There are some core skills that creative arts marketers exploit. Julie Aldridge, the AMA’s Executive Director, sets out the types of creativity you can find in a good arts marketer or across a talented marketing team.
Photo used under Creative Commons from jeanbaptisteparis
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. While a great image can’t turn a badly-conceived or poorly-targeted message into something effective, creative use of design, illustration, photography, animation, and even augmented reality can really help a message gain awareness and the grab attention of your target audience.
New channels are emerging all the time, making the role of marketing more diverse and more creative.
A great marketer, or marketing team, will have a mix of key creative skills within their toolkit. Here are some of the core skills that will deliver fantastic results (the links will take you to examples of good practice over on CultureHive). These skills could be within you as a marketer, or represented across your whole team.
The creative marketer’s toolkit
Someone who has a natural ability to connect with the public and create an emotional response can develop campaigns which have a long-lasting impact on audiences.
Back in 2008, Welsh National Opera mailed a pack of ten WNO branded tissues the night after people attended a performance of La Bohème (one of the weepiest shows in the repertoire). The slogan “If WNO made you cry last night…” was printed on each tissue, which showed through the packet. When opened, the tissues revealed details of Madam Butterfly and Carmen – their next two highly-charged, emotional productions.
As a result of the campaign, ticket sales for Madam Butterfly and Carmen rose sharply – in many cases doubling, and with sales for one performance actually trebling. Read the full case study on CultureHive.
Someone who acts as a catalyst for new ideas and creative thinking within the team can consistently create the right environment for others to be creative, playful and brilliant. Creative Huddle have created a guide to how to experience better brainstorming sessions.
Someone who can produce rich, engaging content for a variety of audiences, and who understands how to create content that people want to share, discuss and contribute to.
After engaging tens of thousands of visitors for more than two years, the “I Went to MoMA and…” project is MoMA’s longest-running campaign to date, and a potent reminder that the best kind of marketing lets the public in to play.
The responses to the project were so personal, authentic, funny, and observant that they built a campaign around them – in print, digital, billboards, even on a 60-foot fence banner on 53rd Street outside the museum. MoMA discovered that enthusiastic public participation, which lay at the core of the campaign, propelled it beyond a marketing tactic, leading to its creation as a digital feature of the visitor experience in the museum lobby over the last few years. Read the MoMA case study.
A leader for the marketing team or organisation brings staff together to develop a collective understanding of the vision and purpose of the company. They help define the impact your organisation wants to have on the public. This collective understanding is used to clearly define the brand identity and key messages that need to be communicated. This person’s work ensures a consistency of approach across the organisation. In ‘Lip service just won’t do’ you can discover how strong leadership cemented the Barbican’s brand.
Someone who can take your audience/visitor figures, turn this data into insight to inform future campaigns, and ensure that you’re talking about the right things to the right people and having the maximum impact. Learn how to measure the impact of your online marketing.
Someone who can brief external designers and agencies, and effectively manage them to deliver great creative on time and within budget. Find out more with the IPA’s best practice guide to briefing agencies.
Someone with solid digital and design skills who can produce and adapt creative in-house Read Lume Labs’ guide to creating beautiful infographics for the arts.
Someone who can provide strategic focus through integrated campaign plans that clearly define the role of each channel across campaigns – whether that’s your blog, brochure, magazine, website, video, PR, outdoor media, email…
Who are you targeting with each communication? How does each channel help you achieve core objectives? What messages will grab people’s attention? Which channels will generate interest and inspire people about your story or event? What might build desire to take part and get involved? And how does each element of the campaign reinforce one another to drive sales or attendance?
If you’d like to learn more about great examples of creative cultural marketing, check out these resources on CultureHive:
- Maximising the impact of your brand and design – Manchester Art Gallery’s approach to branding research and implementation
- Typography and illustration as effective marketing tools
- How the National Theatre of Scotland use film as part of their creative toolbox
- Why a picture is worth a thousand words – what makes a good marketing photograph?
- Raising awareness through digital animation – how the RSC used animation to launch a project.
- Augmented reality – the development of an interactive game to promote a film.
Help the sector grow
We’re on the lookout for more creative examples to inspire arts marketers across the sector. Campaigns which reach the heart as well as the mind, which leave people in no doubt that they want to get involved with the arts.