The MMIAM Journey

A blog about the Master of Management
in International Arts Management program

A Glimpse into Academic Research

The Cultural Brand

Brands are usually defined in terms of the following five characteristics:

  1. perceived quality: the different markets and market segments can get a sense of the quality of a brand even if they have never used or consumed that brand;
  2. name awareness: the larger the percentage of the population that is able to name a brand (with or without assistance), the stronger the brand;
  3. customer loyalty or satisfaction: loyalty can be measured using the number of repeat purchases and the rate of subscription renewal;
  4. association with relevant elements: the markets may, for example, identify the brand with the quality of a museum’s collections;
  5. tangible and intangible assets associated with the brand: the architecture of the Sydney Opera House, for example, is a key element in the market’s perception of the brand; this performing arts centre is recognized worldwide for its unique shape – the building is even used as an emblem by the Australian tourism department.

The higher a brand scores on each of these characteristics, the more it will be considered  strong and the higher its market value will be. In the cultural field, a strong brand is particularly important since a cultural product constitutes a specialized purchase.

It’s important to know that the average consumer only considers five or six brands when making a consumer choice. We call these choices the evoked set. With so many brands on the market, it’s impossible for anyone to remember all of them. So, in any large city with a plethora of theater companies, the average fan will only be able to name four or five if you ask them  to list all the theaters in the city, even if there are 30 or 40. The task of marketing is to ensure that our company’s name is part of the consumer’s overall picture.


François Colbert is MMIAM Codirector, Remi-Marcoux Chair in Arts Management, author of the book Marketing Culture and the Arts published in 15 langages along its five editions.

For a more complete discussion please see:

Colbert et al. 2018. Marketing Culture and the Arts, 5th edition. Montréal: Carmelle and Rémi-Marcoux Chair in Arts Management, HEC Montréal.

Browse our abridged research articles here.