May 4, 2020

Connecting Street Art With Out-of-Home Media Strategies

Large-scale public murals are inherently cool—at any time, in any place. Their scale and creativity represent expression in its loudest form, carrying meaning as a sense of pride for activated communities. In today’s social climate, they’re more impactful than ever.

High-visibility public art is an effective medium for brands to convey messaging at the community level while large gatherings and person-to-contact remain restricted.

Diversify Your Marketing Mix

Circumstance of the day has pushed brand marketing online, expediting a shift that's been decades in the making. As the low-hanging fruit of social calendars and email newsletters are cranked into overdrive, many brands are challenged by a lack of content diversity. With marketing more visual-driven than ever, the limitations of home office content production has them scrambling to stand out without appearing forced or insensitive.

From brainstorm sketches to installation, public art offers a number of compelling angles for original content. Hand-drawn or painted artwork, video timelapses and behind-the-scenes visuals are not only more interesting than uniform brand photography, but each brings a sense of raw hands-on effort that builds brand affinity.

The original artwork itself can also be repurposed in print and digital formats for distribution as part of a wider content marketing strategy.

Activate It

Large-format out-of-home is often thought of in static terms. While it can be a challenge to put mural art in motion, building a dynamic multimedia conversation around a piece creates just as much, if not more social gravity by packaging its intent for audiences not within eyeshot or visiting distance.

This can be achieved while adhering to social distancing guidelines with clever digital tie-ins like AR-enabled elements and QR codes that reveal exclusive content. Participatory art, too, expands a campaign's audience and can be accomplished with no-touch digital submissions.

When social limitations are inevitably eased, PR events, block parties and photoshoot collaborations are a few tried-and-true in-person tactics that extend the reach of public art projects.

Location, Location, Location

Impressions are often the standard KPI of mural campaign efficacy. It's not marketing if no one sees it, after all. As such, consistent foot traffic is a must for any installation—with bonus points awarded if that traffic lands mostly in a targeted demographic. Alas, people flow can be hard to predict, especially amid a pandemic. A healthy combination of data insight, local partner input and on-site scouting assures a location that meets the needs of all project stakeholders.

Social Shareability

User-generated-content is another huge benefit to well-executed brand artwork. Few things are more photo-worthy than an unexpected mural in one's community. This organic attention is another valuable piece of the authenticity puzzle and serves as a good grassroots barometer of a project's impact and overall success.

As long as a piece is finding its way online naturally, a brand can deploy its own social share campaigns or sweepstakes with a safe expectation of high engagement and community interest.

5 Things to Keep in Mind When Starting a Mural Project.

1. Make the Message Mean Something
This isn't the time for a sales pitch. Lean into the temporary nature of public art to make a relevant statement.

2. Choose Your Location Wisely
Conduct community-level research in your chosen market to ensure your mural gets seen by the right people.

3. The Artist is Just as Important as the Art
Your local artist is likely just as compelling as the visual itself, bringing a second layer to the story with invaluable authenticity.

4. Be Flexible with Brand Standards 
Artists create infinitely more impactful work unbound by picky visual branding restrictions. Let art be art.

5. It's Not a Big Print Ad
It shouldn't be immediately identifiable as marketing. Arrest with a stunning visual, then worry about how they take action. 

Community Connection

All over the world, the home-bound public is suffering from a severe lack of interpersonal connection. The resulting emotional vacuum has contributed to a groundswell of support for collective efforts big and small. Thoughtful public art, even when executed as brand marketing, almost always carries these sentiments.

The medium carries the positive attributes of both traditional out-of-home media and true off-the-cuff street art, while avoiding their major drawbacks. Where billboards are easily ignored as visual noise, murals jump out at anyone with a clear line of sight. And, where street art has undeniably illicit roots, good brand-forward installations are always produced with the community in mind to preserve authenticity, foster meaning and, of course, confirm legality. 

Impactful brand art takes it one step further, involving local talent in as much of the project as possible. This ensures an authentic point of view and adds to the artistic integrity of a piece as a remedy to advertising ick that modern consumers are programmed to tune out. The right artist can also expand the reach of a piece by promoting it to their own audience, deepening the work's genuine local roots.

The format is a particularly effective community-level marketing tactic when approached with these variables in mind, especially when considering all production and consumption can be done at safe distances and in small groups.

We Can Help.

Let's bring your big idea to life. Concept to execution, we can help develop any stage of a public art campaign.

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