Last month I was in Rotterdam to join a program of conferences called Audiences Insight/ Out. The last session organised by Flanders CultuurNet, consist in doing a workshop based in Flanders, in 2003 and 2009 for the leisure participation of Flemish people. Flanders CultuurNet has a team of 8 people who travel throughout Flanders to give personal support to local authorities and to help them in taking a more strategic approach to their culture and leisure communication. This workshop seemed to be a strategic toolkit « view on culture » which allows the user of the toolkit to create an action plan to attract more potential participants in 5 steps, taking into account their tastes, preferences and thresholds.
An example of six cultural lifestyle profiles
So, this toolkit can be a useful methodology for any cultural institution interested in knowing more about their audiences. These 5 steps are:
1. Lifestyle profiles: discover the lifestyle profiles and their characteristics. You need to think that you are not your audience, so they divided the cultural lifestyle in 6 profiles, which are ; « The discoverer, 16% », « The connoisseur, 10% », « the action seeker, 24% », « the actively relaxing, 13% », « the enjoying at home, 18% », and « the abstainer, 20% ».
- The discoverer: Broad taste, tries a lot, open to multicultural influences, probably your regular customer, greedy for entertainment, often engaged in music, visual arts and theatre and member of clubs.
- The connoisseur: Participates frequently, like the discoverer, taste more focused on classis arts, within which they like to try something new, art museums, classical music and theatre, a good book, Occasionally amusement park, zoo, often actively engaged in music, visual arts and theatre, television very goal oriented, the internet hides no secrets from them.
- The action seeker: Popular forms of culture : the fun, the hits, the kicks, especially cinema and concerts, visual arts literature can’t charm , often goes out : bar, sports, club, shopping, not very active themselves, unless with photography, watches a lot of TV, frequent media user, sometimes culture, inclined to always choose the same thing.
- The actively relaxing: Tries out cultural offerings relatively often, directed taste : popular concerts and shows, but also art galleries, family shows with the kids, urban festivals, frequent travels and trips, shops a lot, enthusiastic non-artistic hobbyists, somewhat active in clubs, no clear pattern in media usage, but little TV.
- The enjoying at home: Doesn’t participate in culture a lot, preference: classic, popular and Flemish forms of culture, mainly operetta, folk, frequent and diverse TV use, sometimes non-artistic hobbyists.
- The abstainer: Serious lack of interest, prefers to stay at home, very occasionally popular culture, hardest to reach, frequent TV watcher, reluctant attitude.
2. Lifestyles profiles in your population/audience: put your current audience on the map, and think which ones you have and which ones not yet.
3. Discover your growth groups in the future and their characteristics.
4. See which are your spot barriers and remove them:
- Practical barriers: transport, location, parking, facilities, hours, price
- Social barriers: social network, visual codes, codes of conduct
- Motivational barriers: they might prefer staying home or doing a different activity.
- Information barriers: intelligibility, signage
- Agony of choice
How to identify the score of your possible barriers
5. Action plan: Give appetite in style and speak to your audience. Write down the barriers you wish to eliminate and for each barrier the actions you plan, just for the audience you want.
Actions plans for any of your obstacles
The toolkit concludes with a series of references that will lead to the improvements needed in your institution which surfaced following the 5 steps (amongst others communications, supply, multiculturalism, accessibility, family friendliness, etc…).