Companies and governments constantly talk about creating more creative spaces and creative hubs but are not sure how to do that on a not too large budget. But it’s simple really.
If you’ve walked through St Pancras station lately, or maybe through Heathrow airport, you will have noticed that pianos have been put in big hallways, especially where people are expected to have waiting times. What better way to while away the boring waiting time, then with art?
I witnessed it myself. A young man, who was just passing by, looking bored, saw the piano and his eyes lit up. He sat down and started playing songs by the Beatles and Queen from the top of his head.
Creativity in open spaces, so far so good. But what about collaboration? Believe it or not people walking by that young man actually started singing along to songs like Bohemian Rhapsody. This only engaged the pianist more in his enthusiasm, which in turn caused more people to stop, and even dance as far as it was possible in the limited space.
Of course not everyone is an excellent piano player with an extensive repertoire of popular songs. Eventually this man’s train was announced as well, and so, he had to leave with a great round of applause from the bystanders.
Next came a little girl who wanted to give it a go. She randomly pressed keys, delighted they made any sound at all. Then she started experimenting, trying to find the right tones for Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. A person sitting nearby, waiting, noticed this and walked up to her, teaching the little girl which keys she had to press to hear the melody she was looking for. Even if her playing was not as professional as the previous pianist’s, her joy brought a smile to everyone else’s face. And what better way to spend waiting time then with having fun and learning something new?
What this means for brands
Those were just ten minutes I waited until my train’s platform was announced but it filled that waiting time with a positive experience and art. So what does that mean for brands? Surprising collaborations.
Take a look at this collaboration between one of Vienna’s Opera houses (Volksoper) and the national railway service (ÖBB).
This collaboration not only enhances ÖBB’s brand but also transforms the customer’s waiting time, which often leaves a negative association with the company, into positive emotions. Apart from bringing a smile to the customers’ faces, such a simple event also gives them a story to tell their friends and on social networks. At the same time the opera house can showcase its talents and maybe gain the interest of new customers who would not have considered going to a performance at the opera before.