A CROSS-INDUSTRY APPROACH TO INNOVATION IN THE ARTS AND CULTURE SPACE
New Markets is a consultancy specialized in innovation. We help organizations design creative strategies that register with their audiences and we build innovation capabilities. The arts and culture space is a particular passion of ours, and we apply the skills and tools we have developed with world-leading innovators to institutions in this field.
Why is this important? The digital age has introduced unprecedented competition for arts and culture organizations. With easier access to entertainment and information, consumers have a host of options to choose from. In response, arts and culture groups are fighting for their attention, even outside of today’s circumstances under COVID-19.
As with other sectors we work with, the path to innovation for arts and culture organizations is a challenging one. Institutions risk basing their ideas on assumptions about their audience they haven’t tested. Leaders then focus on the wrong questions, to which they might develop overly expensive solutions that still miss the mark. We see this with the use of technology: an organization invests heavily in a VR-based exhibit, only to find that it doesn’t resonate with visitors. Institutions may also recycle the same approaches, at the risk of seeming static. And when leaders do want to push forward novel ideas, they have to navigate the interests of boards, patrons, curators, and other stakeholders.
This is where our approach comes in. Having worked on innovation with companies as diverse as Twitter, Nestlé, and Pearson, we bring in a new perspective to the arts and culture field. From helping Nike launch new products to developing global innovation programs for Microsoft, we’ve helped organizations across the economy reach their audiences in new ways. We’ve also learned from these clients and apply innovative approaches across traditionally siloed sectors. Drawing from this experience, we can help arts and culture leaders come up with creative ideas. This can range from re-thinking how you engage with your audience to developing new revenue streams. We also have a long history of navigating uncertain environments, from one industry to the next. In a field that is heavily disrupted under COVID-19, we help organizations manage these unknowns. Finally, we’ve worked with a range of company cultures, which makes us experts in building consensus around new ideas.
CAPABILITIES IN arts and culture
New Markets Advisors has helped organizations design successful strategies by bolstering their efforts in three ways:
Navigate fast-changing environments: COVID-19 has introduced new restrictions, changing tastes, and steep revenue decline for the arts and culture field. Leveraging our experience with entering new markets, we help organizations identify novel opportunities for growth. We’ve applied our methods to a range of areas, including digital strategy, low-cost innovation, and reaching new audiences. We understand the urgency for change today, and we are adept at formulating these strategies very quickly when the circumstances require it.
Understand your audience: We help organizations connect with their communities by leveraging our expertise in a market research technique called Jobs to be Done. Combined with our qualitative and quantitative capabilities, as well as proprietary journey mapping methods, we will help you uncover your audience’s underlying motivations and understand how they evolve over time. By becoming more customer-centric, you will have the tools to engage your audience in entirely new ways.
Re-imagine your organization: Many strategic plans focus on examining current assets and setting performance targets for the next few years. We go one step further and help you rethink what your organization stands for. As we develop a core vision or help build innovation capabilities, we work closely with our clients to make sure their teams own these initiatives.
Arts and culture institutions operate in a unique space, but the innovation methods that work there are the same as those for the rest of the economy. By adopting techniques from some of the world’s top innovators and adapting them to the special circumstances of arts and culture, we create a best-of-breed approach to help you drive impact and adapt to fast-changing contexts.
ARTS & CULTURE CASE STUDY
In the public / non-profit sector, organizations have trouble garnering widespread support for highly local missions. After all, many donors prioritize initiatives that impact their own community over others. This was the challenge we faced with the Soulsville Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to the legacy of Stax Records and American soul music through its museum and youth music and education programs. Given its focus on its local neighborhood in Memphis, how could Soulsville attract more donations from outside the city, on a wider scale?
To answer this question, New Markets set out to interview a range of existing Soulsville donors across the US and internationally. Using a combination of research techniques such as Jobs to be Done and journey mapping, we probed each respondent on their history with Soulsville, from the first time they learned about the organization to the triggers behind their donations. We also used this time to explore their broader interests and other initiatives they contributed to. By examining these respondents’ full context, we could assess the drivers behind their support and activate such donors on a wider scale. Since then, Soulsville has clarified its messaging to touch the hearts of donors across the country and build a stronger, long-term rapport. We also helped them devise a more personal and engaging experience for remote donors by bringing them into the fold of Soulsville’s work.
“The Soulsville Foundation is a complicated nonprofit in that we are one organization that operates three distinct, but related, entities. New Markets Advisors did a superb job of not only understanding that in great detail, but also helping us realize what motivates donors the most, given the vast and varied work we do. Their Journey Mapping process with national and international donors was meticulous and the results they yielded have already reshaped the way we approach and maintain relationships with supporters.” – Richard Greenwald, President & CEO, Soulsville Foundation