have to admit being enamored of some of the art I have seen in corporate headquarters when I visit various companies. It elevates everyone and everything around it. As a reputation-builder, not a bad thing. I kind of like it.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of corporate and CEO reputations.

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