Shifting perspectives by shifting to digital?

This blog was posted by Selma Willcocks on June 8, 2015 as part of the CultureHive Digital Marketing Academy. You can find out more about the project here.
Shifting perspectives by shifting to digital?

I started out Culturehive’s DMA programme already half-way through one of Artsadmin’s biggest digital experiments to date: 2 Degrees Festival 2015. It seemed absurd to me to come up with an experiment arbitrarily when actually I could garner the most use out of my first few months as a Fellow by looking at what was already (piled) on my plate.

2 Degrees Festival is our biennial celebration of art, climate and action. With it we aim to empower people to feel they can make a change (however small) in the world/their community and we also want to establish the arts as a force for good when combatting climate issues. Our fourth festival of its kind, and the first one where (in marketing) our digital spend far outweighed other expenditure.

So why did we think we could shift perspectives by shifting to digital?

  1. Isn’t everyone? As an organisation we’re really focusing on where our audiences are, what platforms they want us to use when communicating with them and of course the ROI of all of our channels. Digital is measureable, dynamic and can be very targeted. Experimenting with this festival should help us company-wide in working out what works for us and our audiences.
  1. Two public artworks. We built (/are building) an office in a tree (aptly named TREExOFFICE) conceived by artist Natalie Jeremijenko and we had Steve Lambert’s touring installation Capitalism Works For Me! (True/False) urging passers-by to answer that very question. This gave us the freedom to not be too restricted by ‘bums on seats’ and rather think of creative ways we could profile the conversations around the themes of the festival.
  1. Knowing our target audiences. We weren’t sure if a top-down PR approach would work for our key audience types (e.g. ‘urban arts collective’, ‘climate activists’) so we tried out a blogger outreach programme – hoping to focus more on engagement than reach and we partnered with Hype app to help us reach East Londoners we don’t already have relationships with.
  1. The conversation. Our key messages to empower and stimulate conversation around issues of climate and capitalism lent itself to capturing and provoking conversations online. We made a Tumblr mini-site (and huge thanks to my Mentor Daniel for helping me SEO-wise here) and experimented with Twitter (the tree has its own Twitter here) & Facebook advertising, video content (including our overnight turnaround Capitalism films at each location), Instagram content, data capture, banner advertising….all with clear calls to action mainly around a hashtag (#2DegreesFestival… it even makes up our logo).

The festival has only just come down so evaluation follows – I’ve already learnt so much and I’m sure the learning to come will be epic…

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