Audience development questions: Why don’t I have an audience?

Yesterday (I admit) I jumped on my Twitter soapbox and was thinking out loud about why arts organizations and artists are struggling.  Here is the flow of tweets that emerged:

The world is getting faster and faster with more and more information, competition. How are you standing out from the crowd?

I strongly feel that 2011 was an identity crisis and 2012 will be the year awareness of who we really are will happen.

This means that hiding behind the same old same old will not work anymore. People will ignore you if you do.

You can differentiate yourself and ultimately be more of yourself than you ever had before.

This being yourself is key to attracting the right people to you and your art.

You have to know yourself before you can get to know your true audiences.

Trying to be like everyone else, that is not creative, and that is not being themselves if they are an artist/arts org.

Audiences are people that can feel vibes and emotions. If your art is tired, they will see and feel it.

I think every artist/arts org could benefit from an arts journal. What inspires you and why? Think about it!

You want to take note of what makes you deliciously antsy inside, what turns on ideas, what makes you squirm for need of action.

What gives you chills, makes you cry or burst w/happiness? What takes you on that emotional ride that delights you? Take note!

Maybe this is the core problem – Artists that are not inspired themselves to be who they are since they are out of touch.

People want to be inspired or at least memorably entertained. They want to spend $ on release, escape, awareness, happening events.

Discover yourself and share who you are!

Just maybe this is the core problem.  It all comes down to an identity crisis in the arts.  A while back I did a quick research on orchestra websites.  Out of the over 50 orchestras I sampled, there were maybe 8-10 that stood out in terms of their branding.  All the other orchestras, if you were to black out the who and the where, the pictures, messages, programs were all the same old same old. This is true in other disciplines too.  For a creative industry, the arts, we have become rather uncreative, stodgy, boring, bland, and predictable.

Does this really speak to who we really are?  Are you stodgy, boring, bland and predictable?  If the answer is “no” then I suggest you do something about it.  If the answer is “yes,” well, I would say good luck with that.  Do people want stodgy, boring, bland and predictable time and time again?  I think you know the answer to this question.

Why don’t you have an audience that is happy, loyal, and supportive?  It’s probably because you don’t know who you are.  Without knowing who you are and learning how to communicate who you are, you will never attract the right people to become your best audiences.

During my Twitter adventure, I discovered that I too need to go through this process again.  After 4 years of doing what I have been doing, I have discoved that this is not me at all.  I need to start asking myself the tough questions too.  What differentiates myself from other organizations that claim will help you with audience development?  How can I communicate better who I am to you?

Currently I can answer: I know how to help you find yourself and have the gift of coming up with sensational ideas that will support you in communicating to and connecting with your right audiences.  One size does not fit all since you are a unique being, a special entity.  I know this and can help you become more you than ever before.  Currently I understand: I need to completely change my website and branding to match my new understanding of myself.  And you know what? It is okay to change when it is a change that will reveal more of who you are.  I also know that I am a creative as well that has not been acting as creatively as I could be.  This will need to change too.

So by all means, use my own self discovery as an example.  If you are asking yourself, “why don’t I have an audience?”, please understand that maybe it would be best to first ask yourself “who am I?”

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists


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

Join us for our next webinar:
March 16th – Noon ET

Working with Mobile Technology to Develop Your Audience
With the rapid adoption of web-enabled cell phones, smartphones and tablet computers, what options are available to arts professionals who want to engage their audiences via mobile devices? How can artists and organizations implement these options cost effectively without taking focus away from the art?


Shoshana Fanizza, Audience Development Specialists
Co-hosted with David Dombrosky
Co-produced with David Weuste, Rosebrook Classical

To Register: Click Here! 


Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

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New eBook!  The How of  Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

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1 Comment

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One response to “Audience development questions: Why don’t I have an audience?

  1. Pingback: Showing up and committing to audience development | Audience Development Specialists Blog!

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