Loyalty Loop implications on Digital Strategy for Culture

Over the past several months, I’ve been active re-launching my arts and culture consulting company while participating in a docent training program at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.

It continues to be a learning journey on multiple tracks. I’ve been reconnecting with colleagues in museums, art galleries, and the performing arts while staying in touch with entrepreneurs in the local tech ecosystem. My tech colleagues have been helpful and supportive with the relaunch of my company by encouraging me to enhance my digital tool kit with their time and advice on WordPress, search engine optimization (SEO) as well as refreshing my understanding in sales and marketing.

I’ve added to this base by taking advantage of Yoast online training. I’ve found Yoast a useful starting point for this process, available as a free plugin for WordPress. In addition to this, I’ve started using Linkedin’s Learning platform to learn more about testing the impact my website content development and SEO understanding of Google Analytics and Google Search Console.

Now this is all fine and dandy, but how does it relate to relaunching a company during a pandemic?

One of the peer to peer learning opportunities in local tech ecosystem held in Spring 2020, brought forward a message that has resonated with my cultural sector colleagues in my discussions since then. Karen Kelly, at one of the early meetings of the group made three key points that have demonstrated traction:

  1. Don’t Go Dark
  2. In the winter, it is a good time to mend your fishing nets.
  3. Empathy is important now more than ever.

Often, it helps my personal thought process to create a visual and talk to colleagues about this as a way of reaching a shared common ground. So I developed the graphic below and I reached out to a couple of colleagues in the months of April, May and June 2020 to continue to develop these ideas. Often I get a bit ahead of myself and I need to remind myself of point 3 above a lot. I can get a bit over excited sometimes, and it is important to remember that many of us have lost loved ones over the past months, have had to adjust career expectations or support loved ones making adjustments.

Connecting Culture-Technology-Community

The other learning track involved the arts and culture sector. Cuseum offered amazing webinars from March to August 2020 where I was able to meet people from all over the world discussing the pandemic shifts in museum service, creating online virtual programming and strategizing on keeping our audience and communities engaged. The Museum Computer Network (MCN) offers videos and online discussion with colleagues exploring concepts in culture, technology and community.

When I logged on to MCN’s technology platform, to double check on the schedule in the weeks ahead, I was amused to discover a webinar titled, Lessons from the Coronavirus: There is No “Pivot”. Some of my colleagues in the tech sector will find it interesting that the presenters will argue that “In this informal discussion, three digital leaders will talk about the ways that what has been described as a rapid, freewheeling “pivot” was actually doable because of well-laid foundational plans, skills, and teamwork. We will discuss the reasons why our digital teams were positioned to succeed in the quickly changing environment of the COVID-19 closure, how we adapted, and what this reinforces for how we can work in the future. We will also explore lessons learned, and demonstrate the distinction between pivoting versus building on top of groundwork that had been in the planning for years, utilizing existing collaborative structures and systems upon which we had long relied.”

The above quote reminds me of this chart from a recent Knight survey report on digital innovation in Museums. I wonder if some of the webinar panelists and participants will mention if they consider their organization to be untapped, emergent or realized and if this had an impact on how smooth or bumpy their pivot/adjustment to online content was.

Back here closer to home, I renewed my membership to the Ontario Museum Association (OMA) where I found other learning and awareness webinars offered by Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Ontario (CPAMO) as well as international networks and resources like the Association of Art Museum Curators, in addition to their own programming.

In July 2020, I created this graphic and based on a Nordicity webinar and a Cuseum webinar. The idea came to me because I was wondering how to integrate the traditional sales cycle methodology with what I knew about arts and culture marketing as a practitioner and consumer of museums and the performing arts. I thought it might be a useful graphic to many cultural organizations contemplating how they might adjust their content and experiences to the physical distancing restrictions under the Covid-19 pandemic.

I encountered a fulfilling and rewarding experience on the culture track of my learning journey while participating in the docent training program at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. I was impressed with the McMichael team’s pivot to virtual tours led by docents, as well as online programming offered by curatorial staff featuring Canadian visual artists — indigenous (Inuit, First Nation and Michif) and the Group of Seven. My awareness and learning of the art collection as well as the joy and pride shown by many indigenous artists to heal the wounds from Canada’s history have deepened my understanding of the intergenerational impact of Canada’s residential schools and policy implications and community impact of the Indian Act.

I remain curious about implementation strategies and digital strategy implementation in museums. After participating as a panelist in a recent webinar held by the the Association of Art Museum Curators, I was pleased and surprised when they offered a webinar to explore immersive experiences for museums.

Recorded webinar available at https://bit.ly/3laEiYl

I found the concepts intriguing and I wanted to know more about how to implement these concepts in our region. I am looking forward to an upcoming meeting to prototype some of these concepts with others.

I was impressed to see the OMA acknowledge a regional partnership project that created an experience at THE MUSUEM in Kitchener Waterloo. This gave me some more motivation to explore more regional implementation strategies.

Over the next couple of months, I am looking forward to meeting with colleagues and culture audiences and communities further develop these concepts, digital tools and immersive experiences.

Please reach out to me if you would like to continue the discussion.

Written by

Arts and Culture Consultant — Virtual Tour Docent at an art gallery, previous experience at several heritage museums, an artist run centre and performing arts

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store