Premium Journalist
3 minute read
30 Nov 2017
6:08 pm

Arts the perfect partner to help sell a business


This is according to Michelle Constant who said companies of all sizes are seeing meaningful returns from their association with visual and performing artists.

Picture: iStock

Private sector companies and marketers have started realising that partnering with the arts community can help businesses in seeing meaningful returns in tough economic times.

This is according to Michelle Constant, CEO of Business and Arts South Africa (BASA), who said companies of all sizes are seeing meaningful returns from their association with visual and performing artists, musicians, DJs, and crafters.

“As the costs of mainstream sponsorships increase, corporates are starting to seek out more creative, inclusive ways of sponsoring for mutual benefit,” said Constant.

“For many companies, an arts partnership ticks all the boxes. It’s comparatively inexpensive, has extensive reach across demographics, particularly through social media, and can easily be integrated into a company’s social investment programme. It also helps organisations to breed stronger cultural intelligence.”

Constant has issued a call to members of the private and public sectors, at all levels, to engage with artists to help them tell their organisations’ stories and reach out to the communities they serve or wish to reach.

“Artists, musicians, poets, actors, and DJs are able to tell your stories with passion, empathy, and energy,” she said.

“They tell the story in a language that is understood and heard by diverse communities. With these people on your side, having them help you do business and partnering with you in an equitable relationship, you can really get into the headspace of the people you are trying to reach and communicate in a way that they can relate to.”

It is said that one company that has successfully adopted this approach is EasyEquities, a share investment platform that aims to democratise share ownership by making it cheap and easy for all South Africans to buy stocks. The company hired an actor/playwright as its brand manager to focus on storytelling as a means of selling the brand.

“We hired a performance artist to manage the EasyEquities brand not because she knew anything about financial services, but because she has a story to tell,” said the company’s CEO Charles Savage.

“She is telling the story of her voyage of discovery in financial services, sharing what it’s like to be an actor who knew nothing about buying shares and now she’s a rock star.

“She stood on stage at the 2017 Money Expo and spoke from a position of authority about investing in equities and ETFs alongside people who’ve been in the industry for decades.”

In three years, EasyEquities has built up a customer base of 65,000 people, the vast majority of whom never imagined they would ever own shares.

“More than 90% of our clients are first-time investors, ranging in age from nine to 90 years old. Many of them have never heard of dividend yield or value investing. However, they recognise the brands they consume every day and they love to hear stories of how the EasyEquities brand translates into experiences for other people. So it made sense for us to employ a storyteller rather than a technical investor to address our target audience in a language they understand,” Savage concluded.

– African News Agency (ANA)