the art of brand strategy

The Art of Brand Building: Drawing Lessons from the Canvas

The Art of Brand Building: Drawing Lessons from the Canvas

In the world of business, art is often regarded as a distant realm — a playground for the free-spirited and the creative, an antithesis to the rigorous, data-driven universe of business.

Upon closer examination, it becomes clear that these seemingly disparate worlds are more intertwined than we imagine.

As an artist invests time and talent into their artwork, they carefully plan and coordinate their use of colors, form, and texture. Similarly, marketers devote themselves to crafting an image that encapsulates the values, mission, and offerings of an organization, aiming to communicate these aspects effectively to their customers. In both realms, creators must understand their medium deeply and consider how their work will be perceived by their audience.

Art and business are, in essence, two sides of the same pencil — both require their practitioners to observe, to understand, to innovate, and to communicate. The artist paints a picture or sculpts a form that captures their interpretation of the world, hoping it resonates with their audience.

A business crafts a marketing message that encapsulates its values and offerings, effectively communicating these aspects to its consumers.

Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.

- Pablo Picasso

Breaking the Norms: A Case Study of Avis Car Rental

Avis disrupted the market norms by acknowledging its secondary position while promising an unmatched commitment to service. The results were astounding, with the campaign resonating strongly with customers.

The Avis Car Rental campaign, “We’re number two. We try harder.” (Pictured below)

Avis Is 2nd Ad

A well-crafted symbol can carry layers of meaning and evoke a range of responses from the audience.

In art, this can be achieved through the use of color, composition, and form, among other elements. In branding, this depth of meaning can be conveyed through careful choice of logo design, color scheme, typography, and other brand elements.

Color is a power which directly influences the soul.

- Wassily Kandinsky

The choice of color, design, and typeface in a logo can evoke specific emotions and associations that align with the brand’s identity and values.

Minimalist logos known the world over

The sleek, simple design of Apple’s minimalist silver logo, introduced in the 2000s, is a case in point. It communicates the brand’s commitment to innovation, user-friendly technology, and premium quality.


The silver color, often associated with sophistication and modernity, further reinforces this message.


McDonald’s Golden Arches, for instance, are a globally recognized symbol of fast, affordable, and reliable food.


Nike’s “Swoosh” represents not just a sportswear brand, but a symbol of determination, achievement, and innovation.

Observation and Understanding: Coca-Cola’s Success

Observation is fundamental in both art and marketing. Artists spend countless hours observing their subjects, understanding their contours, their shadows, the way they reflect light. Similarly, a business must understand its target market — their needs, preferences, desires.

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.

- Edgar Degas

Coca Cola’s “It’s The Real Thing” campaign in the 70s, for example. By observing and understanding its audience’s desire for authenticity and genuine experience, Coca-Cola crafted a campaign that resonated with their unspoken desires.

Creativity lies at the heart of both art and marketing. Artists employ their imagination to bring unique perspectives and fresh insights to their work.

To create a work of art is to create the world.

- Wassily Kandinsky

Each campaign presents an opportunity to shape the consumers’ perception of their ‘brand world.’

The Transformative Power of Creativity: Marlboro’s Brand Revolution

The Marlboro Man campaign is a testament to the transformative power of creativity in shaping perception.

The Marlbord Man 1956

Before the campaign, filtered cigarettes were largely viewed as feminine. By introducing the rugged, masculine Marlboro Man, the brand successfully redefined the image of filtered cigarettes, demonstrating how creativity could reshape a market.

Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.

- Paul Klee

This is what marketing aims to achieve — not mere replication but revealing and communicating deeper truths.

Successful Practices: MTV and Absolut Vodka

In the 80s and 90s, MTV used video artistry and symbolism to become synonymous with youth culture. They used music videos and their logo to reflect the vibrant, rebellious spirit of youth culture. The MTV brand became a symbol of counterculture and a beacon of youth rebellion.

Absolut Vodka’s print ads in the 80s were an art form in themselves. The brand consistently featured the silhouette of the Absolut Vodka bottle, ingeniously incorporating it into different creative contexts. Through their ‘Absolut Warhol’ campaign, they collaborated with high-profile artists like Andy Warhol, thus solidifying the brand’s association with creativity and culture.

Absolut Haring

The processes inherent in art — observation, imagination, and the purposeful use of symbols — have powerful applications in the realm of marketing. They allow brands to connect with their audience on a deeper, more emotional level.

Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.

- Andy Warhol

Observe your market, innovate with your strategies, and communicate your brand’s essence through powerful symbols. Your brand is your canvas, and you have the power to create something that doesn’t just sell a product or service, but tells a story, provokes emotion, and leaves a lasting impression.

Like a captivating piece of art, a well-crafted brand can stir deep emotions and leave a lasting impression, transforming it from just another name in the market to an entity that resonates and lives in the hearts of its consumers.

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