Ann Arbor Art Fair? Can It Teach Me Anything?

Ann Arbor — The “Mini New York”. To say that Ann Arbor puts a great deal of emphasis on it’s “rich culture” is speaking mildly. While I end up driving out to many other cities in Michigan and Ohio, I have yet to come across one that has as many art galleries, unique restaurants, and downtown atmosphere as Ann Arbor does. With that picture in mind, when the art fair rolls in to town things get for a lack of better words “fubar.”

Having grown up in Ann Arbor I have become somewhat jaded to the whole “Art Fair” ordeal. I really think of it as little more than the week when people from near and far cram into the downtown area to look at the same artwork that was their last year. But is there something else that can be learned from all of this?

Ann Arbor as a place, is a Niche?

Most cities have an annual art fair, yet so few reach the level that the Ann Arbor art fair does? Why is that? Hell the Ann Arbor Art Fair has it’s own wikipedia entry.

Ann Arbor as a location is a niche market all of it’s own. While other cities have an art fair, they are not known for the atmosphere that Ann Arbor does. It almost becomes more about the location and atmosphere than the specific works of art themselves. The whole week becomes an experience for those who choose to redecorate, browse, or simply buy something that they connect with. There are plenty of art galleries with in travel distance or even online that can be accessed year round, yet people choose to come out in swarms one week a year instead.

How can we take advantage of this?

Ann Arbor has established itself as having the art fair to go to in the tri-state reason. We can use the same principals in business, by building an atmosphere around our companies. If we simply give no character, emotion, or life to a company then it will always be missing out to those companies who have an aura around them. Companies with “the atmosphere” are easy and fun to talk about, refer people too, and are memorable.

Like Ann Arbor, we can wrap the values and emotions we wish to target into the company and give people a clear idea of “what this company really is about.” Through some basic outreach strategies such as PR, blogging, and events – the character of your company will be built naturally.