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Publication: Star Early

Publication Date: 01 Dec 2017

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, chief executive of Business and Arts South Africa, 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.

Relationship `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 chief executive Charles Savage. `She is telling the story of her voyage of discovery in financial services. ` – ANA

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