Arts company strategy in 2015.

It’s a new year. It’s a logical, natural time to address your arts company strategy.

Not your funding grant or even your business plan – not just yet. Use this time to explore innovative ways of reaching audiences, generating revenue and engaging the arts community.

Start afresh and identify ways in which you can help your arts organisation grow.

We all know government funding is receding and competition for philanthropic support is fierce. In fact philanthropy is probably your least most reliable funding stream – so just how much time should you be spending on it?

Revenue generated through venue ticket sales is limited to the number of seats and the number of shows. Where else to place and monetise your content?

In 2015, grow your arts organisation in the following ways:

Generate new revenue streams online and on social media

Social media presents new opportunities for arts organisations to generate new revenue streams. In December 2014, there were 13,600,000 people on Facebook, 13,300,000 on Youtube and 2,791,300 on Twitter. This means eyeballs.

Why not enlarge the amphitheatre? It costs $9.99 to download a movie from iTunes and there are millions of committed arts consumers worldwide. Think of it as selling tickets to a show on Google Play. Other ideas include paid web casts with artistic directors on their approach or technique or limited edition merchandise (for example photographic prints).

With careful thought into protecting value, arts companies can generate consistent (as opposed to seasonal) revenue streams through social media.

Drive business innovation and growth

Increasing global competition has forced Australia to find new ways to compete. Art has always involved creativity, innovation and alternate forms of thinking – exactly what today’s organisations need.

Artists are the original unique thinkers. When arts meet science, business or politics, the resulting innovation can be astounding and world changing.

There are traditional relationships between artists and commercial creative industries but there are also untapped opportunities to use the ideas, minds and inspiration of artists in many other commercial and industrial contexts.

The arts also facilitate B2B interaction. Who are always in the first twenty rows of every arts event? The elite. Political, business, community and arts industry identities. The arts gets people into a theater, a room, a tent, a festival hall. When businesses interact, collaborate and explore solutions, they enhance their ability to solve problems.

Pursue arts partnerships

What can you do for other industries? In 2015, look to arts partnerships to build a strong and consistent revenue stream. In addition to driving business efficiency and innovation, the arts industry can also help businesses improve:

  • Brand awareness and identity: An arts partnership is useful for a business wanting to position itself as creative, innovative, youthful and fresh.
  • Employee engagement: The presence of an artist can create excitement in the workplace and encourage often logically or analytically minded employees to think outside the square about their current work.
  • Social impact: Changing the conversation with society, funneling socially motivated capital towards new experiences and products/services.

Support Australia’s interests

When applying for funds from government organisations, it is important to remember what the arts has to offer Australia:

  • The arts encourages foreign investment: When politicians and highly influential people speak eloquently and admiringly about Australia overseas, the impact is far greater than any form of advertising.
  • The arts drive tourism: Tourism is driving our economy. In the year ending 2012, there were 1.06 million international cultural visitors to Victoria staying an average length of 26.7 nights. To the artist, the culture creator, it means being highly valued by the community, governments and organisations.

In 2015, grow your arts organisation. Seize opportunities for new revenue streams and growth. Help your artists reach their potential and do what they do best.

Talk to us arts company strategy. Look out for our workshop series.

Image credit: jc.winkler via Flickr Creative Commons