Global Art Brands and Trends at #ctm12 in NYC

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I don’t know how often you can see heads and senior curators of The Met, Guggenheim, MoMA, Louvre Paris and Abu Dhabi, The British Museum and even the newly open Mathaf (a real gem in the modern art museums family) together on one stage, but at CTM this is the norm.

But you may not have even heard of CTM. What is CTM? Communicating the Museum is a 2-day international conference connecting the art world. It takes place annually in a different city across the world and is a major event for anyone involved in curating, branding, communicating, marketing and advertising museums and art organisations.

This year the lucky city to host the conference is New York, which is also the home city of Social Media Week. On 28 and 29 June I will follow CTM direct from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. For live updates, check the hashtag #ctm12. In case you want to be part of it and you can’t fly to NYC, the conference is also broadcasted online for a very reasonable fee.

No matter which option you choose, here is a quick summary of what you can expect from CTM12:

Museums are increasingly becoming global brands.
In response, the focus of this year’s CTM is on how to maintain a global art brand, the challenges of being a world museum and the future trends. Social media is of course a big topic and here are two particularly relevant keynotes from day one:

Jane Wentworth Associates will talk about the balance between building a brand globally and staying relevant in the local space, and will touch on how smaller organisations with less resourced, physical weight can use social and digital media for bigger global outreach.

Trudel | MacPherson and Sen Associates will present their 2011 landmark study How Strong is Your Social Net? The study probes 1601 museums and arts organisations across the US about their use of social and digital media and the results they are getting. It also reveals some larger, long-term technology issues of our connected future. And while you can read the report of the study here, I encourage you to join the conference (at the Met or online), as the presenters have prepared a brief questionnaire to be filled in during their stage time and analysed live. And this to me sounds not only as a well animated interactive session, but also as a free benchmarking of your organisation to others in the art world.

The second day becomes interesting not only for museums and art organisations, but also for luxury brands as we get to see Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Wolff Olins together on stage.
The talk is around creative partnerships between arts and luxury brands. And while they all have something of high value to say, a particular favourite of mine is the Wolff Olins presentation on the parallels between managing a museum brand and a luxury brand, the overlapping audience profile, the need for designing a carefully thought-through consumer experience, and the constant tension in balancing artistic integrity and commercial appeal.

The day then continues with Technology and Innovation. I mean Art, Technology and Innovation.
In this part we will see James Davis from the Google Art Project talking about how do you go from 17 to 155 collections on the Google Art platform in a year. Guibert Englebienne, Co-Founder & CTO of Globant, Argentina will then enter into the role of an innovation geneticist and share how to insert the innovation gene into your company’s DNA.

The last keynote speaker is the 24 year-old, dreamer, believer, thinker, artist (and more) Justus Bruns. An industrial designer by trade he stays behind the Times Square Art Square project which aims to transform this beautiful public space with a heavily commercial flavour into the world’s largest outdoor gallery by replacing ads with art. Yes, I also sighed dreamingly when I heard it.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is just a fraction of what will happen at CTM12 because what I have described here are just a few of the key presentations scheduled for the mornings of 28 and 29 June. The afternoons will be full of even more interesting learning sessions. Topics ranging from digital strategy to community building to fundraising will be offered “a la carte”. In fact the whole conference reminds me of a French buffet – a confusing abundance of exquisite, rich food, stylishly arranged to seduce you. And anything you try is amazingly tasty. I guess this is a touch we can credit to the organisers – AGENDA, Paris.

For Twitter updates follow @agendaparis or me @ellie_zheleva – I’ll be tweeting the most relevant social media topics, but most importantly I’ll try to catch a few VIPs for interviews behind the stage.

Elina Zheleva is working for the European Aviation Safety Agency in Cologne. She just finished an EMBA in Marketing and Communications. Interested in a million things other than airplanes like tech startups, art festivals and alternative museums.

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