Arts Marketing Strategy: How Clear is Your Message?

We spend a lot of time developing, funding and building beautiful cultural buildings and experiences. Then comes the challenge of marketing your offer, of standing out from the crowd – and generating that all-important revenue.

You will have many opportunities to promote your attraction, perhaps through social media, or an on-site event, via PR or by mailing regular subscribers. So how do you make your voice / message heard when so many communications are competing for your target audience’s attention?

To use a simple analogy, if I throw three tennis balls at you, you will most likely drop them all. Agree? However, if I throw one, you will catch it almost every time. The point here being that customers need to understand one main message from you – one that is simply, powerfully and consistently expressed.

With so many ‘messages’ being bombarded at us daily, increasingly so with digital communications, it is worth taking time to think about how you differentiate yourself from your competitors and how to communicate your value with real clarity. Do you compete on price or difference – do you have something that your competitors don’t?

I sometimes turn to large companies for examples of excellence and inspiration that, so often, can be applied at a very micro level. As British designer Paul Smith said, “You can find inspiration in everything, and if you can’t, just look again”.

If, for example, we think of ‘Nike’, their competitive positioning is seductively crystal clear. Their brand mantra is all about being serious about sport, about authentic athletic performance and valuing their customers’ athletic aspirations, and so Nike’s endorsements by top performance athletes sit at the forefront of their communications.

For Disney World, the company seeks to create an immerse experience where visitors can truly escape from the day to day, in fact the resorts are presented as ‘the most magical place on earth’. At its core, Disney’s messaging is all about fun family entertainment.

At a simpler level perhaps, how might a coffee chain differentiate itself?  The Caffè Nero philosophy is simple: they offer premium award winning Italian coffee, a warm and welcoming atmosphere and good food plus great personal service’. Caffè Nero aims to be the best in the eyes of its target markets, not the biggest. The message of quality and ‘care’ can be seen quite clearly through their communications.

Having defined their core message so precisely, these companies consistently repeat the same clear message, embedding it very effectively in consumers’ minds.

What is the clear message you want to convey to your audience? If this seems like a challenge or if you’d like to explore some ideas, drop me an email. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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