At one point in his presentation, he used a chart that seemed very familiar and my first impulse was to wonder where he had grabbed it from. As I peered closer, I realized it was from a white paper his company, InstantEncore had put out this summer that I had downloaded but hadn’t made time to read yet.
Attending a conference is an expensive way to catch up on your reading….
Drombrosky talked about the growing prevalence of mobile devices, how they are the primary mode in which people are interacting with websites and how this is changing people’s expectations about their arts experience.
Dombrosky spent a fair amount of time underscoring the importance of responsive web design, a common topic of conversation lately. Drew McManus has been a long time proponent of it in the arts.
Drombrosky’s talk focused on the experiences being offered audiences, before, during and after an event. While he did mention tweet seats in passing, he didn’t really advocate for providing that type of experience.
He spoke about using technology to maintain a long held philosophy about what it should mean to attend an arts event, namely that the audience should be leaving the real world behind for a time. He related the words of one of his university instructors who talked about people disconnecting from the troubles of the world and being funneled into the world being created in the performance hall.
The problem is now that people can reconnect with the troubles of the world too easily at intermission. He suggested thinking about what sort of content that could be offered to keep audiences connected with the event. Among his suggestions were online program notes (which might replace the need to print programs), trivia about the artist, links to videos, places where albums can be purchased/downloaded. Perhaps create a forum or hashtag related to the event where people can discuss their experiences.
The availability of these resources can help keep people engaged while they are at the performance and allow them to continue to be connected to the performance and your organization after the event if they wish to do so.
He mentioned the Austin Symphony Orchestra has an “ask the conductor” program where you can submit a question during the show and the conductor will return a response. (Though in reality it is probably someone standing next to the conductor transcribing his response, of course)
Apparently the Detroit Symphony Orchestra encouraged people to take selfies around the concerts which not only kept people engaged with the event, but changed the symphony board’s perception of the audience demographics.
I haven’t read the white paper InstantEncore produced, but from what Dombrowsky said, more details about these case studies are included in it.