To succeed in our never-ending quest to make culture and the arts more relevant in the lives of people, all we have to do (online) is approach the right people at the right time and place with the right message through the right communication channel.
Simply put, don’t tweet about overflowing toilets unless you want to make a point about the pressing need for maintenance funds. And in that case, be sure to ask at the beginning of the month, when people just received their paychecks.
The museum of the 21st century is as successful in being relevant to people, as Google and Facebook ads are. (Or, if you prefer, will be in the near future.) In fact, we can use the very tools Google and Facebook ads provide us to prove that the more relevant we make our content, the more likely they are to engage with it.
In the chart below I’ve plotted a number of Facebook ads we ran. The potential reach of the ad is on the horizontal axis, on the vertical each ads true reach (normalized to a similar number of impressions per ad). The CTR chart of the same data is very much alike.
Without a doubt, ads aimed at a specific target group, with a specific message, almost always outperform the more general ads.
Culture suffers from an ever worse image, at least in the Netherlands. Culture, almost, has become a dirty word. When a couple of months ago it became apparent that culture in the Netherlands would be severely cut, the response was a countrywide scream for culture. Like, people really screaming for culture… I believe that’s about the worst thing you can do to promote culture.
Rather than screaming, this video focuses on the intrinsic strengths of culture, the arts. It sells what culture has to offer: passion, emotion, inspiration, the dumbfounding feeling of witnessing something truly unique. This is what culture is all about. This is why culture is important!
I like to say there’s nothing easier to promote than culture, the arts. Unlike fastfood or cheap airline tickets, culture is a high-value product meaningful to nearly everybody. We only have to show it in its full strength. Then, we don’t have to scream. All we have to do is whisper.
Over the last months we’ve been busy with the launch of xwashier, our physical and digital network of historical places. In my presentation at MuseumNext and in a recent blogpost I advocated the use of integrated media strategies to make your product (exposition, activity, app) known to your audience. In this post I will share some of my experiences with the xwashier campaign that is currently unrolling.
(Despite our best intentions, in the end the media campaign accompanying the launch became the happy chaos communication tends to be. So, copy and steal ideas, but do so wisely.)
Message, target groups and designing the campaign
Xwashier is about the experience of history on the location where it actually happened. The relevance for the potential visitor/user therefore is local. Also, xwashier is a platform for local history, getting together many different organisations from around the country. Thirdly, xwashier is personal. A location is especially relevant to somebody, if s/he has a personal relation to the location.
Although we want to reach everybody (of course), from the general target groups in communication we identified opportunities online to reach day trippers, iPhone users and the networks of local institutions as well as increase our reach within our network (people enjoying history and heritage). Read the rest of this entry »
One of the recurring questions at Museums and the Web 2011 was about the new visitors technology and new media supposedly get to our institutions. Who are they? Where do they come from? And: how do we get them to be new visitors? And do they even exist?
Most talk about the new visitor goes as if there is a remote and undiscovered country full of people with nothing to do. We only have to give them the right media and technology and they’ll come running to our museums and archives and heritage sites.
Of course, there’s no such country. Rather than talking about attracting new visitors we should talk about increasing the quality of visits of people who are already visitors, and the people who can be drawn away from competition such as television, other museums and bars.
According to an MW presentation, the mobile app ARTeMuse managed to increase the time visitors spent per artwork from 30 seconds to 3 minutes. To me this means the technology created entirely new visitors, because the quality of their visit has increased dramatically.
Another example I found while finishing last quarter’s new media report today. On an average, about 0.6% of all visits to our website result in a contribution of some sort (comment, favourite, etc.). Earlier this year, we ran an architecture project with a very specific focus on people interested in culture and architecture (not “new” visitors from the supposed country). In this project, 4.9% of all visits resulted in interaction and participation. Again, not new visitors per se, yet they feel very new. Read the rest of this entry »
Born in the early 1980s, Richard Branson, his bold endeavours and the iconic brand Virgin have been a constant source of amazement in my life. Everything Sir Richard touches seems to turn into gold (just look at the ad above!). So, what would happen if he said goodbye to galactic and bought himself a museum?
1. He’d cut a lot of the red tape
The amount of bureaucracy in an average museum is appalling. “The world is full of red tape, created by committees with too much time and an overbearing desire for control” Richard would make sure decisions were made fast and using the qualities of the people involved. Not hastily, but with determination, tackling problems when they arise and taking responsibility. If you can build an airline from scratch in three months, everything is possible.
2. He’d embrace change, challenge and innovation
“You’ve got to stretch to grow.” Nothing is sacred, especially not because it has been done so for years. If something were broken, Mr. Branson would fix it. “To win, you have to break the rules.” Innovation, not for the sake of change, but to improve the product. How often do you see museums repeating the same old trick that – honestly – doesn’t really work that well? It doesn’t cost much more energy to try something new. You might discover something great. Read the rest of this entry »