The Art of an Arts Advertising Agency

Marketing museums and performing arts should connect with the community and build relationships.

Arts Advertising Agency

Innis Maggiore is a true arts ad agency, believing that advertising itself is an art.

Just because you’re an arts organization or cultural institution doesn’t mean you should view marketing as something to do while holding one’s nose. Not only is marketing the arts far from crass, it’s more necessary than ever. Don’t slink in with hesitation; jump in with enthusiasm. We’ll make it easy. Innis Maggiore is a true arts advertising agency expert, believing that advertising itself is an art.

We have extensive and deep experience marketing with arts organizations, museums, performing arts organizations, and arts institutional organizations. We do so with authenticity to personally connect based around the belief that something singularly special, remarkably memorable, and utterly unique happens when people experience cultural events.

Can you hit a C5 note … or recreate the Mona Lisa with Legos?

Fortunately, creating art and celebrating art aren’t the same thing.

Yet Innis Maggiore does employ the finest of commercial art expertise to help market artistic endeavors and cultural events. Wonderful art direction and exquisite design intertwine with scintillating copywriting and compelling content to present marketing that persuades while it intrigues. Most importantly, as America’s #1 Positioning Ad Agency, Innis Maggiore bases all arts marketing on strategy and differentiation.

Innis Maggiore has extensive experience across all categories of arts marketing — destinations such as Akron Children’s Museum, Canton Museum of Art, and Massillon Museum; arts organizations ArtsinStark and Arts of Stark County Inc.; performing arts groups like Canton Symphony Orchestra and Vocal Fusion; venues including Cultural Center for the Arts, North Canton Playhouse, Ohio Star Theatre, and Players Guild; along with educational and instructional organizations such as Making Noise Ministries and Sempre Piano School.

Marketing cultural events and organizations is more than showing a pretty picture or performance clips. As a leading arts advertising agency, Innis Maggiore does more than seek to put more people in seats and eyes on artwork, instead connecting with people and building their relationship with the arts. In essence, culture is community.

This entails learning about the current and prospective audiences while enhancing experiences. The former is guided by a process of customer segmentation, persona development, and journey mapping. The latter is based upon that process with the aim of increasing engagement and encouraging participants to share their experiences with the arts.

Innis Maggiore works with our arts, museums, and performing arts organizational partners to deliver the right message at the right time in moments that matter and measure the impact. That could mean a connected TV effort in concert with a digital and social program or a geofenced event offer tied to billboard placements around exhibition locations and performance venues.

Innis Maggiore uses audience-centric strategies to drive smart marketing endeavors that are focused on connections with visitors and viewers, utilizing compelling storytelling with timely and meaningful content. Our marketing functions for the arts deliver value to cultural consumers, manage customer relationships, and create sharable content. As a leading marketing agency for arts, performing arts, and museums, Innis Maggiore engages varied audiences based on the idea that arts are forever rather than a series of individual stops and starts based on squares on a calendar.

Sometimes our arts marketing comes from an unconventional angle. Innis Maggiore created the concept of naming a new line of Louisiana-Pacific siding products, featuring a bold palette of colors, after classic American artist Norman Rockwell. We conducted focus group sessions that resulted in choosing the approach, then secured licensing from the Norman Rockwell estate to brand the product the Norman Rockwell Siding Collection.

The arts need positioning, too.

One might associate brand positioning with consumer packaged goods, but any category of business — whether product or service — can benefit from having a clearly differentiated brand in order to stand out in the marketplace against competitors.

Cultural offerings are not as tangible as a physical product. After all, it’s not necessarily the building in which a performance takes place or the gallery where an installation is found (though both can play a part in deciding to attend). These venues can serve as destinations of choice by being marketed as brands. Plays, art exhibits, and concerts are all time-limited, but that doesn’t represent their inherent value. More important are the emotionally varied responses different audience segments experience when the best combination of destination brand and cultural event happen.

As America’s #1 Positioning Ad Agency, Innis Maggiore puts positioning strategy first and then bases tactics on a brand’s differentiation. Innis Maggiore is the only full-service agency with decades of experience as an arts and cultural event marketer to help venues and organizations establish their brand position as a core part of an overall marketing strategy.

We want you to save money and use your limited budget in the best manner. That results from brand differentiation with a strategic and messaging focus. With so much clutter related to activities and destinations, the arts can benefit from all the focus it can get. That gives you cultural marketing that’s stronger, more effective, and more efficient.

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Massillon Museum

Rebranding that’s more welcoming

Massillon Museum is a small but nice, two-story attraction in the small but nice town best known for high school football. Their operating budget is smaller and less nice, while their marketing budget is more so in both aspects. The museum had been given an opportunity to run free spots with the area’s cable company and asked Innis Maggiore to produce a new commercial. As part of the agency’s commitment to supporting the community and supporting the arts, Innis Maggiore donated its time toward this effort and enlisted the help of a local video production firm to do the same.

The marketing team at the museum explained that people were intimidated, thinking that the museum was for the elite and not for the average person. Given the problem, Innis Maggiore decided that a TV spot alone would not be enough and recommended a total rebranding effort. We created a more friendly (brand) moniker, a less formal nickname that was a contraction of the full name: from Massillon Museum … to MassMu, and designed a new visual identity system, also more friendly, inviting, contemporary, and colorful than that associated with the museum.

The TV, built upon the new brand identity, conveyed the sentiment that the museum was part of the community and for anyone. This was largely done through the fun, friendly, and fresh style, but also was symbolized by showing actual museum objects (artifacts, sculptures, paintings) outside of the museum setting in places “real” people go often and feel comfortable. The limited copy (“It’s art. It’s history. It’s Massillon. It’s you.”) also contributes to the message connecting the viewer, the town, and the museum.

Innis Maggiore and the production company also went beyond what could have been a low-budget approach, creating two spots instead of one, shooting in high definition, and using state-of-the-art visual effects and compositing editors. Objects were shot in the museum and then seamlessly combined with location images and additional effects plus some pretty engaging, upbeat tunes.

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Pro Football Hall of Fame

How partnering can plus-size media value

In April 2007, the Pro Football Hall of Fame invited Innis Maggiore to recommend a media campaign designed to increase fall attendance and gift shop receipts at its museum in Canton. We had a limited budget to work with — requiring us to pull another $2 for $1 rabbit out of the hat. No problem.

The first additional 20 percent was a result of applying to the Ohio Department of Travel and Tourism for co-op funds in return for the department’s identification in Hall of Fame advertising. The next step was to identify the demographic profile of the typical HOF attendee, and then identify which medium had the greatest impact on them. It was TV and, not surprisingly, football-related programming.

We know that negotiating clout can be significantly increased by concentrating spending with just a few media suppliers — or even partnering with just one – rather than thinly spreading the dollars among several media outlets. So we asked the major Cleveland TV stations to submit proposals for the entire budget — winner take all.

After selecting the best proposal, we started negotiations to enlarge the benefits for our client. In addition to the 30-second commercial schedules in Cleveland Browns and high school football programming, we negotiated into the package benefits such as: 10-second commercials with admission incentives; 5-second program sponsorship billboards; a feature segment we proposed to them with the title “Future Hall Of Famer”; football trivia contests with HOF admission and gift shop prizes; appearances on local news programming by HOF representatives; bonus commercials; and large Leaderboard ads on the station’s four Browns and high school football web pages with links to various HOF incentive downloads.

The results: By partnering with one TV station, and with further funding from Ohio Department of Travel and Tourism, we delivered an advertising campaign that generated more than $2 of value for each $1 spent.

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Canton Museum of Art

The art and soul of success

Event advertising can be tricky; particularly in the case of an event that runs over an extended time. You need to balance a degree of urgency (since it is finite) with the main story of the attraction itself.

The Canton Museum of Art was planning a spring exhibit on the work of a sculptor who depicts African wildlife in situ. The artist actually sculpts an animal, for example, within its habitat — not from photos. So, if the animal decides, “I’m outta here: The Mask Singer’s on in ten minutes,” the artist has lost his subject and has to follow it or find it to complete the job.

The show was called “The Soul of Africa,” and we were assigned to add the heart to the soul. The exhibit was intended to appeal to both adults and children, promote the show, and increase awareness of the museum itself.

In addition to the usual newspaper and radio announcements, we supplemented the promotion with beautiful outdoor advertising that ran in the perimeter of Stark County.

We gave our heart and soul, and they gave us their bodies, in droves. In fact, the museum had one of its most successful opening receptions in its history, with the sculptor himself commenting that it was one of the best-attended premieres of his entire career. The exhibit was also very popular with children, bringing in many more families and school tours than usual. The main corporate sponsor (Diebold) even asked to have its own personal reception, drawing more than 300.

Our work also won Innis Maggiore an ADDY Award and led to further special projects, including Andrew Wyeth: Helga Pictures and an international Wagner Symposium.

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Cultural Center for the Arts

Funding times five

The Fund for the Arts Campaign provided operating support through an annual community drive for five member organizations: The Canton Ballet, The Canton Civic Opera, The Canton Symphony, The Art Institute, and The Players Guild.

The challenge and goal each year of the Fund for the Arts Campaign is to increase giving by those who have already contributed in the past and increase participation by those who do not currently support the Arts Programming.

We recommended a strategy of turning famous pieces of art into the campaign “poster children.” The advantages included instant recognition, trustworthiness, and the immediate conveyance of the ideas of fine art and art education. “Gothic Couple” came on the heels of the previous year’s “The Thinker” and was succeeded by Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

The campaign was the most successful in the Cultural Center’s history to date, exceeding its goal by raising $835,609. These campaigns laid the groundwork for the million-dollar campaigns that now occur on an annual basis for the arts.

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Great Lakes Science Center

With discovery comes wonder

The Great Lakes Science Center, a frequent home to the curious of all ages in Northeast Ohio, needed to bring its first website more in line with what they’re all about (exploration, a fun experience, and learning).

Our approach was to take the most engaging elements of the actual museum and extend that experience to their web presence.

We featured a permanent, stimulating “discovery” area of science and invention activities. In addition, we provided the client with easy access to update the site themselves (for the timely promotion of its frequently changing exhibits, on-site events, and news items).

Kids loved the new “science” sounds of the site. The web activities deepen the firsthand museum experience. The staff’s ability to instantly update the site allows them to tie in exhibits with current events.

Get proven arts, museum, and performing arts advertising that works

Whether you are looking for a rebrand, a website rebuild, a marketing campaign for a launch of a new exhibit, or help with driving more traffic to your destination, Innis Maggiore brings decades of experience as a leading arts, museum, and performing arts advertising agency that specializes in collaborating with venues and organizations. For real results from your cultural marketing efforts, reach out to us today.

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