It's time museums & heritage attractions start acting like big brands

Why museums and heritage attractions should act like big brands

5th June, 2018 by Olivia Michaud

Kantar Millward Brown recently revealed the latest BrandZ report of the world’s top 100 brands. Surprise, surprise – technology and tech-related firms account for a whopping 92% of the overall ranking. Google, Apple, Amazon make up the podium – closely followed by Microsoft, Tencent and Facebook. But where are the museum and heritage super-brands?

Put simply, you won’t find a museum or attraction listed as a super-brand. In any ranking. But let’s not forget that, in PR and marketing terms, these are brands just like the Coca-Cola, Lego and Uber of this world. Whether directly or indirectly, they are competing for the same people’s (limited) time, (even more limited) attention and/or wallet share. So, let’s be bold: it’s time museums and attractions, small or large, start acting like the big brands they are up against.

Here are some of the things marketing teams operating in the museum and attractions world can learn from global super-brands:

1) Develop a positive brand experience

The key to creating a positive brand experience is to build a story that will engage visitors from start to finish. Far beyond simply visiting a bricks-and-mortar attraction, customers’ experience of the brand starts online, when they are searching for information, buying tickets and looking up maps. It doesn’t end when they leave the premises either: as a marketeer, you want visitors to speak about the brand long after their visit is over, to encourage their friends to go, and to return. The trick? Consistent and simplified messaging.

2) Brand promise

What do you actually do? Consider this carefully and make sure your audience is well aware of the answer. Above all – stick to that brand promise. Lego is a super-brand because it promises imaginative play, and totally delivers on that promise in everything it does. It’s no longer seen as ‘just a brand’. It’s a movement. This leads us on nicely to the next point…

3) Know what you’re famous for

You need to be clear on the one (or maximum two) things you want to be famous for. Remember: you can’t be everything to everyone, however hard you try! Don’t loose sight of your core identity.

4) The three ‘E’s

There are three things you should do if you’re acting like a big brand: Excite beyond a single event or temporary exhibition, enthuse to make sure visitors are making the most of the visit, and engage so that they leave happy J

5) Be agile

Whether you’re doing regular mystery shoppers, leaving comment cards dotted around the museum, conducting yearly surveys or taking on board feedback from social media, Tripadvisor, emails and letters, make sure you’re being agile. Be ready and flexible enough to make tweaks, changes and improvements if customer feedback signals a need – but always stay true to your brand promise.

Are you ready to start acting like a super-brand? Check out the amazing projects in our portfolio – including our award-winning work on the launch of The Postal Museum and Mail Rail, which recently won us a Mark of Excellence in the CIPR Excellence Awards 2018 (Arts, Culture or Sport Campaign category) and Marketing Campaign of the year at the 2018 Museum & Heritage Awards.

Get in touch and find out how you can benefit from our expertise and experience.