What brands can learn from Banksy

The famously-reclusive artist Banksy has earned worldwide fame for his controversial political and satiric street art and has nailed some of the most notorious publicity stunts in recent history.

He is an artist with an incredible ability to dominate headlines across the world and the surprise launch of his latest art installation, Dismaland Bemusement Park, was no exception. The Park sits on an abandoned lido in Weston-Super-Mare and is Banksy’s first UK show since 2009.

His latest project was kept quiet until days before opening day when the Weston Mercury was the first publication to have the news confirmed to them.

So what PR lessons can we learn from such a brilliant self-promoter as Banksy?

### Tease your audience

Leaving your audience wanting more is something Banksy has perfected.

When he set-up a month long residency in New York City in October 2013, his project ‘Better out than in’ saw a new piece of artwork being revealed every day. To announce his latest project there were no press releases, no interviews, just a simple blog posted on day one.

To publicise each new art piece, he used Instagram to post a photo of the work, a dedicated Twitter account and hashtag and a website, which included an audio guide of each new piece of street art. There was no barrage of promo messages the day before to hint where the next piece would be, Banksy wanted to give New Yorkers something to look forward to everyday.

Banksy fever hit NYC as New Yorkers raced to be the first to find the new pieces with absolutely no announcements ahead of time of where they would be.

Art is experiential and with work like Banksy’s it’s not enough to see photos of the artwork, people want to go and see it for themselves. So it’s no surprise that more than 2,000 people were spotted waiting to get into Dismaland on its opening day, with many camping overnight to guarantee a spot.

### Be relevant but always say something new

Banksy has a knack for making all of his artwork newsworthy and relevant to the time, usually reacting to political dramas which draw in the headlines.

Brands don’t have to be as controversial as him to be current but focusing on topics relevant to your audience will carry on the conversation.

Your content should always be fresh and new to encourage engagement.

### Let word spread organically

The beauty of Banksy’s ‘Better out than in’ project in New York City was that his fans also became his brand ambassadors. True virality is spread by word-of-mouth not by messages pushed out by brands.

As Banksy hunters discovered the next piece of street art in the treasure hunt it was immediately reported across social media as others raced to the scene to see it. Traditional media then followed suit to report on his activities.

Making shareable content is an art in itself, you have to know your audience and aim for originality, but it will inspire users to become your brand’s ambassadors and spread the word quickly and easily for you.