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Marketing

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Wartime Marketing

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Wells Fargo Marketing Button

National Museum of American History

Museums and Marketing

Smithsonian Magazine

The Smithsonian Institution has a number of advisory groups. These museum boards and commissions, which include scholars and other interested private citizens, offer advice on programs, and budget and planning, and play a role in the ongoing evaluation of directors.

One of the key advisory boards to the Regents and the Secretary is the Smithsonian Institution Council. It is made up principally of people from the academic world, including Nobelists, artists, critics, museum directors, distinguished professors, media experts, philosophers and writers. The Council was created to review and debate topics embracing the entire Institution, including all of its units and interrelationships. Since I became Secretary, I have asked for Council review of three issues affecting the whole Institution. This column concerns Council advice on corporate partnerships.

As many of you will recall, I indicated at the beginning of my term that resources are a central problem for the Smithsonian Institution in this era. I predicted limitations on the growth of federal funding for new programs and the consequent need to increase revenues from other sources, one important one being corporate support.

In the past three years, corporate funding has been an important source of additional revenues for our educational efforts in research, exhibitions and national outreach. We're grateful for that help. Unlike in the past, however, corporations now ask more from us than simple acknowledgment of support. For instance, in return for a sponsor's giving to the Smithsonian a percentage of its product sales, or funding an activity or exhibition, the sponsor may ask to use the Institution logo in corporate advertising, identifying the company as "a proud supporter of the Smithsonian." There are many other examples, not the least of which have been the corporate presentations that accompany the "America's Smithsonian" exhibition.

Two of our sponsors made it clear at the Council meeting that the value of the Smithsonian to corporations lies in pairing our identity (or "brand") with that of a corporation ("co-branding"). In corporate eyes, our well-known identity bespeaks "American," "integrity," "familiarity," "family," "history," "technology," "art" and similar concepts. Given the new emphasis on marketing in corporate support, I sought the Smithsonian Council's perspective on the consequences to the Institution that might result from sponsorship rather than philanthropy. The Council discussion emphasized prudence in choosing corporate partners. Corporate identity can negatively affect the Smithsonian, especially in connection with questionable products (tobacco and alcohol, for instance), practices (such as providing substandard wages and working conditions) and occurrences (such as deleterious environmental events). And we must be able to sever relations if catastrophe occurs.

It also became clear that corporations that sponsor particular programs or exhibits are interested in the subject matter, but do not seek to affect specific content both as a matter of principle and to avoid debasing the independent reputation of the Smithsonian Institution, which is also important to them. This means that the corporate sector can be approached broadly for general Institution-wide support and more narrowly for targeted programs and exhibits. A number of corporations are more interested in our musical presentations, for instance, than in exhibits of objects and texts because they believe that their prospective customers will relate more closely to music.

Adamant critics of corporate sponsorships on the Council fear that the specificity of corporate interest will narrow the range of planned exhibitions and lead to self-censorship because of concerns that the Smithsonian "brand" might be less valuable to our sponsors. Most on the Council, and the Smithsonian Institution leadership, recognize these as potential problems but believe that treating corporate sponsorship as only one of a number of sources of support lessens the perceived threats.

On the broader issue, the Smithsonian already copes with strenuous critics in Congress, or people who enlist congressional support, whenever controversial programs are presented. Any corporate opposition is minor in this context. Corporations should be willing to accept the Institution's policy of not avoiding controversy but seeking a balanced presentation of subjects and ideas.

In general, we welcome corporate sponsorship opportunities, but we must review them carefully and maintain sensible oversight once we enter into contracts. We are grateful that a highly talented group of people dedicated to the welfare of the Institution devoted a two-day meeting to this topic, which is important not only to the Smithsonian but to museums throughout the United States.

By Secretary I. Michael Heyman

Street Marketing

National Museum of African American History and Culture
A black-and-white photograph of women shopping for produce at a street market.

Outdoor Advertising -- the Modern Marketing Force

National Museum of American History

Liberty House Marketing Warehouse - Inventory

National Museum of African American History and Culture
A black-and-white image of the interior of the Liberty House Marketing Warehouse. The image is in portrait orientation and depicts a young man conducting inventory. He wears a dark collared shirt and pants, a white apron, and holds two dolls in his hands in front of a shelf of dolls.

Adweek Portfolio: Marketing and Promotion Resources

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
A full-page photographic frontal image of a monkey, brown-tinged black with white highlights, is overlaid by apricot-colored capital letters A-Z, arranged in six evenly spaced rows. The monkey seems to smile; his arms are bent at the elbows; and with his left hand, he is picking off the petals of a long-stemmed flower, which he is holding in his right. On the upper part of the page, against the left edge, is a three-part identification: Adweek, in upside-down capitals on a pale green diagonal band in the upper left-hand corner abuts the top edge of Portfolio, imprinted in white capitals on a green-gray vertical band along the left edge, while Marketing and Promotion Resources, in white capitals on a lavender vertical, narrow band, diagonally abuts the rignt edge of the Portfolio band.

HarperCollins College Outline: Introduction to Marketing

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Book jacket design for "HarperCollins College Outline: Introduction to Marketing," written by Kurt Fisher. Spanning across the front cover, back cover, and spine is a photoillustration of a salesman between two used automobiles with prices painted on their windshields. He leans on the roof of the car at right. At front cover, the book’s title, author’s name, and descriptive text superimposed over the illustration in white and yellow text boxes. Back cover, at left: text divided into various boxes and printed over illustration from front cover. Boxes in yellow and white contain book synopsis. Spine: title printed vertically over a detail of the front cover illustration with publisher's name and colophon (logo).

Market n.d

National Anthropological Archives
Black and white photoprint on cardboard mount

Market n.d

National Anthropological Archives
Black and white photoprint on cardboard mount

Washington Market

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Liberty House Marketing Warehouse - Shipping B

National Museum of African American History and Culture
A black-and-white image of an interior view of the Liberty House marketing B. The image is in portrait orientation and depicts two women working at a table to prepare items for shipping. The woman furthes from the viewer (left) has a white head wrap and is wearing a white turtleneck and is looking towards the table. The woman on the right is wearing a colored turtleneck and has curly hair. The woman on the right is weighing a box that has the Liberty House logo on it. there are other objects on the counter in the bottom of the image, including a basket, a circular contain, a roll of paper, and two of the Liberty House catalogs (Similar to Reference #1). There are other wrapping and packagin materials visible (including paper on a large spool, trash cans in the background, and shelves of other materials).

Market Place n.d

National Anthropological Archives
Black and white photoprint

Liberty House Marketing Warehouse - Shipping A

National Museum of African American History and Culture
A black-and-white image of the interior of the Liberty House warehouse. The image is in landscape orientation and depicts two women working at a table to prepare items for shipping. The woman furthest from the viewer (left) has a white head wrap and is wearing a white turtleneck and is looking at the box the other woman (right) is weight. The woman on the right is wearing a colored turtleneck and has curly hair. The box has the Liberty House logo on the right. There are other objects on the counter in the front right of the picture (a basket and a circular container). There are other wrapping and packaging materials visible on the table (including paper on a large spool, etc). There is a glow at the PL shoulder of the woman on the right.

My Experience as a Product Development and Marketing Intern

Smithsonian Libraries
This post was written by Carolina Murcia, Biodiversity Heritage Library Product Development and Marketing Intern.     I am a designer. I am an artist. I am an illustrator. I more »

Ivory Market

National Museum of American History

These U.S. Tycoons Turned Their Holidays into Marketing Gold

Smithsonian Channel
The friendship of Ford, Edison and Firestone was a perfect marketing opportunity, too good to miss. Footage of them vacationing together was shown in theaters around the country - further bolstering their brand status. From the Series: America in Color: Titans of Industry http://bit.ly/2Qq9940

market bundle stick

National Museum of American History

market bundle stick

National Museum of American History

market bundle stick

National Museum of American History
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