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Three Ways Murals Paint the Way for Retailers to Transform the Consumer Experience

How experiential art can be more effective than traditional OOH campaigns like billboards.

Great marketing has always been about creativity — cutting through the noise and connecting with consumers requires developing an advertising strategy that is both captivating and authentic. So how can a retailer tap into current culture and inspire engagement? The short answer: through art. 

Muros conducted a survey of approximately 1,000 people across the country to better understand how art-driven advertising resonates with consumers. Here are three ways murals (and experiential art in general) provide a unique and impactful pathway for retailers to think outside the box and transform the consumer experience.

1. Foster Engagement

Bold art not only stands out, it also generates a buzz and offers connection. A mural instantly draws the bystander into the experience. As the art takes shape, passersby chat with the artist, take photos and share images in the digital world: 41% of survey respondents said they have taken a photo of a mural and shared it on social media. Interest in the artist and their work also translates into direct engagement with the brand. After seeing a mural in their community, 32% of respondents said they have researched the associated brand’s values, mission or stance on a political issue.

Retailers can create this engagement via unique in-store experiences such as murals or pieces of art that tailor brand awareness to each community. Recently, our team partnered with Oakley to launch art installations with local artists in six geographically and culturally diverse cities, to celebrate its partnership with New York Mets superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor. To make that genuine local connection, we enlisted artists Ali Gonzalez, Tony Castillo, Chris Bringham, Isaac Caruso and Mwanel Pierre-Louis, who not only created works of art befitting their home communities but also became genuine micro-influencers for the brand. As a result, Oakley differentiated awareness for its brand with unique in-store art experiences while supporting local artists and directly engaging with several communities.   

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2. Outshine Traditional Advertising (a.k.a. Billboards)

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of survey respondents said they are more likely to purchase from a brand that engages in creative marketing efforts as opposed to billboards or traditional advertising. Murals are not only eye-catching (two-thirds of survey respondents said a local mural would attract their attention more than a billboard), but they also deliver momentum and authenticity.

By creating a mural or art experience, a company has a momentum-building campaign at its fingertips. The artistic process is a shared experience that starts in person and grows in the digital universe — both organically as bystanders post images on social media and via a company’s strategic marketing efforts across multiple platforms. For example, a brand can take a video of the art in action (or a vector image of the artwork) and weave it into other aspects of a broader advertising campaign.

Watching an artist’s vision come to life is a lot cooler than driving past a billboard. That cool factor is rooted in authenticity. For consumers, particularly Gen Zers and millennials who care about what’s going on behind a company’s logo, authenticity matters. Often companies reach for endorsements from big-name celebrities to connect with consumers. However, according to the survey, 74% percent of respondents indicated that a mural or visual piece created by an artist is “more authentic” than a celebrity endorsing a product. Local artists are part of the community. They’re relatable and their work is more meaningful given their local ties.

3. Garner Local Support (and Buzz)

“Keep it Local” isn’t just a tagline. Almost 86% of survey respondents said they’re more likely to purchase from a brand that supports its local community. Understanding a community’s culture and selecting respected artists that resonate with that community is important. Artistically, any brand might translate very differently in Los Angeles, New York, Scottsdale or New Orleans, and knowing those cultural nuances matters.

Matching an artist’s style and demographic appeal with the brand’s voice and messaging is also key to delivering that desired sense of authenticity and local connection. For example, when rowing machine company Hydrow partnered with local Austin artist Helena Martin, they created a custom QR code-activated mural in the heart of downtown Austin. The mural, which was painted alongside the iconic storefront of Allen’s Boots, immediately involved community members with Hydrow’s philanthropic partner, Water.org. Onlookers could scan the QR code to trigger a donation to Water.org while simultaneously being entered into a drawing for a custom pair of locally beloved Allen’s Boots. This trifecta of local business, good cause and hometown artist translated into a strong sense of community, which resulted in growing affinity for the brand.

Bottom line: Murals and art installations can open the door to deep connections with consumers. When done well — with attention to a particular community’s local culture — art provides a splashy, shareable, relatable experience and a momentum-building springboard for brand awareness.

Dave Seidler is the CEO and Co-founder of Muros, a global art activation agency bringing together artists with brands to help them creatively and authentically engage their audiences and communities. Seidler’s 18 years of experience includes serving as Chief Revenue Officer of the martech startup Strike Social, the Inc. 5000 #17 fastest-growing businesses in the U.S. At Strike Social Seidler partnered with some of the largest global brands and agencies in the world, building relationships with clients such as Netflix, Disney, P&G, WPP, Microsoft, Samsung, Visa and Honda.

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