Arts Nonprofits, Cultural Branding Principles and the Social Media Revolution


Author/Creator ORCID



Type of Work



MA in Arts Administration

Citation of Original Publication


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Social media is an integral element to our day-to-day lives and has forever changed how we communicate, socialize, and consume content. Societal trends have proven that social media is ideal for reaching masses of people instantaneously. However, this formidable communication tool has been systematically underutilized by arts nonprofits. The nature of this uniquely twenty-first century form of communication debunks well-established marketing models. To achieve maximum engagement with audience members through social media platforms, arts nonprofits should move away from established marketing models and embrace cultural branding principles. Cultural branding is a form of marketing that harnesses meaningful issues or current tensions to create significant consumer-brand relevance. These issues when framed in the context of history and modern trends, inherently make the brand more authentic to the consumer and may create a sustained subconscious and emotional connection. Arts nonprofits have an ideal organizational model for implementing cultural branding principles, specifically regarding social media. Arts nonprofits are governed by a mission that guides every decision made by the organization. The mission of an arts nonprofit is often grounded in an issue pertinent to contemporary society. Using cultural branding principles will allow arts nonprofits to participate with more relevance in the dialogue on social media, potentially leading to increased followers across all sectors, higher attendance numbers and consequently operational sustainability. Arts nonprofits face significant operational hurdles in implementing sustainable social media strategies based on cultural branding principles. Determining issues to target, avoiding politicization of the organization and content development are extremely challenging.