Kelly-Anne Collins from Dance Resource Base writes on the importance of taking the time to understand and communicate the ‘why’ of your organisation.

Dance Resource Base is a small organisation. Our training budgets are tight and marketing and communications are only one aspect of my work. Making the decision to take 2 days out of the office to attend the Arts Marketing Association’s annual UK-wide conference required serious consideration. This year, it was being held at home in Belfast so maybe we could make it happen. Luckily, the decision was made possible thanks to being awarded one of the Audiences NI bursaries to attend.

I like going to training and conferences. I’m always looking for seeds of new ideas that might help us work smarter and I’m usually pleased when I come away with new sparks of thought that might provide a new way of working or thinking about how we work. The ability to get away from the immediate demands on my desk allows me to give some time to being open to and inspired by others, and to focus on the bigger picture. What is it that we are trying to do and what do we want to achieve?

So when you come away from just one session with feedback on your organisational rebrand from 30 or so of the best arts marketing minds in the country, you definitely feel that the time invested was worth it.

Thanks to Ali Hanan’s Stand Out Branding session on Day 1, and Dance Resource Base being the local case study she selected as an example for an exercise, we got some great feedback on the ‘Why?’ of our organisation. Why might people care about what we do, have a meaningful, connected relationship with us, and really want us to be around? The icing on the cake is that we are looking at rebranding and hoped this session would give us the advice and inspiration that we received.

We were reminded that our brand needs to articulate what the lives of our members would be like, not only if we weren’t here, but also without dancing in their lives. We are here to put dancing in more people’s lives and who better than our members to tell us what a life would be like without dance. Ali encouraged us not to shy away from a brand that reflects the emotions that people feel for dance and feel when they dance. That meaningful connection with us will grow and people will care about what we do when we, as an organisation, understand how they feel and represent that to the world.

Kelly-Anne Collins is the general manager of Dance Resource Base – a membership organisation that provides practical facilities, resources, and services for those involved in dance and advocates to raise the profile of the art form.

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