Choir promotion is difficult if you don’t know what to say! Carrying out the analysis of your audience and chorister ‘customers’ (see Understand your target audience) means that you know them. More exactly, you know enough about them to understand what messages would compel them to come to a concert or join the choir. Looking at it from the opposite angle – you also understand what your choir needs to offer them in order that they want to come. I call the phase of turning that knowledge into reality the “Build” phase. You are building your choir’s ‘Value Proposition’ for use in your choir promotion activities.
The Value Proposition Canvas
I always find that if you diagrammatically represent thoughts on a single page then it makes it easier to get your mind around what they mean. It also helps to communicate them to a wider audience. The team at a company called Strategyzer created the ‘Value Proposition Canvas’ as a simple way to understand customers needs, and to design products and services they want. It is a tool I frequently use in my professional life. Although primarily created for commercial companies I think that it also works for choirs. It provides an ideal way of describing what value your choir brings to audience or chorister. The canvas is a very simple diagram, but to make it even simpler I have provided a ‘fillable form’ PDF version in the Toolbox at the bottom of this post.
A game of two halves
The Value Proposition Canvas is basically divided into 2 halves. The right-hand side represents the ‘customer’, in our case that is audience or choir member. On the left is the ‘Value Map’, which for us is what the choir offers the audience or chorister.
Each side has 3 segments which effectively mirror each other:
- On the ‘customer’ side one section describes what it is that the customer is looking to do – the ‘activities’. This might be, for example, to be entertained, be educated, hear (or learn) new musical numbers, or help a charity. On the ‘choir’ side this is mirrored by what the choir actually does to deliver on that requirement.
- On the customer side the second segment is ‘gains’. This means how the individual is looking to benefit from the activity – physically and/or psychologically. It might be, for example, to feel uplifted, to gain new friends, to improve health. The matching segment on the choir side is “gain creators”. In other words how your choir delivers the ‘gains’ that the customer desires.
- In a similar vein on the customer side the last segment is ‘pains’. These are problems the customer feels in trying to carry out the activities in the first segment. For example, they may find travel difficult, or have hearing difficulties. On the choir side you list the ‘pain relievers’. These are how your choir reduces or eliminates those pains.
Be honest in your evaluation
The important thing in evaluating your value proposition is to start with looking at the ‘customer’ side honestly. Honestly identify what they require, even if you know you don’t deliver that. You should use the ‘Buyer Personas’ that you created with Understand your target audience. At this stage try not to think about what you actually offer. Don’t kid yourself that you are the answer to all their prayers.
I find that this is often easier if a group of you get together and ‘brainstorm’ the thoughts. A good technique is to each use a pad of ‘post-it’ style notes to identify items for each segment. Do this in silence, without conferring, and stick them up on a poster or board. After you have done that you can then debate them. This ensures all thoughts get aired.
Only when you have populated the ‘customer’ side of the diagram do you turn your attention to the ‘choir’ side. Use the same silent brainstorming technique fill in the items you believe fit into each segment.
I have added a powerpoint slide representation of the value proposition canvas in the toolbox below this post. You can use this to record your brainstorming results.
Now take a step back and identify where there are matches between the two sides and where there are not.
The matches give choir promotion messages
The messages you should be using in your choir promotion and marketing activities are derived from here. Where you deliver the activities desired by your target customer, where you give them the gains they are looking for or where you relieve a pain they have. For example, a potential chorister may be looking to improve their musical skill and find new friends. If you say “come to my choir and you will be taught how to improve your singing plus socialise with a great bunch of like-minded lads” then it is obviously going to be pretty compelling! Equally they may have a ‘pain’ or concern that they are not good enough to join. In your choir promotion material say that you are a non-auditioning choir and it will relieve that pain.
The non-matches give you development ideas
This is the reason you need to be totally honest about where you do and where you don’t deliver on what your potential choir or audience member wants. Rather than being a bad thing, it can be a great way of identifying what you could do to develop the choir, it’s concerts and value. There are always too many ideas for improvement thrown in by everyone (especially those who don’t actually have to carry them out!). This provides a solution that helps you prioritise what to focus on. A simple example – some of our choir members were asking why we did not advertise in local newspapers. A survey of our audiences (see Our Concert Audience) identified that local press was not actually a way that they found out about events so we were able to save money and effort by not doing it.
The next step
Now you have the objectives, core messaging and target audiences for your choir promotion identified you can go ahead and start putting a strategy and plan together. I’ll be showing you how in my next post.