Thursday, October 10, 2013

MONA-isms for your business

If you live in Tasmania and haven’t been to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) yet – I can’t fathom why (it’s free for all Tasmanians and worth a drive across the state and more). If you live near to Tasmania, you won’t regret hopping on a plane to see it (even if you aren’t a typical museum lover).  And if you’re far far far away… Maybe add it to your bucket list – it’s that good.

MONA is architecturally spectacular, deliberately shocking and utterly entrancing. I’ve been numerous times and my most recent visit was with my 12 week old travelling buddy. MONA is the first thing I recommend visitors to the state go to (and that’s saying something – we have a whole lotta amazing stuff in this state).

So in visiting this time, I tried to look at what David Walsh has achieved at MONA to see what could be replicated in any business (you know, that didn’t have a multi-million dollar budget and a penchant for putting genitalia on the walls). Here’s what I came up with.

Be real

As you stroll around MONA strapped into your personalized ipods which give you all the museum guff on each piece of art that takes your fancy. David Walsh often comments on the pieces he loves and his take is, how shall I put it, not very museum curator-esque. He uses real language and in reading it, I can imagine him speaking to just to me.

Non-MONA example: S. Group architecture and design here in my hometown of Launceston. This page starts off very much as you’d expect an architecture firm, but mouse over the photos and read the profiles and you see personality and real-ness pouring out -

Be social

As you walk around with your groovy ipod at MONA you can Love or Hate the artwork with a click of a button and – if you’d like, you can get a very awesome map of your journey complete with full social media integration emailed to you called your “O tour”

Non-MONA example: In chatting with the founders of Flat Tummy Tea recently ( also based in Tasmania.  I commented on how fast their facebook page followers were increasing. Now the founders are a bit younger than me and while I use instagram, I must admit I had no idea the power of it from a marketing perspective especially to a younger demographic . Bec mentioned how fast their instagram following ( has grown and it’s awesome to see how they’re tapping into a young demographic with real time testimonials like this Why is instagram hitting a younger demo? Check out this recent mashable post called “I’m 13 and none of my friends use facebook” (

Be noticed

MONA strives to be something people talk about. From the pink flame covered busses that can transport you there, to the in your face controversial artwork, much of which has no common thread other than that David Walsh liked it.

Non-MONA example: I’ve become a little obsessed lately with Jessie Walsh’s project - check it out, but be warned, you might get stuck in there for hours. Jessie’s day job is as one of the founder’s of Sagmeister and Walsh – a design company (no doubt benefiting from lots of extra interest after 40 days). I can’t help but keep going back to their website - because the front page is a live web cam above their office. Simple and a little addictive, much like Forty days of dating (which has just been picked up by Hollywood

So that’s just three things – be real, be social, be noticed… I could go back to MONA for 40 days straight and find umpteen more things – but I also see them when I get great service at my petrol station or have a conversation with a friend about their son. If you open your eyes you can R-E-D anywhere (read this to find out what I mean by R-E-D

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