Monthly Archives: September 2012

My apologies to my email subscribers – #Auddev chat 9/27, Noon ET – Arts, Change & Audiences

I was using the Storify export function, and it wigged out. I apologize for the repeated bogus posts. Here is the actual chat transcript I was attempting to post:

[View the story “#Auddev chat, 9/27, Noon ET – Arts, Change & Audiences” on Storify]

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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

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

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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YouTube Kinda Mood – Arts Audience Development and Advocacy (5 Videos)

It’s Friday!  I haven’t posted some YouTubes in a while.  I looked up some more current Arts Advocacy videos.  Here’s what I found:





Have a great weekend!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

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

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

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

Leave a comment

Filed under Arts, arts advocacy, Audience Development

Why am I doing this? Arts Audience Development

This morning I am literally in tears over an article I just read,  I took my 9-year-old to the opera, and she loved it,  although it may be due to the combination of articles this morning.  The articles this morning ranged from arts education, let’s do this – to talks about better Boards – to arts cuts – to why the arts should not be funded publicly.

We live in a strange world.  Despite the arts being front and center for making all our lives better, the arts and artists are struggling to be funded.  The argument that arts will go on despite funding, this may be true since artists need to create, or we die inside, however, the reach that the arts would have if funding were to disappear would shrink.  Without public funding, the biggest arts offerings would start to collapse.  There would be less grand opera, less orchestras, less art on a bigger scale.

People may say that the reason the collapse would happen is because people do not desire these art forms any more.  Well, this 9-year old proves to me that this isn’t the case.  The arts are relevant today and these bigger art forms that are in question for funding are appealing today, if we let them be seen and heard, which means continuing to fund the arts.

There seems to be such a weird disconnect.  There are opera and symphonies blaring in the background of our commercials.  We have classical music in our movie soundtracks.  There is public art beautifying our neighborhoods.  What we buy in the form of design are created by creative people that were inspired by art.  The television and radio would not be what it is today without the arts.  Why is there such a disconnect between the arts being funded publicly if we use the arts everyday in almost every aspect of our lives?

And, why am I in tears?  It is the last statement in the article.  The 9-year old looks up at her mom and says: “Mommy, why aren’t there more people here?” she asked. “If I could, I would come every night.”

Aside from letting this opera company know that they should have a special subscription for this little girl and her mother due to the heart of this posting, I am in tears because this is exactly the reason why I started my business.  I look around and see low attendance at events that should be packed to the gills.  More people could be enjoying the arts if they only knew they exist for them.

It’s not a matter of not being relevant.  It’s a matter of doing the work necessary to becoming connected with our communities again.  I see the turnarounds, and most of them are due to building relationships and becoming a part of their communities again – audience development.  I know what true audience development can do for an arts business.   I think the main reason I ended up crying over the little girl’s statement is because I want to help, yet I know that it will take time for artists and arts organizations to decide to make the changes toward audience development.

I have to admit that one of the statements in the Forbes article, smacking with elitism, may be a little correct.

The health of art organizations are too important to depend on government. Politics kills goodwill and development skills atrophy. Art thrives on delighting its audiences and developing a loyal fan base. Ensuring that should not be outsourced to government coercion. An identifiable pool of patrons is far superior to a vague cloud of resentful taxpayers.

Are we so used to relying on public funding that we ourselves have created the atrophy of private support?

I know that in order to have a healthier more peaceful world, we need to start with ourselves.  We need to be strong as individuals to add to the collective of a better world.  I still feel strongly that the arts should be funded publicly since the arts contribute to all of us in one way or another, however, if we want to keep the arts on a grand scale, we ourselves need to create stronger, healthier arts businesses.  In my opinion, the best way to do this is to roll up our sleeves and get to work on audience development.

If you can’t bring yourself to feel worthy of working for a better audience, at least, do it for the little girl and for all the children with hopes for a future that embraces the arts.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

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

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

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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Filed under arts management, Audience Development

3 ways for artists to make friends with arts audience development

 

 

I was having a conversation with a friend about artists and our resistance to doing the work we have to do in order to build our audience.  Many of us view the audience development/marketing side of our businesses as boring and that “thing” we “have” to do that takes our precious time away from creating our art.  Yet, if we want a following, time and effort must happen.  However, my friend and I thought of three solutions for us artistic types to make friends with audience development:

  1. Know your strengths and weaknesses.  If you truly do not have the time or the desire or the ability, hire someone else to do the audience development work for you.
  2. If money is an issue, find an intern that is eager for the job experience, yet has enough knowledge about connecting via social media and email marketing to do positive work for you.
  3. Or, learn to make this part of the business fun for you.  I know of an artist that created a board with the names of the people that have purchased her artwork. It’s artsy and functional.  She will, according to her time plan, choose one of these people to send an email or note to in order to build a relationship with them.   Over time, all of the people on her board have been connected with.  There are many other ideas for incorporating your art into a business task.  You can use your creative brain to come up with solutions to help you accomplish your business tasks while keeping in mind your desire to be artistic.

If there is a will, there is a way.  You only have to decide if you want it bad enough. “It” being a successful arts business!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

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

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

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

Leave a comment

Filed under Arts, arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development

Leading with quality art experiences for arts audience development

Today I have a guest blogger for you.  Please welcome Paul Stavish, Audience Development Manager of Oregon Ballet Theatre.  He came to me with an idea of building audiences, not through quirky marketing deals and promotions, but to go beyond with artistic experiences for your audiences and communicating with them passionately about your art.  The combination of providing experiences for them and relating your passion for your art easily can translate into hands on passion for your audience members.  Please do share your thoughts about this topic by replying. 

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Leading with quality art experiences for arts audience development
By Paul Stavish

If you’re an arts manager, I suspect the below talking points sound familiar to you:

  • “Subscribe now for the best seats.”
  • “Get your seats at a discount with this special offer.”
  • “We have finished X of the last Y years in the black.”
  • “Your gift of $X will get you a private reception at the conclusion of the performance.”

You probably use these.  I do.  All of them are useful ways to converse with a patron about an arts organization.  There is no escaping the fact that many patrons respond to exclusivity, deals, and special amenities.  Groupon can at times be the best way to get someone to a performance.  For others, the guarantee of the aisle seat they need being there for as long as they are willing to buy it is the ticket.

But there is something about these talking points that I find odd, particularly because we are leading with the marketing of our organization and our performances.  All of the above are secondary benefits to the larger primary benefit of what we aim to provide – relevant, outstanding art experiences that can’t be missed.  Why aren’t we leading with how tremendously important and interesting our art is?  Or, why aren’t we speaking to our audiences about how our arts experiences will benefit them?

When one makes the conversation about the quality of art, I’ve found that the gains are significant.  Overall, it allows one to speak with passion.  This generates energy in prospective audience, and radiates.  Additionally, doors can be opened to groups who otherwise would not have considered the organization.  This can ultimately lead to partnership, and with partnership comes an opportunity to create a long lasting relationship between our arts organizations and our potential audiences.  The true benefits can often not be guessed, but are almost always worthwhile.

Here are two ways to change the conversation to make our arts experiences more about them:

1.  Bring the art to them. Literally. 

Each summer, Oregon Ballet Theatre holds an event called “OBT Exposed” where we rehearse, create new work, and offer free classes to children and adults in a park all week long.  The event is entirely free to the public.  We give away tickets all day as thank you’s for being part of the event.  Here are reasons why it benefits our audiences:

*   Our existing supporters are proud to be there.

*   Our “stumbled upon” audience gets to see how amazing the art is and interact it with it for perhaps the very first time.

*   We instruct patrons to ‘enter to win’, and do so aggressively.  Everyone who sits down in the park is given a program with an enter to win slip.  With each break or prize giveaway, an announcement is made to enter to win tickets.

The Result: Press opportunities.  New audience.  Thankful supporters.  Thousands of individuals who now have their first ballet experience (and we know who they are, and can then market our season to them).

2.  Get them in the performance.  Literally.

Oregon Ballet Theatre is producing a world premiere ballet called “Ekho” whose set requires the help of hundreds to build.  Picture the biggest, craziest arts and crafts project you can think of.

*Because of its scope, we’re currently recruiting the help of hundreds of volunteers to help us build the set.

*   The community response has been unbelievable.  We’re seeing people from so many walks of life join us.  Architecture schools, arts and crafts junkies, young arts enthusiasts, past supporters, current supporters, the rich, the poor, and everything in between.  Simply put, people love to be part of an arts project.

*   For each “shift” of 4 hours that they contribute, each volunteer will be issued a voucher for $10 off tickets to the performance.  People love this.  The conversation has been about being a part of something big, and the voucher is led as a secondary thank you, as it should be.

The Result: Hundreds of people who will tell everyone they know about what a cool project they were part of.  The opportunity for us to tell tens of thousands the story of the set build through media.  Press opportunities due to the partnerships that became possible due to the project.  A tangible and valuable ballet set that can be used for future performances.

I love talking about the art of my organization, and I believe that individuals love to hear about it, especially when we make the art experiences benefit them directly.  Let’s honor what we work for and continue to find ways to demonstrate with them why it’s all so important.

– Paul

Paul Stavish is the Audience Development Manager of Oregon Ballet Theatre.  Start a conversation with him at paul.stavish@obt.org<mailto:paul.stavish@obt.org>.

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Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

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

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

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

Leave a comment

Filed under Arts, arts marketing, Audience Development

Websites and arts audience development

I have been a little MIA this week, but I did want to end the week with a quick post.  In the past, I have written about the process of branding properly as being the first step to audience development.  This branding process includes a website.

A website can be a slightly bigger budget item, but I think this is money well worth spending during your first few years.  The reason being, your website is the go to marketing station for almost all that you do.  When you have an ad or a mention anywhere, most of the time we put a link to the website to get more information and to purchase.  When you send out an email or social media post, we mainly link to our websites or a page on our website.  The website over time will pay for itself since you use it over and over again.

The branding for your website is extremely important, especially since all your efforts usually steer back to it.  The cost of the website could be daunting up front, but you will be using this concept for many years forward if your branding is done properly.

I have seen organizations that have a quality product, yet their website doesn’t quite advertise this fact.  If your website is looking more amateur and/or if it is not displaying who you are and what your art is really about, I think it might be time to invest in getting a good website built.

A website is a constant marketing tool, and it can be an audience development tool as well. With proper branding and a clean, functional, and user friendly site, you can attract the right audiences, keep them on your site (since it will be interesting with things to check out), and make the sale for you.  I hope you will consider giving your website this important face lift and making this well deserved investment in you!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

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

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

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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Filed under Arts, arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development