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How to build a brand & an audience

Audience development

Audience development takes TIME and is ongoing. You are building a relationship with a customer and audience member, and hopefully starting to build a community. So you need to make sure you are starting this process well in advance of your show.

Who do you want to see your show? It is extremely important to get specific when building community. In an ideal world, everyone would see your show, but until then you need to get specific about who you are talking to so you can craft your relationship and conversations with them.

  • What is their age range?

  • What are their hobbies, likes, dislikes?

  • What are their demographics?

  • Where do these people get their information?

  • How can you meet them where they are at?

  • Do Market Research! Find people that align with your target audience and ask them questions about how they get information and learn about events.

This is the difference between just your friends seeing the show (who you already have a relationship with) and building an audience. This also helps remind you who you are creating this show for. Are you creating it to serve a specific community? Are you creating it for fun with your friends? There is no wrong answer, but nothing is worse than marketing a show to the wrong group of people. It's a waste of time, money, and will hurt how your show is received.

While your artists are not responsible for marketing your show, keep in mind that if you hire all your friends to be in your show you are limiting the number of circles this show is being talked about in. When you are more diverse and inclusive with your casting and hiring choices, it expands your ability to reach diverse and inclusive audiences.

This also brings us back to the physical community around where you are performing, connect with local businesses in the area, and build relationships with the non-theatre people around you.

Consider going to other community events to get to know other organizers or community leaders. Is the story you are telling going to connect with the people who live and work in this area you are visiting? Keep in mind you are either part of the neighborhood (if you have a physical space) or you are entering their neighborhood as a nomadic company renting a space.

As a nomadic company (a company that doesn't have a set venue), you'll likely be producing shows all over the city, so keep this in mind for each different production you do.

Building a brand

Branding is the backbone of your marketing - it is an extension of your WHY and focuses your message and makes marketing easier. It will grow and develop over time so don't worry if it's not perfect.

A brand is much more than just colors or images or a logo, it shows your values and helps people understand you quickly. So when building your branding you can ask yourself:

  • Which values are most important to me?

  • Who is your ideal audience member?

  • What are the likes, dislikes, of your community, and how do they consume media?

  • What brands do they follow?

  • What type of content do they create? (Not to compare, but to be inspired)

  • How do you want your audience to feel when they are interacting with you?

  • What words do you want to use to describe your brand?

  • Why should they follow you?

  • What’s your message?

  • Why do you stand out?

  • What type of content will you provide?

  • What is your goal of building an audience?

  • How do you want to communicate that with them?

These will help you build out your logistics on where, how, and what you need to do to communicate with your ideal audience.


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