What we've done

We've worked with some amazing clients, achieving fantastic things. Here are a few examples of how we've helped out.

 

Arts Marketing Association and British Council

Audience development and marketing training

 

The AMA gave us a call and asked if we could help out developing and delivering a range of training programmes for the UK, Greece and Poland. The focus was on practical and applicable arts marketing and audience development practice, for participants with different levels of skill, knowledge and experience. We delivered programmes the length and breadth of the UK, with some fantastic people from a wide variety of arts organisations and venues. The outcomes of the sessions were great, and getting to see Warsaw and Athens was a bonus. The follow-up work, including coaching sessions, has further informed how to develop and deliver these important training programmes.

Heart of Glass, Creative People & Places

Audience development, partnerships and marketing systems

 

Just because 'we' all know that the arts are great, enriching and life enhancing in 100s of amazing ways, doesn't mean that the good people of St. Helens are all entirely convinced. So Heart of Glass was created. Local engagement remains the objective – with partners as part of the communications solution, positioning the programme with local and wider media, getting the marketing systems and data working, building local and regional advocacy and developing in-house skills. We spent a year with the team and partners, developing skills, identifying priorities, advising on campaigns, and linking them to the media – through training, management, mentoring. Their energy and commitment has seen them become an embedded part of the town's cultural community and more importantly the wider communities. Photo Stephen King.

Liverpool Biennial

Branding, marketing, launch, PR, digital

 

For the 2016 Biennial, we were responsible for the strategic oversight and managing the marketing team’s delivery of the city-wide partnership campaign through to launch. The 14-week free festival included more venues and locations than before – over 20 – located across the city, using established and unexpected spaces. Each biennial has its own campaign identity within the established brand identity and this had to be consistently delivered across all partner venues/locations. In addition to working with partner venues, Helen led the strategic marketing relationships with city partners including Visit Liverpool, Merseytravel, Arriva North West, Culture Liverpool, and managed the agency partnerships including design, PR, advertising, digital and evaluation.  The 2016 festival had already received more media coverage than previous festivals within a month of launch. 

Curious Minds

Audience development, communications, advocacy

 

Curious Minds do wonderful and important things: committed to enabling children and young people to have the opportunity to participate in culture. The evidence is powerful – this makes better young people with better outlooks, confidence and prospects. They work with schools, community and arts organisations all over the North West of England. But, have you heard of them? Do you know everything that they do? How you could get involved or benefit? Well, our task was to work with the whole team to help them get better at communications – inside the organisation, with their stakeholders, with government, with media, with communities. A combination of mentoring, training, strategic planning, campaign advice, advocacy, recruitment support and generally being there,  has been put in place over an extended period. The work is ongoing, and has been rolled-on to 2018. The organisation is growing, working with an updated brand, a new base in Preston, and a rapidly growing profile and reputation in the region and also nationally.

The Piece Hall

Marketing, audience development, major events strategies

 

As part of a committed business planning team spanning finance, heritge, property and audiences, we led the development of (HLF Stage C-E RIBA) Marketing Plan and Major Events Strategy, and updated the Audience Development Plan, alongside the Activity Plan, which as part of the Business Plan was successful in securing a £7m award, and in the process created a new trust based on the models recommended in the Business Plan. The new Piece Hall is due to launch in 2017.

British Ceramics Biennial

Branding, marketing development, organisational development, launch campaign, PR, ticketing, research, digital

 

We are also Directors of BCB and have been working on the contemporary ceramics festival in Stoke-on-Trent since its inception in 2008. Working as part of a small team with responsibility for marketing, communications, sponsorship and advocacy, we have forged strong partnerships with the city’s tourism and regeneration teams to establish the festival as a major event for the city and region. We and the team have worked closely with local industry, community groups, transport and hospitality providers and the cultural sector to develop a unique festival rooted in its ceramics heritage, but with international appeal. We are now expanding the year round programme, building on the £6m+ of economic activity and £5m+ media coverage generated to date. BCB is now a key partner in the city’s bid to become the UK City of Culture 2021.

Norwich City of Culture Bid Team

Cultural tourism, place-making, audience development

 

As part of the project team, we took a lead on cultural tourism, place-shaping, branding and marketing in the latter stages of the final bid process for the City of Norwich. These were manifest in the proposed step changes we developed, which included:

  • Embedding Culture into Local Development – including a 10-year strategy placing culture and the cultural planning approach as a cross-cutting theme for all areas of the city.
  • Growing Tourism in the City – with Norwich as a regional tourism gateway, supported by a new dynamic evidence model, which spans tourism, culture and heritage.
  • Raising External Perceptions of the City and its Cultural Offer – targeting perceptions, national media coverage and attitudes and building the association of culture with the city.
  • Strengthening the City’s Cultural Ecology – using strong cultural leaders as key cultural assets, working together in new ways.

Marketing communications planning had a focus on commercially driven campaigns, using attack branding, new media and strongly advocated strategic partnerships, and audience development for a clearly defined set of target markets. New agencies, partnerships and elevated programming and resources would deliver and maintain the step change in the visitor economy and image of the city. Whilst they did not win, they did go on to be come a UNESCO City of Literature.

Manchester International Festival

branding, marketing development, organisational development, launch campaign, PR, ticketing, research, digital

 

Borne out of the success of the Commonwealth Games and Cultureshock in 2002, of which Helen was part of the team that set up and delivered the cultural programme, and setting up the festival as the Marketing Director for the inaugural festival in 2007. A close working relationship with Marketing Manchester and Visit Manchester enabled the festival to target visitors and the media years in advance of the first festival and raise the profile of both the festival and the city in key domestic and international markets. The breakdown of visitors for the festival demonstrated substantial local, regional, national and international visitors, a major achievement for the first year of the festival and a strong benchmark for future festivals.

FutureEverything

Marketing, audience development, organisational development

 

Our work with FutureEverything has been as diverse and hard to categorise as the festival itself. A forum for ideas, music, social technologies and debate, we worked with the team and board to help it rebrand, relocate, recruit, reinvent and renew as an organisation, a key player and partner in Manchester's cultural offer on the global stage. 

Imperial War Museum North & The Manchester Museum

Audience development plan

 

The Manchester Museum and Imperial War Museum North came together to set the national standard for the next generation of inclusive volunteer programmes. But museums have had mixed success in engaging hard-to-reach audiences, let alone volunteers. What did the people they were targeting actually want from them? We undertook a feasibility study to find out. We consulted with museum staff and volunteers, which was illuminating. But we also consulted with community workers, volunteer bureau, and local non-visitors, including refugees and asylum-seekers. Our 50+ recommendations focused on targeting & community engagement, skills development & vocational training, public programmes & interpretation, management planning, integration and partnerships. The report contributed to a substantial and successful Heritage Lottery Fund award.

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