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6 Ways the Arts Can Help Your Business Thrive in 2016

Posted by Stacy Lasner

Foster Critical Thinking & Innovation

Did you know that GE has a new division called FirstBuild (a 2015 BCA 10 honoree) that brings artists into the factory to help create the next generation of appliances? Or that litigation firm Faegre Baker Daniels LLP uses theater to train its lawyers? The increased demand for customized products and services and the rise in consumer power is leading to an emphasis on continuous innovation. Last year we learned from BCA 10 honoree U.S. Bank’s CEO Richard Davis that CEOs representing the country’s top companies now believe that creativity is the most important attribute of a future C-Suite senior leader. Americans for the Arts’ and The Conference Board’s Ready to Innovate study also supports their claim.


To learn how businesses are using the arts to foster critical thinking and drive innovation, read this essayYou can find additional examples here.


Engage Employees, Especially Millennials

2014 BCA 10 honoree Hallmark displays employee art. Facebook offers art classes to employees. 2015 BCA 10 honoree NV Energy's employees volunteer with local arts organizations and at arts events. “Employee engagement” is not just a buzzword or a passing trend. It holds powerful benefits for businesses. For example, many studies show that employees (particularly millennials) who frequently participate in workplace volunteer activities are more likely to be proud, loyal, and satisfied employees. The arts offers businesses many opportunities to engage employees both in and out of the workplace (a topic we’ll explore more on in 2016).


Find more examples of how the arts can help engage employees.


Recruit & Retain Talent

Creative employees want to live and work in a vibrant community; if you build it, they will come. According to a recent Cone Communications study, 76 percent of millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments before deciding where to work. Millennials are also highly mobile. Today’s businesses are not just competing for talent against other companies, but also against other communities, cities, states, and countries. In 2014, a survey by ManpowerGroup showed that 40 percent of U.S. employers have difficulty filling jobs. How do communities like Des Moines, Iowa and Corning, New York attract top employees? They invest heavily in local arts and culture.


For an example of how business support of the arts helps attract creative talent, read this essay about the transformation of Des Moines. You can find additional examples here.


Put Your Company in the Spotlight

In 2015, BCA 10 company Zions Bank showcased costumes from a local ballet company in the bank’s branches, which resulted in substantial media coverage and increased visitors for both the bank and the ballet. Celebrating the arts is a way to build a powerful presence and engage with multiple stakeholders quickly and effectively. According to Americans for the Arts’ BCA National Survey of Business Support of the Arts (the next iteration of which will be released in 2016), 79 percent of businesses agree that the arts increase name recognition.


To learn how Portland General Electric partnered with the arts to build an emotional connection to their intangible product, read this essay. Learn about other ways the arts can help you put your business in the spotlight.


Advance Corporate Objectives & Strategies

Over the holidays, competitors Apple and Microsoft both sent powerful messages to consumers through music. In August 2015, Google demonstrated its support of people with disabilities through a visual display on the steps of prominent buildings in Washington DC, which also called attention to Google’s Cultural Institute. The arts are an incredibly effective way of breaking through to audiences facing information overload. Consider the flash mob trend and the rise of video in marketing. According to an article in The Guardian quoting research by Cisco, by 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic.


Learn how other businesses are using the arts to advance corporate objectives and communicate strategic messages in this essay, and find additional examples here.


Contribute to the Economy & Quality of Life

When you partner with local arts, you partner with the whole city. The arts enhance community development, create jobs, spur urban renewal, attract new businesses, draw tourism dollars, and more. Nationally, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $135.2 billion in economic activity every year—$61.1 billion in spending by organizations and an additional $74.1 billion in event-related spending by their audiences. For 2015 BCA 10 honoree, commercial real estate firm Prospective Inc., the impact of the arts on the company’s bottom line is undeniable. “The impact of the arts on demand for office, retail, and residential real estate, result(s) in higher valuations of commercial and residential properties and increased tax revenues to local, county, and state government. Investment in the arts provides a powerful economic return,” said Joe Ritchey, Principal of Prospective Inc.


Read more about how supporting the arts helps contribute to the economy and check out how other businesses are contributing to their local economies through the arts.


Want to learn more? Find additional ways that the arts can help your business thrive in 2016.


How has partnering with the arts impacted your business? Tell us on Twitter using #ArtsandBiz or email us at

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