Audience development and ego

Today I tweeted: Egos are a culprit in the arts downfalls of late. Shrinking egos will build audience. Let’s get real!

I also tweeted: There are people with big egos attempting to make changes based off of their egos. Put the ego aside and reach out!

My twitter friends will probably not be surprised to see a post from me on this topic.

Behind a big ego is really a big fear, a fear of not being recognized or getting what you want, or of not being respected, etc, etc.  There is also a fear of change lurking.

I am seeing a direct correlation, the bigger the ego(s) involved in the status quo management, the more the audience tends to shrink.  I do see the flip side, the more real and down to earth an artist or organization is, putting ego aside and reaching out by showing their passions and connecting with their audience, the more their audiences tend to grow.  Do yourself a favor and when you read about artists and arts organizations that are still doing well in this economy, pin-point which side of this equation they are on.

With this in mind, we can go further to state that people want to connect with real people.  Social media has made this fairly obvious.  We call out people who aren’t being real and have let their egos take over resulting in hurting others in the process, and we applaud those that put their egos aside and take one for the team or rather have taken action to help others.

I also see how there are big egos out there that are attempting to be the saviors of the arts world, yet they themselves need to put their egos aside and reach out to others that have the same desire to help the arts.  Why are they so afraid of collaborating with others that have the same passion to help the arts that they do?  Are they afraid they will make less money or be seen as not “The One” to save the day?

Egos are the ones responsible for not giving others credit where credit is due.  They also tend to be the ones that attempt to act like they are the only ones out there attempting to do what they do.  In modern times, for example, if they blog, do they have a blog roll?  This is a dead give away if not.  ;O)

We all can see times in our lives where our egos have taken control.  Personally I hope we can all become more aware and diminish the egos before they diminish us.  Do yourself another favor, and look at the actions of people.  Do they credit others?  Do they collaborate with others?  Do they reach out to others?  You will want to align yourself with people that are putting their egos aside for the benefit of the arts.

What it all comes down to is: Egos tend to get in the way of reaching out to others, and in a time where the arts are suffering, we all need to work together.  Diminishing our egos and reaching out to work together will help us all to build relationships, build audiences and change the arts from survive to thrive.  This is no new flashy marketing trend, this is truly getting real and being open to the possibilities of becoming a team.  This is why audience development matters.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,


Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists


“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”

~James Stewart


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Filed under arts management, Audience Development

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