Academic journal article IUP Journal of Brand Management

Artist as Brand Portfolio Manager: A Strategic Brand Management Framing of the Artist

Academic journal article IUP Journal of Brand Management

Artist as Brand Portfolio Manager: A Strategic Brand Management Framing of the Artist

Article excerpt


The alignment of brand portfolio strategy with art and the artist has several practical implications for artists, curators, managers and other actors involved in the process of creating and leveraging art in markets and society. First, it can enable a much more expansive go-to-market framework for the artist. Second, it may be helpful to curators, gallery owners and other actors in the creative value chain, by viewing the issue of art and art management in a more expansive way.

Research by Schroeder (2005) indicated that visual artists could contribute to the understanding and development of brands and brand-related theories. Schroeder argued that some pop-artists like Andy Warhol both leveraged and built their brand in their effort to comment upon popular culture:

Warhol provides a stunning example of artist as brand-he was extremely articulate about his ambition to become famous-and his work reflectively comments on brands and consumer culture. Warhol's contributions to branding are many, and he remains a hot brand almost 20 years after his untimely death.

According to Kapferer (2001), luxury brands should stay close to being considered as art, i.e., esoteric art. The brand portfolio strategy is very transparent for some global luxury brands such as illy, GUCCI, Bugatti, Lamborghini and others. The alignment between art and brands can increase brand relevance, create synergies and contribute to further overall development (Aaker, 2011). A typical example of this type of collaboration is the illy art collection together with the young artist Dasha Zaichanka. In this case, the relatively young and promising artist is built through the illy brand:

The illy Art Collection, the famous collection of art objects for daily use, is enhanced by a new artist-designed can. The signature is that of a young artist, Daria 'Dasha' Zaichanka: the winner of the special project developed by illy in conjunction with the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, a contest that saw the participation of over a hundred students. The ten works by the competition finalists were exhibited at Vienna Contemporary Art, the important contemporary art show which this year took place from 24 to 27 September and hosted ninety-nine galleries from twenty-five countries. (illy, 2015).

This paper outlines the opportunity for dynamic brand portfolio strategies together with and in collaboration with artists, aimed at expanding and nurturing the predominant business strategy. It is suggested that a brand building perspective should be gradually replaced by a leverage-focused brand portfolio framework. The artist's contribution to brand portfolio strategy is discussed and nurtured throughout the text. The paper explores different ways and possibilities for the artist to involve in the brand portfolio strategy, as master brand, as extended brand and as other strategic possibilities. Both brand building and leveraging perspectives are considered herein.

Brand Portfolio Patterns

Different artists use very different brand portfolio patterns to deliver their brand promise. However, three broad perspectives on the issue emerge from the cases studied- cobranding, leverage, and synergy-based brand portfolio strategy.

Jeff Koons used at least four established co-branding strategies in his eclectic poststructural art effort, such as reach-awareness co-branding, values-endorsement cobranding, ingredient co-branding and complementary competence co-branding.

Consider Jeff Koons' celebrated sculpture-Michael Jackson and Bubbles (1988) (Refer Figure 1)-a porcelain and gilt confection depicting the late pop-legend with his chimpanzee. In this art work, Koons uses a sub-culture category association with kitsch (i.e., porcelain figurines) as a metaphor for embedding the superficial brand identity of the King of Pop and Bubbles. Secondly, Koons creates reach and capitalizes heavily on the brand awareness of Michael Jackson and his iconic qualities within the pop-industry at the time. …

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