Tag Archives: Niche audiences

The uncomfortableness of old and new side by side?

My friend, Dale, sent me a thread to look at on Reddit: Going to my first symphony, what are some tips for my first experience?

This ongoing conversation has me thinking about traditions and their protocols.  The traditions with the respective protocols are generated by people.  People adopt these ways, and a status quo forms.

We are currently in the wave of changes in status quo and our traditions are being challenged.  I have mentioned traditions and status quo a few times now, but I have yet to explore it further than the thought that changes are happening and people are taking sides due to these changes.

Currently, I am thinking about the Amish way of life.  Back in the day, the majority of people churned their own butter, plowed the fields with horses and donkeys, sewed and washed their clothes by hand and built their own furniture.  When steam, gas, electricity, came into the picture, everything changed and the old way of living was put to rest, except in the places where people chose to continue to live the old traditional lifestyle.  We have pockets of the old among the new.  The Amish live a quiet life in a hidden pocket of our noisy society.  They are still in existence and have not died in the process of change.

I feel that we can have pockets of tradition to be side by side with the new.  The key is to figure out which end of the spectrum you choose to live in.  If you do decide to choose the old traditions, which is fine, be prepared to live in your pocket, your extreme niche.  You will still find an audience, yet it will be a smaller, more specific audience.  If you want to break out of the traditions, be prepared to risk, experiment, reach out to new audiences, and change with the times.

It doesn’t have to be uncomfortable.  We can complain about the new audiences and their disrespect for the old traditional way of presenting the arts, or we can choose to be comfortable and live in the direction that we decide is best.  Neither way is wrong.  It’s only a matter of choice!

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

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Filed under Arts, arts management, Audience Development

Audience development: to label or not to label that is the question…

A few days ago this article started some people discussing the use of labels and whether or not categorizing is the way to go if you want to reach a more diverse audience:

Novelist Sapphire complains of ‘very real’ racism in the arts
http://bit.ly/n8AX9L

In this case, the placement of your product, your novel in a book store can definitely segment you toward a certain audience.  If her novel was placed in the African American section, a smaller percentage of people will find it in that book store.  Are the very labels we are creating hindering our purpose of sharing our art with a bigger population that might enjoy it?

Some of the people that were part of the discussion said labels were necessary so our minds can wrap around the concept and decide quickly and efficiently if it is right for us.  Others admitted that these preconceptions, although they might help us make a quick decision, also may not allow us to be open to new opportunities and new art.

I shared with them the fact that a Jazz Festival in the past dropped “Jazz” out of their title and simply dubbed it a “Music” Festival.  They ended up with bigger audience numbers and more younger people attending that year.  The preconceptions of the younger audience with the term “Jazz” was the reason they did not attend before.  “That’s my parent’s music,” they said, but when they listened without knowing it was jazz, “This is great music!”

Today I found an article about brainstorming to find the right audiences.  The article starts with:
“If ever a Producer tells you their show is for ‘everyone’ . . . run.”

50 Days ’til Godspell: Identifying niches in our audiences.
http://bit.ly/rue1E3

I myself work with clients to identify the right audiences for a particular artist, organization or event.  Does this mean that we are limiting our potential audiences?  It seems that the very act of our labeling could be a downfall.

In my way of thinking, to label or not to label is the question, but in another way of thinking, if you are “labeling” properly, there would really be no issue.

Let me explain.  When you are sitting down to find the right audiences for your art, organization, etc., it is best to do a very thorough job of it.  You need to brainstorm creatively and look in all the nooks and crannies of the bigger picture to find all your audiences to list.  This is where some people and organizations are going wrong. They are not thinking creatively enough to find all their audiences.

In the example of the book store, they are not only hindering the novelist’s chances of bigger success, but they are shooting themselves in the foot as well.  Perhaps her books would be best in more than one location in the store.   If the book was a memoir, sure you can put it in the African American section, but why not also put it in the memoir section?  To not honor all of what the book is meant to be could clearly be a case for being perceived as a little prejudiced.  To not honor all of what your art is meant to be will translate into bad audience development as well.

So, the message is clear.  Sure, go ahead and label, but do not limit your labeling.  Instead, get very honest and open and brainstorm the different audiences that would enjoy the different facets about your art.  This way you not only will find your own niche, but you will find all of your niche audiences you can begin to connect with.

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

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Filed under arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development