Symphony Space is a multi-disciplinary performing arts centre in New York City. Their fundamental mission is to connect art, ideas and community through their work. Their ambition is for bold programming, presented in a warm and welcoming environment, to forge indelible relationships between artists and audiences.
Symphony Space asked MHM to help them better understand their current and potential audiences with a view to focusing their efforts on growth.
We began by surveying Symphony Space’s existing bookers to understand their relationship with and perceptions of the venue and the organisation. This also enabled us to establish which Culture Segments made up their core audiences.
Audience Atlas New York (MHM’s culture population study of the whole NYC market) revealed Symphony Space had great potential to increase audiences from the Expression and Affirmation segments.
We then held an audience forum with members of these segments. This gave deep insight into their needs and wants from visiting Symphony Space, and tested their responses to different marketing approaches.
Expression, which makes up 27% of New York’s culture market, responded strongly to Symphony Space as a creative, inclusive community.
Meanwhile, Affirmation, who comprise 20% of the city’s cultural attenders, recognised Symphony Space as providing valuable and worthwhile learning experiences and had aspirational associations with the venue.
Symphony Space were galvanised by the insights. The team immediately started working on an engagement strategy that would entice more Expression and Affirmation audiences to the venue and ensure the segments’ needs were fully met once in the space.
Key aspects of the strategy include:
Optimised brochure design
Refreshed look and feel of the venue’s interiors
These segment themes dictated the refreshed visual look of the interior spaces.
Again, using feedback directly from the audience forum:
The bar space and lobby areas have been redecorated to feel gloriously Expression, filled with colorful, emotional pictures of artists mid-creativity
The lobby provides a bright, cheerful, inclusive welcome to the venue
Wayfinding and signage have been creatively upgraded with Affirmation in mind, making navigation of a potentially confusing space clear and easy, leaving no one feeling lost or out of sorts.
Because Symphony Space has Culture Segments TagTool – which tags segment data into their Spektrix database for differentiated messaging – the team can see which segments are booking which tickets, signing up to email marketing and responding to membership invitations; and in response to which marketing.
They can monitor which approaches are more or less successful in attracting their target audiences and can tweak messages and approaches in real time to maximize return on investment.
Kristin Cook, Senior Marketing Manager, Symphony Space