Which types of cultural organisations will people likely visit after the pandemic?

Early indications on intention to visit

Cultural organisations are closed in most countries and will be for a while. US research agency IMPACT is looking into data that can help prepare for the time when organisations can re-open.

The key data they analyse is “intent to visit”. Colleen Dilenschneider is sharing this data weekly now in her blog Know-your-own-bone.

The data is US focused so to be taken cautiously as an indicator for other markets, and it is early days, and as we see with this crisis, things can change very quickly. Keeping this in mind, I find Colleen’s conclusion interesting that

“demand for cultural enterprise will not be (at least immediately) distributed as it was pre-coronavirus.”

The data indicates demand for visits might be redistributed away from some organisation types and towards others, which will be important to consider for re-opening. Three main trends seem to emerge and sound like common sense in the current environment:

  • Cultural experiences that allow for relative freedom of movement and in particular outside spaces (such as public parks, botanic gardens, zoos, aquariums, historic sites, museums) may get increased demand;
  • Enclosed spaces with minimal visitor movement (such as performing arts) may get less demand;
  • Tactile experiences (such as those offered at science centres) may get less demand.

The data is from the US and still very fresh, thus might change, however, it might trigger some useful discussions for the planning of the eventual reopening: What practical measures will be required to allow physical distancing? What reassurances are needed? How to best communicate this.

Read the whole article on Know-your-own-bone

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Navigating the crisis

The difficult choices ahead for funders supporting the arts out of the crisis

The pandemic is a big challenge for the cultural sector and things might not be the same again once we have overcome it.

Alan Brown of WolfBrown, a research and consulting firm serving the arts and culture sector, offers a sobering view of the decisions that will need to be taken to rebuild the arts sector after the Covid-19 crisis in this article. While written from a US perspective, it provides challenging food for thought relevant in other parts of the world.

For arts funders, the moral dimensions of the COVID-19 crisis are heartbreaking but unavoidable.

Alan Brown

In a sector where many are under financial strain even in the best of times, some of the tough questions he brings up are:

  • Should funders continue supporting the same organizations they give grants to year after year, or shift focus to other, more vulnerable organizations?
  • Should support of institutions be prioritized above support of self-employed arts workers?
  • Should funding be prioritized for keeping viable nonprofits going, or for salvaging the assets of those whose only option is bankruptcy?
  • Or, should capital be preserved for supporting the eventual ramp up of programming activity amongst those fortunate enough to survive?

His article kicks off a series of papers, blogs and announcements by WolfBrown that will examine the arts sector’s response to COVID-19. Read the article here, where you can also subscribe to the series.

You can’t deliver CX without EX

What can we do to create better employee experiences and thereby better customer experiences?

What can we do to create better employee and customer experiences? This was the question asked at the recent Transform Your Employee & Customer Experience event hosted by Customer Radar and HROnboard.

While the event was focused on commercial contexts, I found it particularly relevant to cultural organisations. Audience research often shows that interaction with staff at cultural organisations majorly influences satisfaction with the visit (see for example this post by Colleen Dilenschneider).

“The way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers.”

Richard Branson

The customer experience is strongly influenced by staff. And staff are influenced by their experience in their organisation. Aligning the employee and the customer experience therefore seems a logical focus, in particular in services with customer contact at their heart.

The event offered insights and ideas of what we can do to improve both the CX and the EX. Here is a list of the presenters and what they spoke about:

  • Owning your onboarding (Peter Forbes, HROnboard)
  • Creating an employee experience that mirrors your CX (Edan Haddock, Flybuys Australia)
  • Building a foundation of customer-centric leadership (Mel Rowsell, Wisdom at Work)
  • Mapping your CX & EX to own your critical moments (Briana Millar, Tonkin & Taylor)
  • Measure your CX; grow your business (Mat Wylie, CustomerRadar)

Read on for a summary of their insights and advice.

Image: HROnboard

Customer-centric culture – only a buzz word?

Is customer centricity only a buzz word?

Many companies pay lip service to being customer-centric, but don’t actually put it into practice. When used primarily as a buzzword, it’s no surprise the results are only buzzword-deep” says the Marketoonist and shares some data: The CMO Council found that “only 14 percent of marketers would say that customer-centricity is a hallmark of their companies, and only 11 percent believe their customers would agree with that characterization.”

I wonder whether one of the reasons might be that it is left to the marketing people and not approached in a multi-functional way?

See his cartoon below and read on at Marketoonist.

If you are looking for a way to place audiences at the centre of your organisation, have a look at Tear Up the Audience Rulebook – a transformational workshop methodology developed and facilitated by InsightUnlocked in collaboration with Sally Manuireva Consulting
Find out more  or get in touch

Humor, play and fun are serious work

Creating the environment in museums for authentic learning experiences

An interesting piece on the idea of authentic learning and the conditions it requires in museums.

Alli Rogers Andreen, Community Engagement Coordinator at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, discusses the importance of play, of finding multiple entry points and considering what participants bring to the discussion for a good learning environment. And she suggests to avoid setting up divisions – between “real” learning and “just playing” and – between teacher and learner as we can be teachers and learners at the same time and learn and play at the same time.

Read more on Art Museum Teaching

Did the ‘pay-as-you-stay’ trial increase attendance?

To follow-up a previous blog post, here are the first results of the flexible pricing experiment at a German museum.

Weserburg Museum für Moderne Kunst in Bremen tried a “pay-as-you-stay” model, charging 1 Euro per 10 minutes of a visit.

First results show that visitor numbers increased while maintaining steady income levels, reports Tom Schoessler, Managing Director of the museum. To get a better understanding of the effects, they will run another test this month. Encouraging experimentation, Tom Schloessler states “One thing is for sure: trying something new did not hurt.”

Read the article
Check out Weserburg Museum

Pricing announcement on the museum’s website (March 2020)

New report: Digital Culture 2019

New study by Nesta and Arts Council England.

Digital Culture 2019 is a new report on the impact and use of technology in the arts and culture sector, from Arts Council England and Nesta. While focused on England, it offers some interesting insights as well as trends over 2013-2019.

This finding caught my eye: “Digital technology is not having a greater positive impact on audience development objectives than in previous years, and the impact of digital on reaching international audiences has fallen from 33 per cent of organisations reporting major impact in 2013 to 28 per cent in 2019.

A long read for the weekend or browse the highlights; there are also fact sheets per art form available to download: Digital Culture 2019