Thursday, October 22, 2015

Seeking Your Stories of Relevance and Irrelevance for a New Book Project

ArrrrrrrrDear Museum 2.0 friends,

I know I that I haven't been sharing a lot on the blog, but behind the scenes, you've inspired me to write more than ever. Energized by the response to the blog series this summer on relevance, I've decided to write a book on the topic. My goal is to make it short, the focus tight, and release it quickly: hopefully spring 2016.

The book will roughly cover:
  • what relevance is, why it matters, and when it doesn't
  • relevance to WHO - identifying and making legitimate connections with communities of interest
  • relevance to WHAT - making confident connections to mission, content, and form
  • relevance as a GATEWAY to deep experiences vs. relevance as a PROCESS of deepening involvement
  • measuring relevance 
  • irrelevance - its dangers and distractions
My goal is for this book to be relevant to anyone on a mission to matter more. That's where you come in. I'm in research mode, and I'm seeking stories and case studies from diverse institutions about attempts, successes, failures, and discoveries related to relevance. I'm specifically seeking stories from:
  • science institutions
  • media organizations
  • institutions that focus on a specific cultural/ethnic group
  • religious institutions
  • historical societies
  • theater
  • dance
  • parks
  • libraries
  • organizations outside the US
  • anyone willing to share an honest story related to irrelevance
You can share a short anecdote or a detailed case study--I'm looking for sources at all levels at this point. THANK YOU in advance for helping make this book as relevant and compelling as possible (and yes, I think those two terms are quite different and am writing about the difference in the book).

If you have a story, or know someone with a story, please leave a comment here or send me an email. If you are reading this via email and wish to leave a comment, you can join the conversation here. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Use This: Audience Research in Rotterdam Provides a Template for Smarter Segmenting

Imagine a concise, well-designed report on audiences for cultural activities in a large urban city. Imagine it peppered with snappy graphics and thought-provoking questions about connections to research and audience development in your community.

Stop imagining and check out the Rotterdam Festival's 2011 report on five years of trends in audience data and related audience development efforts. They didn't do anything shocking or groundbreaking, but what they did, they did very well:

  • They identified the unique characteristics of Rotterdam citizens. 
  • They created psychographic profiles of eight target types of cultural consumer in Rotterdam, based on existing European market segmentation research. 
  • They interviewed and learned more about people representing these eight types. They identified the types' distinct interests and concerns, aspirations, media usage, and barriers to participation.
  • They used clear, evocative language (even in translation!) to convey their ideas. 
While their approach is not one I have used, I learned a lot from it. I recommend checking out the short-form report [pdf] and considering how the work in Rotterdam might inspire or support your own work on audience identification, understanding, and development. Hats off to Johan Moerman and the crew for making and sharing this work.