With the arts industry seeing some of the toughest restrictions this year due to COVID-19, we (virtually) sat down with Tom Morgan, Head of Marketing at Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, to have a chat about how they’ve used this time to not only survive but to thrive.
Tom takes us through the launch of their new digital platform, Brandenburg One, how this has opened up Baroque music to a whole new audience, and what we can expect next from their marketing team.
Congratulations on your new digital platform Brandenburg One. Can you tell us more about what it is and why was it created? Also, how has it been received?
Think of Brandenburg One as a digital stage for the orchestra. Music lovers across Australia (and around the world) can watch full-length concert performances by the orchestra as well as shorter clips featuring one or two musicians. The website also has lots of behind-the-scenes content such as video interviews, photos, podcasts and detailed written notes about the music as well as profiles of the musicians.
Creating a digital concert hall experience has been part of our audience development strategy for a couple of years, and the severe restrictions on live performances during COVID-19 gave me an opportunity to just go for it! We have been overwhelmed by the public’s engagement with the music content on the website, it clearly serves a customer need.
In the first six months, we have had over 12,000 unique users from over 70 countries watch music videos. Best of all, 25-34-year-olds are the most engaged segment which represents an entirely new audience for us. Our heartland 65-74-year-old audience is the next most engaged segment which tells me that the website is functional, and the musical offering is enticing for young and old!
How do you see the Brandenburg One digital stage complementing your live concerts when they resume?
Brandenburg One allows us to reach audiences all over Australia throughout the year - not just the capital cities where we regularly perform our six annual live concert tours. In 2021, every live concert series will also be offered as a full-length digital concert. This is a game-changer for audiences and for the marketing team.
We have a new way of engaging and rewarding our loyal subscribers with high-quality performance content from their favourite orchestra and musicians. And this new owned media channel lets new audiences listen to and learn about the orchestra and become part of our pipeline of new ticket buyers and subscribers.
Our first post-COVID live concerts kick off on 27 October in Sydney and we have already sold over 500 digital passes to customers all across Australia - including Alice Springs!!
What has been your biggest achievement or proudest moment during your time at the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra?
Selling our first-ever digital ticket in September to a customer in lockdown in greater Melbourne! Although not a replacement for live performances, digital concerts offer a new way to present our art form and they have dramatically increased the reach of the orchestra. But it has been a steep learning curve and has required the company to develop the skillset and the mindset of a media company - overnight!
From the content production side to web and product and business model development and of course, rapidly evolving marketing and communications priorities, every person and every team at the Brandenburg was required to step up and learn and grow. As the project lead for this digital transformation project, I am extremely proud of everyone’s effort and energy and, of course, the results.
What can we look forward to seeing next from the marketing team at Australian Brandenburg Orchestra?
Content, content, content. We made the clear strategic decision to invest in our own platform to host the exceptional artistic content that the company produces. This allows us to carefully control how our content is presented and how audiences experience it - like we do onstage - and keep our audiences in our own ecosystem. Although the reach is massive, you lose so much control over curation and presentation on social and video platforms, and although those channels are superb for targeted, cost-effective marketing, we’re going to double down on our owned media strategy for distribution and presentation.
So, expect significant improvements to the Brandenburg One interface (it was developed at light speed on a shoestring budget!) and higher and higher production values in the new performances we will be releasing (the first ones were created in an Alexandria warehouse under very restrictive COVID-19 conditions). Supporting that will be a digital-first in marketing and customer loyalty strategies that focus sharply on communicating through editorial quality content.
Explore the unique world of Baroque music online with Brandenburg One, who will be running their first paid digital concert on Sunday, 1 November.
Are digital concerts here to stay? Listen to what Tom has to say when he speaks to Eleni Psaltis about Brandenburg One on The World Today (ABC) here.
Tom's interview is the first in our new 'Spotlight on...' series where we'll be sitting down with clients and candidates who are some of Sydney's best marketing talent to find out what exciting projects they're working on, career advice they'd like to share, what it's like to work at their business or agency, and much more!
We'd love your feedback, if you have any comments, suggestions, or questions you'd like answered, reach out to Brooke - firstname.lastname@example.org