Radio Lessons

Posted by María Muñoz-Blanco On December - 6 - 2011

María Muñoz-Blanco

Almost a century ago, a gentleman by the name of Henry Garrett (then superintendent of the Dallas Police & Fire Signal System) installed a 50-watt radio transmitter in the central fire station to transmit fire alarms to the other Dallas fire stations.

Between fire alarms, Garrett connected the transmitter to a phonograph and played his collection of classical music recordings. Thus began the life of WRR, which 90 years later (and with a much, much stronger signal) is one of the divisions of the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs.

WRR 101.1 FM is a 24/7 classical music station, operating under an FCC commercial radio license. Because of this commercial license, WRR is what we call in the city an enterprise fund: the station sells advertising to generate revenues to cover its operating expenses, pay for capital upgrades, and keep an operating cash reserve.

The station plays an important role as the voice of the arts in North Texas, providing a venue for call-to-action advertising for arts organizations. I never expected to be in the radio business, but I find that many of the strategies used by the station to meet its bottom line can be successfully applied elsewhere in the agency and by our local arts organizations. Read the rest of this entry »

From Advertising to Advocacy: A Multicultural Approach

Posted by Alyx Kellington On December - 2 - 2011
Alyx Kellington

Alyx Kellington

How many languages are spoken in your local school district?

Chances are most of us will be surprised at the number and varieties of languages the students speak and probably do not know how to reach out to that community.

Currently, the School District of Palm Beach County, Florida, is the 11th largest in the continental U.S. with 187 schools, serving over 174,000 (K-12) students who speak 141 languages/dialects. So how can you advertise your event to a native Kanjoval speaker?

Many school districts have a multicultural department and that in turn, may offer a Community Language Facilitator (CLF). In Palm Beach County, each school provides one CLF for every 15 students who speak a common language.

If your organization or program can go the extra mile and create a reference, lesson plan, or curriculum-based activity for the multicultural audience, you may find cultural and translation assistance available from the school district.  Read the rest of this entry »

Reader Content Survey for Americans for the Arts

Posted by admin On November - 22 - 2011

Dear Readers,

Look over to the right side of this page and check out the tag cloud. (You might have to scroll a little. It’s under the “featured video”.)  Are your favorite topics there?

We want to match the content of our publications with what you need to be successful artists, arts administrators, advocates, and educators. That means tailoring the articles, blog posts, and news stories in our print and electronic communications based on your feedback. What topics do you want to read about more (or less)?

Take our short, six question survey and let us know how we’re doing: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ZZWVFBB

Who Are We Selling?

Posted by Bruce Whitacre On November - 16 - 2011
Bruce Whitacre

Bruce Whitacre

In this economic climate, reaching out to high-net-worth individuals, or the companies that seek to engage them, can be a touchy subject for the arts.

The fact is, income inequality and the incredible wealth accumulated by a small percentage of our population have created great opportunities in terms of prospects and their passions. But we must temper our pursuit of these individuals with an appreciation of our broader public purpose. It can be challenging to face these facts and see an opportunity in them without losing our focus.

First, the facts: arts audiences are substantially wealthier, more influential, and better educated than the population as a whole.

At the recent Innovators Forum, organized by the National Corporate Theatre Fund (NCTF) and The Nederlander Organization for theatre marketers and corporate relations staffs, we heard from two experts in the luxury marketing field, the incredible Jim Taylor of The Harrison Group and Greg Furman, founder and president of the Luxury Marketing Council.

We sought their views on the perspective of the affluent on theatre, and their observations were quite insightful. Read the rest of this entry »

Designing and Implementing Arts-Based Initiatives

Posted by Giovanni Schiuma On November - 16 - 2011

Giovanni Schiuma

Today many organizations have discovered the benefits related to the use in business of the arts in order to explore and solve business issues.

Unilever has largely used arts-based initiatives (ABIs) to spur people’s change and to develop organizational culture. Nestlé has used ABIs to enhance marketing team’s creativity and to develop communication skills and collaboration in terms of ideas and expertise sharing.

Atradius has captured brand value by developing a partnership with Welsh National Opera. Price Waterhouse Coopers has used ABIs to unlock employees’ creativity energy, inspiring and challenging people to think and act differently.

Indeed the arts, in the form of ABIs, represent a powerful management tool for developing workforce and organizational infrastructure that can drive business performance improvements.

Examples can range from the use of art forms to entertain organizations’ employees and clients, to the deployment of arts to develop ‘soft competencies’ of people in the organization, and may include the exploitation of the arts to create intangible value to be incorporated into products or to transform and enhance organization’s infrastructural assets such as, for instance, image, identity, reputation, culture, and climate. Read the rest of this entry »

What Will Your Audience Look Like in 2020?

Posted by Will Lester On October - 7 - 2011

One of the prompt questions for this blog salon was, “What research is affecting your marketing and fundraising strategies?”

TRG’s research on arts patrons by generation has really given me perspective on where the arts are today and what we need to plan for long-term. Right now—even amidst the recession, organizational bankruptcies, and funding pullbacks, today may be the “good old days” for arts marketing.

There are four generations of arts buyers in the market right now. Each cohort is born roughly between these dates:

Traditionalists, born before 1945
Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964
Generation X, born between 1964 and 1981
Generation Y, born between 1982 and 1995 Read the rest of this entry »

Partnerships = Greater Community Impact

Posted by Kory Kelly On October - 7 - 2011

I am a HUGE proponent of partnerships! There is nothing like getting in front of a group that is loyal to a certain brand, and have that brand state that your organization has value for the group to also support you. Throughout a season, we work with numerous partners to reach new audiences, from arts organizations to corporations and beyond.

Here are some of the more successful partnerships we have had:

Dracula's Night at the Bats

Dracula’s Night at the Bats: A fully integrated campaign with Louisville Slugger Field and our baseball team, the Louisville Bats. Dracula threw out the first pitch (a bit high, but right down the middle), we had a table set up behind home plate, our promotional video was played on the jumbotron in the outfield, we gave away an opportunity to purchase $10 tickets to an entire section and  one lucky person won two season ticket packages (and Dracula handed them out on the third-base dugout).

The benefit: Exposure to a different audience in a fun and interactive way. It showed potential patrons that theatre is not as intimidating as they might think. While there was not much advance promotion of this event, the face time we had with the thousands of people at the event was invaluable. Read the rest of this entry »

Are Subscriptions Dead? Maybe Not (Part 3)

Posted by Chad Bauman On October - 6 - 2011

Chad Bauman

In Part 1, Chad discussed how Arena Stage conducted research to determine if subscriptions still worked for their organization. In Part 2 and below, he discusses some of the tactical changes Arena Stage has made as a result of that work:

Eliminated Advertising, but Increased Direct Mail and Telemarketing.
Prior to 2008, 25% of our subscription budget was allocated to advertising. After exhaustive efforts, we could not trace a single subscription purchase back to our advertising campaigns. Therefore, we cut all subscription advertising, and refocused those resources on direct mail and telemarketing. In doing so, we completely revamped our direct mail and telemarketing campaigns.

In terms of direct mail, we would previously print hundreds of thousands of season brochures, and then mail them out in a few rounds of massive mailings. Our brochures were 28-32 pages in length, and functioned more as a branding tool than a sales piece.

Today, we send out 30+ direct mail pieces during each subscription campaign that specifically tailor the offer to the target. We have eliminated our subscription brochure, cut our design costs by 60%, and have directed all of our resources to testing message and offer. For more information on our new approach to direct mail, please read “The Future of the Season Brochure.” Read the rest of this entry »

Mapping the MarComm Continuum

Posted by Clayton Lord On October - 6 - 2011

Clayton Lord

As the marketing and communications director at an arts service organization, I’m often approached by marketing directors at our over 300 member companies with questions about various channels of marketing and communications.

Recently, a frazzled executive director at a small company (one of those that often doesn’t have a dedicated or even semi-dedicated marketing person) contacted me to have a conversation about social media. She had a board member who thought they could expand their reach dramatically by reaching out through social media, and she wanted to know how to create a Facebook page to do that.

I was sad to have to tell her that that strategy probably wasn’t going to work. The truth of the matter is that social media, like all the tools in the marcomm toolkit, has a specific spectrum of usefulness—and unfortunately, the type of social media interactions she was talking about just weren’t going to get her very much traction with people who didn’t know or care about her organization already.

Whenever I think about a marcomm plan, I work in my head with a very basic and non-scientific spectrum, stretching from what I term “engagement” (i.e. making those who already know you feel more engaged with you) to “development” (i.e. making those who don’t know you, well, know you). Read the rest of this entry »

POP! Your Pitch, Close the Deal, Get the Money

Posted by Sam Horn On October - 6 - 2011

Sam Horn

I’ve talked about how having FUN and using LINKS contributes the F.L.A.I.R. that motivates investors to care on my own blog, but what comes next in F.L.A.I.R.?

A = Alliteration

Say these words.

Best Purchase.

Dirt Vacuum.

Bed, Toilet, Etc.

Kind of clunky, eh?

Now make those words alliterative. (Alliteration is when words start with the same sound.)

Best Buy.

Dirt Devil.

Bed, Bath and Beyond.

More musical and memorable, right? Read the rest of this entry »

What New Ideas Are You Deploying to Win Broader Audiences?

Posted by Kory Kelly On October - 6 - 2011

Kory Kelly

This year, Actors Theatre has launched a campaign that features the art on our stage with a combined focus on the people who attend. The campaign’s tagline is “Your City. Your Arts. Your Actors Theatre.”

The idea behind this is to feature a variety of people in all the materials, including people of many ethnicities, age groups, occupations, and backgrounds. Each featured patron states why Actors Theatre is THEIR Actors Theatre, with reasons ranging from date night to seasonal fun, and everything in between.

This campaign has provided us audience engagement at offsite events where we provide dry erase boards and photograph people with statements about why they like Actors Theatre. These photos are then looped into our lobby videos.

We chose this campaign for numerous reasons:

1.  Community Focus
Actors Theatre’s mission (expanded for clarity here) is to represent the community in which we live and provide theatrical opportunities that anyone can attend. However, as most arts marketers know, access to all is not something that is easy to say, so why not show it? It is easy for people to look at a picture and say, “Hey! That person is just like me! And they go to Actors! Maybe I should go!” Read the rest of this entry »

When a Bigger Audience May Not Be a Better Audience

Posted by Sara Billmann On October - 6 - 2011

Sara Billmann

I’ve been thinking a lot about audience lately, and how we often we fall into the trap of marketing our performances TO certain audiences rather than thinking about what kind of audience experience we can design to attract the ‘right’ audience for the work that we’re presenting.

It’s a very subtle shift in thinking, but one that I’m starting to think can have a big impact on the work we do.

As a presenter, my involvement in the creation of any given work is basically non-existent. While I’m part of the curatorial team that puts together each season for our audiences, I seldom see the work that we present in advance and rely heavily on the press kit, recordings, and YouTube videos to gain a real understanding of the artists we present (ironic, isn’t it, that while we tout the importance of the live performance experience, we rely on digital media to understand it ourselves).

For most performances, that method works just fine – I either have past experience with an artist, or it is a relatively straightforward performance, and I have easy access to understanding the program and the artists. Read the rest of this entry »

Giving Back While Filling Theater Seats

Posted by Justin Karr (with Ben Cohen) On October - 6 - 2011

Justin Karr

Givenik, a service affiliated with Jujamcyn Theaters, connects charities and Broadway theatergoers. When theatergoers buy tickets through Givenik.com, they elect to contribute five percent of the ticket sale to a charity of their choice. Charities benefit through revenue earned on ticket sales. Broadway shows benefit through the attention and goodwill generated when Givenik is promoted to a charity’s supporters.

For Givenik to be successful, it must appeal to all three audiences: charities, shows, and theatergoers. Charities must agree to participate in Givenik and promote it to their supporters. Shows must agree to sacrifice a portion of their ticket revenue. Theatergoers must be aware of the service and what shows and charities are available on it. Social media is particularly well-suited for solving problems like ours by enabling us to connect all three audiences in a cost-effective way.

We primarily use Facebook and Twitter with a Givenik brand user. Our principle strategy is to connect charities, shows and their supporters to us and to each other via service posts.

Show fans become charity fans, charity fans become show fans, and everybody becomes Givenik fans. There is nothing fancy here; this is Social Media 101.

We try to remain engaged in the chatter in both the nonprofit and Broadway worlds and contribute to the conversation wherever we can. Read the rest of this entry »

Musical Taste is Socially Transmitted

Posted by Christy Farnbauch On October - 5 - 2011

Christy Farnbauch

The Jazz Arts Group (JAG) in Columbus, OH, along with its national research partners recently completed a two-year study focused on the attitudes of current and potential jazz ticket buyers throughout the U.S. and in Central Ohio.

The research process involved a variety of research methods, including a music listening study, electronic and print surveys, and a literature review. The Jazz Audiences Initiative (JAI), launched in November 2009, was designed to study fundamental questions about how and why people engage with jazz. The main goal was to learn new ways for engaging audiences, and infusing the art form with new energy.

Once all the data was distilled, the following key findings emerged:

1.    Tastes in music are socially transmitted.
2.    Across western-based art forms, jazz still draws a relatively diverse audience.
3.    Consumption of jazz is artist-driven.
4.    Music preferences are shaped by local programming.
5.    Younger buyers have categorically more eclectic tastes in music.
6.    There are many musical pathways into jazz.
7.    Jazz buyers strongly prefer informal settings. Read the rest of this entry »

Winning by Losing

Posted by David Dombrosky On October - 5 - 2011

David Dombrosky

For years now, we have been talking about the latest tools and the best practices for incorporating these tools into our marketing and communications strategies. Of course, this is a necessary conversation in which we need to continually engage, but there is a corollary discussion that also needs to take place regularly.

As technology advances and communication-based behaviors adapt to these advances, arts marketers find themselves adding new tactics to their marketing strategies in order to stay current in meeting audience expectations. So the corollary discussion that we need to have is, “If we need to add new tactics to keep pace with changing technology and patron behavior, then which older tactics can we afford to lose?”

During the past five years of leading online technology workshops for arts managers, one of the most frequent concerns expressed by participants has been the ever-increasing workload. We’ve added social media to our plates, as well as mobile applications, broadcast emails, SMS campaigns, and more. But what have we taken away? Read the rest of this entry »

ARTSblog holds week-long Blog Salons, a series of posts by guest bloggers, that focus on an overarching theme within a core area of Americans for the Arts' work. Here are links to the most recent Salons:

Arts Education

Early Arts Education

Common Core Standards

Quality, Engagement & Partnerships

Emerging Leaders

Taking Communities to the Next Level

New Methods & Models

Public Art

Best Practices

Evaluation

Arts Marketing

Audience Engagement

Winning Audiences

Powered by Community

Animating Democracy

Arts & the Military

Scaling Up Programs & Projects

Social Impact & Evaluation

Humor & Social Change

Private Sector Initatives

Arts & Business Partnerships

Business Models in the Arts

Local Arts Agencies

Cultural Districts

Economic Development

Trends, Collaborations & Audiences

Art in Rural Communities

Alec Baldwin and Nigel Lythgoe talk about the state of the arts in America at Arts Advocacy Day 2012. The acclaimed actor and famed producer discuss arts education and what inspires them.