Tag: audience development
NHB’s Night Festival 2008
I love reading Nina Simon’s Museum 2.0 blog for her cutting insights on stuff happening in my neck of the woods. One of the issues that she recently wrote about – audience development – is something that museums and art galleries in Singapore are also grappling with.
In her post, Nina questioned the need for museums to organise “hip” events to attract younger audiences at the expense of alienating a broader more diverse crowd. While many museums have shifted from being a “cabinet of curiosities” for an elite few to “community destinations”, the question now arises whether their activities should be narrowly focused on distinct segments or appeal more broadly across visitor groups.
Finding treasure requires a lot of investigating and digging. Just ask Indiana Jones! (source)
In any successful marketing endeavour, one must be willing to think, live and breathe like one’s potential customer. This also means that preconceived notions and prejudices must be tested and thrown out the window if they are proven untrue.
What are some of these common misconceptions and myths? Let me offer some examples.
Dinosaurs are a surefire hit, but should all museums have them? (taken at Melbourne Museum)
Should museums and galleries always attract the largest and widest crowd possible, attracting/attacking every customer segment? Can they be scholastically superior, operationally efficient, highly entertaining, marketing savvy, and customer oriented at the same time? Are major blockbuster exhibitions the only way to draw a big crowd?
Some of these issues were tackled in this excellent post by Nina Simon (of Museums 2.0 blog) in an interview she conducted with John Falk and Beverly Sheppard, authors of the book “Thriving in the Knowledge Age: New Business Models for Museums and Other Cultural Institutions”. Admittedly, I haven’t read the book yet but I am definitely going to check it out.
There is an underlying tension in the field of cultural management where one has to balance between giving customers what they want and preserving artistic integrity. This is especially prevalent in what we term as the ‘high arts’ like classical music, ballet, theatre and museums.
Against the ever growing competition from lifestyle activities coupled with the ever shrinking discretionary time of today’s consumers, it appears suicidal for art organisations to hold their ground for the sake of their art. Considered by many to be a discretionary expense (compared to purchasing groceries, fuel and homes), cultural activities have never faced such tremendous competition as the present age.
One of the greatest challenges facing communicators and marketers in the arts is the balance between satisfying artistic input and commercial (or public) interest.