7 ways to humanise your brand in the arts

How do you create branding and marketing that’s human? We ask the experts.
7 ways to humanise your brand in the arts

Photo by Christopher Campbell on Unsplash.


We talk a lot about branding or even re-branding in the arts, an important process that carefully constructs your public image. But the risk with any new branding and marketing approach is getting it right and not alienating broader communities and the general public. 

In other words, it’s about creating a brand that’s human. How do we do it?

Humanising brands is at the centre of Melhuish & Co, a branding and marketing company with deep knowledge of the arts. Director Julian Melhuish said in his experience working with arts organisations, he has noticed a tendency to ‘speak to the converted’ in marketing and branding campaigns.

‘I saw a train station poster for an arts event in Sydney recently. It was so esoteric as a piece of communication. The picture and the words were only talking to the intelligentsia or people who were able to decode what it all meant. It was inaccessible for the public, who wouldn’t even know what the event is.’ 

‘Humanising is also about keeping it straight. If it requires decoding – which people in the arts can do – the public often won’t know what you’re talking about.’

Here are Melhuish’s top seven ways to overcome this tendency and humanise your brand.

Honesty first

Be honest, we all make mistakes. Admitting them is endearing. Making fun of yourself shows you’re well...human. Brands can struggle with this, the evidence may be overwhelming, but they still stick to the ‘official story’. 

Keep it real

Conversely, don’t lecture. Twitter, Facebook etc are the places for conversations with customers, but it needs real people (with real names) to represent the brand.

Be generous 

Be a generous brand. We like generous friends. Try to help people, they’ll thank you for it. Think about purpose rather than just product. Share stuff, give stuff away – it will all come back to you. 


Brands can become media companies, capturing attention by being entertaining or useful. 

Trust yourself

Be confident. Brands sometimes behave nervously, too worried what people (usually the boss) may think. A brand can’t live like that. Humans are naturally intuitive, it’s OK to trust your intuition rather than rely on research. 

Don’t deceive

Authenticity is the new duplicity. If your brand has something to hide, you will be found out. Brands that only care about profit, will be found out. The only brands that will be valued in the future, are friendly and honest ones – see, just like real humans. Be who you really are. 


This point is last for a reason. It’s dear to our hearts, and often overlooked. Support brave creative work that builds emotional connections. Emotional work beats the rational product points. 

Visit melhuishco.com to find out more.

Brooke Boland

Monday 2 July, 2018

About the author

Brooke Boland is a freelance writer based on the South Coast of NSW. She has a PhD in literature from the University of NSW. You can find her on Instagram @southcoastwriter.