Creating a global cultural brand

Where did we start?

In 2003 the image of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) was tired, morale was low and negative public perceptions prevailed. The museum was seen more as a remote, dusty attic than as a world-class museum with a peerless collection of art and design. We were approached to address these problems.

What did we do?

We began by repositioning the membership scheme, then developed a programme to refresh the visual identity, develop a clear vision, brand positioning and internal communications strategy based around the idea of ‘inspiring creativity through knowledge.’ We continued to work for a further five years with the management team and representatives of all departments in a museum-wide culture change programme to ensure that the brand idea was expressed in everything the museum did and putting the visitor experience at the heart. This ‘CulturePlan’ programme continues to be vigorously supported and is an effective means of ensuring that staff feel they have the agency to deliver the V&A’s vision and bring the brand to life.

What's the impact?

The V&A has gone from strength to strength. Membership has increased by over 50% and for the first time visitor numbers exceed three million. Visitors to the V&A website now number over 20 million. The V&A has become a truly global brand. Attracting major sponsors and critical acclaim for their exhibition programme, reaching new audiences, converting interest and sustaining visitor numbers. We are currently working with the V&A to clarify their brand architecture and interpreting the V&A’s brand strategy for their new site in Dundee and the Museum of Childhood.

“The V&A has undergone an extraordinary transformation over the last five
 years and is now recognised as the world’s number one museum of art and
design. Jane Wentworth Associates have played a vital role in the Museum’s renaissance. Working closely with the Director, the senior team, and myself they helped us create a brand and articulate a vision that has shaped our policies and strategy for the future. At the same time, they have worked with and consulted staff at all levels so that ownership of the brand is felt throughout the organisation.
The V&A today is buzzing, confident, ambitious and successful.”

Damien Whitmore, Former Director of Programming, V&A