In traditional media, the arts get lumped in with entertainment. Sports, which are just as much entertainment as movies or music, have their own section. Yet the arts are more popular than sports.
You might have been fooled into thinking otherwise, perhaps because sports fans are louder. There are over 30 sports specialty TV channels in the United States alone. No such list exists for the arts.
But the arts are getting their own video service called Cennarium, which is like Netflix. The service broadcasts recordings of live performances.
Based on data collected by Statistics Canada, the video service should be successful; people spend twice as much money on live performances as they do on live sporting events.
Small businesses love to sponsor their local Little League teams, as well as local soccer, football and basketball teams.But promoting the arts is also good for your business. Click To Tweet
Here are 11 ways you can get started supporting artists in your community.
1. Sponsor an Event or Organization.
Perhaps the most obvious way to promote your company through the arts is to sponsor an event or an organization. By “sponsor,” I mean write a check. Give generously and negotiate for maximum exposure. Some of the ways to get exposure would be:
- A thank you or sponsor message spoken by the MC at the start of the show
- Your company logo on the signage
- Your company logo prominently on the program
- Your company name added to the theatre or the troupe itself
- Your company name added to the website
- A personal meeting with the actors, singers or dancers to cement your relationship
These are just some of the ways to get exposure in exchange for writing a check. Some theatres have specific sponsorship programs already defined. Here’s a good example. My daughters both sing at the local arts high school. THGM Writing Services, my company, regularly buys space in their programs.
2. Invite Art into Your Place of Business.
A creative way to support local arts is to invite it into your place of business. Some restaurants decorate their walls with the works of local painters or photographers. Patrons can ask to buy the paintings right off the wall. You’ll build a more loyal customer base by supporting the arts in this way.
You might have to get a little more creative when it comes to the performing arts. If your place is big enough, you might invite entertainers to set up a ticket booth during the lunch hour with short performances in the lobby. People could leave donations, just as they would for buskers, or they could buy tickets to the shows if they really like what they see.
3. Run a Workshop.
Many companies offer lunch-and-learns for their employees. These sessions often involve personal development specialists, financial planners, or skills developers. Why should it not involve artists? Your employees can learn how to paint, try their hands at an impromptu choir, or learn to act out a scene from an upcoming play.
Small businesses can even team up to put on lunch-and-learns. Doing so gives you the added bonus of building better relationships with other businesses in the area. Everyone needs allies.
4. Hire Performers for Employee Events.
If you plan to have an employee event, such as a Christmas party, why not hire a local band or theatre troupe to provide entertainment?
5. Make Signs.
If there is an arts organization that could use signage, offer to supply it for them. Not only will you get your logo added but you will also remove one of their headaches.
6. Offer to Promote a Performance.
If you have a means of reaching a broad audience, why not offer to promote an artist’s next performance? You could so if you have:
- a strong FaceBook or Twitter following
- a regular newsletter to customers
- a blog on your website
- a lot of foot traffic through your store
- regular mailings or flyer distribution
Remember that the people who comprise your customer base will appreciate you communicating with them about charity and cultural events they would enjoy. Considering their interests in this way makes you appear more trustworthy than a company that reaches out only to take money.
7. Provide a Freebie to the Organization.
Writing a check is not the only way to sponsor an organization. You can provide services as well. You could supply snacks to the orchestra or the dancers. You could provide the costumes. You could provide the plumbing, painting, carpentry or whatever other service a theatre might need.
8. Provide a Freebie to Patrons.
Do you have something free to provide to theatre patrons? Perhaps everyone who buys a season pass gets a ridiculously huge discount on your product. Or everybody showing up at a performance gets something free on the way out the door.
Take a good look at your products or services and see what you could offer. Your offer needs to be worthwhile, though. It can’t be an offer like, “Bring your ticket to Chudley’s Bar and Grill after the show for a free drink.” It can’t be the typical 25% off coupon either.
9. Encourage Your Staff to Participate.
Many arts organizations need volunteers to help on show nights or when preparing a set. Your staff can help, and many of them will find serving to be quite fulfilling.
10. Buy Tickets to the Show.
What a great way to reward staff or schmooze clients. As Sarah Morton writes, “Hospitality benefits like free tickets, VIP areas and gala dinners also provide an opportunity for you to thank key clients, schmooze potential clients and even reward staff throughout the year.” Any theatre troupe would value a customer that regularly buys a block of 10, 20 or 50 tickets.
11. Combine Your Efforts.
You don’t have to try only one of the above ideas. You’ll be most effective by supporting an arts organization in multiple ways. But what is even better is if you can somehow integrate your support for the arts with your support for charity. For instance, you could offer to buy an extra ticket to a show for every employee who raises more than $100 for the local food bank.
The key takeaway is that it is worth promoting the arts locally and that you can find creative ways to do so. Don’t wait for the artists to come to you. Pick an activity that will resonate with your target market, define what you want to get out of the relationship, and decide how you would like to get involved.
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