A Good Communications Staff May Be Costly, But Not Having One Can Be Even More Expensive

At various times I, and others like Drew McManus have written about the importance of having a good crisis communication plan.  The marketing department should be focused on more than just trying to engage the community in participating in events with which you are involved, but also thinking about how they will go about communicating other information about the organization. The pandemic showed a lot of arts organizations the importance of how you message on topics like cancelled shows, refunds, masking, social distancing, etc.

But it is just as important to have developed a certain level of engagement with the community so that they are paying some attention to communications about more mundane topics like traffic and parking diversions due to construction and parades, or perhaps the growing plague of web sites masquerading as your venue and selling tickets at obscenely high prices.

The Communications Division of my city shared a presentation they put together a number of years back for the city council when they were making the case for having themselves established as a standalone office rather than a sub-department of the city manager’s office.

I think it does a good job of illustrating all the problems that can result from not having a good ongoing communications process and infrastructure. While some of them may sound specific to municipalities, it isn’t a terribly big jump to the concerns of community members engaging with an arts organization.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker (artshacker.com) website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (http://www.creatingconnection.org/about/)

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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