Building audiences through collaboration

Building audiences through collaboration

By Martin Reynolds


This seminar looks at how we can build audiences, visitors and participants for the arts through collaboration and strategic working, covering four key areas: joint marketing, programming, infrastructure, and strategic development. Taking Festivals Edinburgh as a case study, it talks though developing marketing plans based on cross promotion with insight into the difficulties and challenges, the factors for success, the learning to date and how this approach can be used by others.  

There are five reasons why this approach works so well:

1. There is trust between festivals; they want to work together. This won’t work if the collaboration is forced. Furthermore, there is trust between the Festival marketing directors and Festivals Edinburgh; it is their organisation, so they can choose to stop or change the direction. In my role as marketing director, I am doing what they ask.

2. Ownership. Although it can be annoying to have a centralised resource, Festivals Edinburgh doesn't do anything that the individual festivals haven't agreed and it is accountable to them.

3. This is the same for funders. They are all involved and to that extent, all own Festivals Edinburgh. They also have a responsibility for investing and maintaining this collaborative approach. The funders have been able to have an input in ways that were not possible before with the traditional models.

4. Festivals Edinburgh is ruthlessly strategic. This takes the festivals out of their comfort zone but it is necessary in order to fulfil the research. Because it is strategic and there are no tactics, there are also no arguments about print etc. Instead there are very clear rules about what Festivals Edinburgh can’t and mustn’t do.

Resource type: Case studies | Published: 2013