By: Christian Brienen, Creative Producer Glasnost
The recently imposed mandatory closures were a hard pill to swallow for institutions like museums, art galleries and zoos. The lack of income is not the only concern for these organizations. How are they to keep in touch with their target audiences and make money when visits are off-limits? How can loyal fans as well as random visitors both become and stay engaged? If you are involved in the cultural and creative industries–be it as owner, employee or investor–and would like to learn how to tackle these issues, then read on!
The one thing that has not been paralyzed by the near-shutdown of society is content consumption. News media are at the centre of our attention, TV’s are on 24/7 and streaming services are forced to add extra servers to keep up with demand. Most cultural institutions desperately want to be sought after to a similar degree. The only way to achieve this is to start offering compelling online content as well. If the mountain won’t come to Mohammed, Mohammed must go to the mountain. This blog will discuss the options and security issues of that approach. We will also give tips on how to quickly yet effectively create striking content to increase traffic to museum, exhibition and other cultural sector sites.
There are many wonderfully creative examples of sites that still provide visitors with their daily dose of culture through videos, podcasts and virtual experiences. Google Art & Culture makes collections of about 2000 museums available to online viewers; the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam takes virtual visitors on a history tour in their podcasts and the Dutch science museum NEMO enables budding scientists to try experiments and scientific tests at home. The day after Dutch Prime Minister Rutte ordered all cultural institutions to close their doors, Het Noordbrabants Museum asked Glasnost for help. We rose to the challenge and within a day had drawn up a strategy that allowed the museum to open its virtual doors less than a week later. We engaged art lover and TV host Lucas De Man to take visitors on a virtual tour. With a small team of experts, a tight schedule, strict timeslots and a bucket of sanitizer, we managed to put together a fantastic production. Check it out here!
How to run a production with 5 feet of physical distancing
Any film production typically involves a fair number of people: director, director of photography, camera crew, sound engineers, gaffers, stylists, production assistants, runners; the list goes on. Then there is the presenter, the guests and marketing or PR people. The room is crowded in no time and these days, that is what we all try to avoid.
Keeping it intimate
A smaller crew is perfectly possible. A constant stream of information lessens the focus on appearances a little, so there is no need for a makeup artist or stylist. The essential crew can take over other, less specialized, duties. The most important thing is to keep communication plain and frequent. Establish clear rules, so physical distancing can be guaranteed. This enables a small team–existing only of a director, cameraman and sound engineer–to create many different formats, such as interviews, short documentaries, a musical performance or live stream.
But we can limit things even further, by recording a series of podcasts instead. Nobody needs to set foot inside the museum and all that is really needed is a passionate storyteller, decent equipment and a gifted and creative editor. The content that is created keeps its value even after the doors can be reopened to the public.
These days, many museums and cultural institutions are facing financial difficulties. An added problem is that top pieces are often only on exhibition for a limited period of time, after which they move to a different museum. These crowd pleasers may be gone by the time the opening restrictions are lifted. Making collections available online may present a welcome opportunity for visitors to admire the museum’s art and offer support in the form of a donation or a voucher for future entry. Exclusive access to certain parts of the site can be offered to subscription card holders and sponsored content can be created by partner organizations. There is a plethora of options that we can explore together.
In the coming weeks, Glasnost will send out regular tips and updates on marketing communication and on how to differentiate your brand or organization from the competition.
As always, we are ready to answer any communication questions you may have.