In the year that the Edinburgh International Festival celebrated its sixtieth birthday, this presentation discussed how an understanding of audiences contributes to the development of the Festival brand, illustrating how in 60 years it has transformed a City not known for its festivals into one that attracts millions of visitors and generates over £200 million each year.
This festival’s job is to present work which is unfamiliar and different in some way for local, national and international audiences. If it is something that easily can be seen elsewhere, or at another time of year, there’s no reason to come to the Festival. The core of the Festival brand therefore is to do something different, special and unfamiliar.
Focus groups seem to support this idea, suggesting that what audiences like about the festival is that it challenges them and that change and reinvention are constants.
Selling the brand requires consistency of communication, but there is a constant practical tension between campaigns which support the overall brand, particularly in national and
international markets and tactical marketing aimed at bringing in people to individual events. This pressure is particularly acute when audience targets are as broad as the EIF’s.