Author Archives: Bruce Robinson

Waging Peace in a Crisis

It’s About Trust Last month Jim Lukaszewski spoke with a dozen of us on crisis management at the League of American Orchestras Conference in Dallas. While he spoke off the cuff, every sentence followed a clear narrative. He preached a … Continue reading

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Steve Cook Shows Us How to Program (and Market) Pops

No one marketed pops performances better than my friend Steve Cook when he was at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. These days his firm, The Cooking Group, offers a full range of pops offerings, unlike any other provider. Steve has put … Continue reading

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Can Orchestras Speak to Mainstream Citizens?

This blog has been neglected for more than a year, set aside by the demands of my work at the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra. As the League of American Orchestras Conference begins I’ll resume posting material. Today I flew the last … Continue reading

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The Press Stories You Really Want to Tell

Week after week, orchestra marketers and communications professionals try to get stories about their music director, guest conductor or guest artist in the media. Is this wise? Yes, of course. Guest musicians are news. They can talk about the music … Continue reading

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Music That Matters

Much music-making today is about commerce. Famous artists regularly play chamber concerts after one or two rehearsals. Veteran orchestra players sit back in their chairs while they play, bored yet holding on to their income until retirement. Tonight I heard … Continue reading

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Audience Development at Three Arabic Schools in Qatar

Recently a colleague and I visited three primary schools in Qatar on behalf of my employer, the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra. The experience was the highlight of my six weeks in Doha.

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How to Make Your Website Social: InfoGraphic

A Big Challenge, an Enormous Opportunity Social tools both enable and challenge us as marketers. I’ve enjoyed grappling with social technology to understand it. What a puzzle! And what rewards await us. Yesterday I put together a chart of the … Continue reading

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Working In Concert Trumps Collaboration

Arts management mavens are always touting the benefits of collaboration among performing arts groups. And foundations love to reward grants to those good citizens who collaborate. Often, though, collaboration is skin deep or limited to marketing alone. A dance group … Continue reading

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How to Merchandise Tickets on Your Website

Music Is Like Candy I spent my early years in marketing in candy: Brach, Andes, Toblerone, Cote d’Or, Milka and Suchard. One of the great things about candy is that buyers consume it immediately. So you can sell them more … Continue reading

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A Texas Two-Step to Make Your Website Social

Last April Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook proclaimed, “We are building a Web where the default is social.” Forrester Research says the Web is becoming “social as a rule, not an exception.” No longer can any orchestra afford to ignore the … Continue reading

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Ten Lessons in Trust to Apply Before a Crisis

This week I heard an expert on reputation, IBM Distinguished Professor Daniel Diermeier from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, speak to a few dozen fellow Kellogg alums in Houston. The orchestra industry can learn from his years of … Continue reading

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Better Than Talk from the Stage: Silence

Today musicians frequently talk from the stage. Don’t you wish they’d get to the music? Last weekend I heard a voice recital with superb music—and superb silence. I always expect great music-making from accompanist Keith Weber, the conductor-organist-harpsicordist-coach-and-yes-pianist who is … Continue reading

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20 Orchestral Orgasms

Updated count: 32 (see comments below) Beatles producer George Martin famously called the gigantic crescendo of the Lennon-McCartney song “A Day in the Life” an orchestral orgasm. Last month Rolling Stone named it #1 of the top 10 Beatles songs. … Continue reading

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Social Technology Is Show and Tell for Adults

Sometimes simple insights best light the way. How Social Media Are Like Show and Tell You remember when you were six, don’t you? The most compelling part of the school day consisted of bringing an item before the class and … Continue reading

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Why I Market Classical Music

Sure, there are easier things to do. I’ve marketed candy, cigars, nuts, lighters, gasoline, travel and education. All were easier. But music can change lives. It has thrilled mine. Music carries deep, otherwise-inexpressible meaning. 35,000 years ago our species was … Continue reading

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What I’d Like to See Orchestras Provide Audiences: 10 Words Over 10 Days

We have more orchestras with better-trained musicians than ever. Yet these marvels of precision bleed anxiety over the future. Most of that anxiety centers on revenue. In my view, possibly because of our focus on commerce, the artistic product needs … Continue reading

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Tom Holm of Enertex Tells How to Grow Your Audience

It’s always a challenge to bring in new single ticket buyers, isn’t it? Let alone broaden your subscription base. Extend Your Reach Your house list is your best source for audiences. And trades with other arts organizations can supplement that … Continue reading

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50 Words for Classical Music Marketers to Rest

An Age of Puffery Adam Sherk has statistically catalogued The Most Overused Buzzwords in Marketing and Press Releases. Gregory Sandow has satirized the language of classical music press releases, saying he hopes they die. And the anonymous blog Proper Discord … Continue reading

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What to Write in a Single-Ticket Ad. Yes, It Still Matters.

In this day of social technology there’s little attention paid to the ABC’s of advertising. Yet developing an effective ad will always be a useful skill, whatever the medium. Learn from The New York Times My first newspaper ads in … Continue reading

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How to Hire an Orchestra Marketer

Hiring for any position is as much art as science. Choosing an orchestra marketer can be especially difficult. Understanding the dimensions of that choice can frame the decision within our orchestra’s true needs.

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