That was Owl Part 2

The Building Blocks of marketing: Identity

I have spoken briefly about why I chose to do the PR myself. Finding myself in that position I still took all the help I could, like good advice and email lists. Marketing your show isn’t a single action or strategy; it’s the creation and management of relationships. That and many other things I’m going to be talking about I first read about on the Mission Paradox blog – an excellent resource of good advice and strategy.

I’m going to go through these marketing topics in successive posts: Identity, Getting Reviewers, Print Campaign, Social Media, the First Week, and the Last Week. This post will cover the first step of any marketing campaign: knowing yourself.

Just who is Jon Keevy? What does he stand for, believe in? I’m not trying to turn Jon Keevy into a brand – I’m trying to distil my own values and make sure they come across clearly. One of the most important for me is honesty. I’m not going to use buzzwords and throw around adjectives – I am going to be direct about the triumphs and problems of working in theatre. I am going to say things I wish people had said to me when I was starting out. This attempt at honesty is about trying to stay humble and recognising that there is always room for improvement. That’s in the production too. It’s in the process. It’s me. Marketing is not lying about who you are; marketing is letting people know who you are.

Having contemplated myself more than usual I moved onto making sure that the information is out there. I registered the domain for my blog so I didn’t have a “dot wordpress” to deal with and I made sure that I kept it updated with content. I tried to stay away from posting straight “when, where” and to make sure who I am came through. This goes for messages on Twitter and Facebook too – social media works when you use it to build a relationship and not when you treat it like an advertising space.

Briony and I then brainstormed, searching for a good tagline for the show. This is the under  10 word ‘hook’ you use to tell people what the show is about. It’s harder to write than the whole play because it needs to convey in a moment the tone and content of the show. We came up with:

“Climbing trees, punching boys, kissing girls”

This went on the posters and as a lead-in to our press-releases. It worked well. It’s serious but not emo. It has some swagger to it, an attitude. And each idea evolves and adds a layer to the image. We tried a lot of very ridiculous lines before we found it. I see many shows squandering their tagline with clichés like: “a sensitive and moving tale”. Others use quotes from a review – a perfectly legit method, sometimes it takes an outsider looking in to understand what a show is really about.

It may even take a sit down with someone else to tell you what you’re really about.

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About Jon Keevy

Jon Keevy is a writer of stories and plays and also runs Alexander Bar's Upstairs Theatre.
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