If you're a long time reader of this blog or if you have my e-Book then you know that I'm not a huge fan of the "we are awesome" approach to arts marketing.
(Sidenote: Get my darn e-Book people. It's the best $12 you'll spend this week)
The "we are awesome" approach is where we use reviews, accolades, awards and the promise that the art will be an incredible, mind blowing, experience to market the work.
I don't like the approach because it's so widely used. When so many theatres, painters, dance companies, etc. rely on that method it becomes difficult to get your individual voice heard through the symphony of the same.
So that's my own rule, try to avoid bragging about the quality of your work.
Now let me tell you why I broke it.
First, a bit of background. When I'm not doing the whole Paradox thing, I'm the Director of Marketing and Communications for a fairly large, established theatre in Chicago.
The theatre has been in the midst of a pretty impressive run of shows. The last six productions in a row (dating back to June 2009) have received very strong reviews from a variety of critics and had stong ticket sales. Obviously this is a credit to the artistic team and I have been in the biz long enough to know that such a strong run is a rare and it needed to be leveraged in some way.
So give the circumstances I figured that we could go with a "we are awesome" marketing campaign that people may actually believe. If the theatre had just done 1 or 2 good shows in a row I wouldn't have tried it because . . . let's be honest . . . a lot of people can do A strong show, or have ONE strong art exhibition. That isn't nearly as impressive as some would have you believe.
But the big thing I want you to remember here is that this marketing strategy was a response to a situation.
When it comes to effective marketing it is CRUCIAL that you understand your own situation.
Marketing becomes extremely difficult when people either don't understand what they are actually selling, or they are pitching it to the wrong audience.
In marketing, awareness is key.
Alright so we have the idea. The key was trying to figure out the execution. How could we deliver the "We are awesome" marketing message, which is still a very common message, in a way that would make it stand out?
I decided that the best way to do it would be by going way over the top. We weren't going to imply that the work was good, we were going to scream it and hit people over the head with a visual sledgehammer.
That's why we created this print piece for possible new subscribers, take a look: Download Theatre Brochure
It was a piece designed to be folded so the third panel you see is the front cover. The stuff on the second page is the inside of the brochure.
You can see it wasn't very subtle. The front cover has 14 quotes from critics, we slapped so many stars on it that it looks like a small universe. I figured it was the best way to keep the message across.
The piece isn't perfect, for example, I'm not in love with the order form (it's too complex) and I'm working on fixing it but I do think it's an decent example of turning an idea into something tangible.
Any questions or feedback leave it in the comments. Otherwise I'll see you Monday.