Brand building for orchestras. Fad or necessity?

My Thoughts:

Orchestras all over the country are in upheaval between declining audiences, orchestra strikes, management resignations, and intense contract negotiations. Orchestramanagement blogger addresses the importance of orchestras distinguishing themselves through strategic brand building. In a time of such economic instability and endless options for entertainment, orchestras must strive to identify, clarify, and communicate how they are unique and uniquely serve their community.

Why should we miss them if they were to disappear? I know I would, especially as an orchestra musician, music educator, and arts manager. Helping others to realize the true impact of symphony orchestras, however, is no longer a given and won’t happen by itself. Brand building will help orchestras reflect on, define, and convey the undeniable importance of their existence, work, and impact on society.


Branding  as process. Some steps towards a strong orchestra brand.

For many consumer goods we take branding for granted. Yet despite substantial economic and demographic pressure, few orchestras have so far begun to contemplate the potentials of brand building. Their identity as a cultural institution brings certain caveats when pursuing this strategy, yet it also offers great advantages.

Even so, it is possible to generalize a number of steps towards brand development:

1. brand identity and the definition of core qualities,

2. positioning and the definition of unique selling propositions,

3. their realization and communication (e. g. through corporate design), and

4. brand controlling.

At the same time, not every orchestra will benefit from (or even be able to implement) a thorough branding strategy – to do so requires certain resources and is most suitable for those ensembles that experiences strong competition or aim to create an international profile.


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