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Branding and Marketing Specialist for Arts & Culture

I have a ‘holistic’ approach to marketing, which integrates operational (i.e. day-to-day) with strategic marketing. I believe this helps clients identify a clear mission statement to provide strategic vision and direction, alongside practical and achievable goals and objectives as short-term measures to ultimately achieve overall aims.

As an Arts Marketing Specialist, I feel passionately about helping cultural organisations tell their story and reach out to their stakeholders, whether audiences, peers, funders, supporters or corporate sponsors.

Catherine Holden Consulting

Experienced strategic consultant and leader in culture and heritage, with in-house Board and Director-level experience at major UK organisations, including Tate, Natural History Museum, National Theatre, National Museums Scotland and Craft Scotland.

I am based near Edinburgh and work across the UK supporting all types of culture and heritage organisations, including visual and performing arts companies, national and regional museums and galleries, heritage and membership bodies, sector development and leadership networks.

I offer strategic advice, facilitation and coaching. Strengths include branding and all aspects of marketing communications; visitor engagement; capital & revenue fundraising; organisational development: governance, team building and leadership.

I have helped:
• a national theatre to review and develop its communications operation and create a digital strategy
• a London museum to review and develop communications in advance of a major capital development
• a historic house & gardens to improve visitor engagement, and develop Board governance
• two multi-arts centres, to build fundraising skills and to refresh branding
• a national digital agency to develop best practice guidelines
• a leading contemporary gallery to develop fundraising, marketing and branding, and make an HLF application
• a membership organisation with strategy for profile, programming and funding
• recruit senior posts for a university, two international festivals, a sector support agency, a contemporary gallery, a national theatre and orchestra
• the Director & Board of a sector development agency to review vision and strategy
• a theatre with creative ideas for daytime visiting and heritage interpretation
• a local authority to develop a marketing strategy and branding for a planned new museum
• Chairs and Trustees to review governance and support fundraising

You can find client testimonials at my website

I act as a coach and mentor to established and emerging leaders, and have developed group workshops around Branding, Personal Branding and ‘Career MOT’©. Speaking engagements include Edinburgh International Cultural Summit, ESRC and Arts & Business.

As a non-executive advisor I have supported creative industries, heritage, tourism, festivals and professional development bodies. I am the Chair of Craft Scotland and sit on the board of The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh.

My life in London included launching Tate Modern and the Natural History Museum’s first Darwin Centre. At National Museums Scotland I led four talented teams covering marketing, digital, fundraising, and national & international strategy; across five sites and four capital projects we together achieved record visitor numbers and raised over £80m, plus six-figure annual revenue income.

I would be delighted to talk to you about how we might work together – please do get in touch for a chat.

Thinking differently about Audience Development, Mission, Brand and Business.

The Experience Business will work with you to deliver more appealing, relevant and impactful audience experiences that return value back into the business in the forms of  mission delivery, audience development and contributing to that all important bottom line.

I create dynamic environments that encourage you to think differently, generate ideas and explore possibility. The approach is human-centered, placing the audience at the heart of business practice through immersive Labs (1 to 5 days) that are facilitative, creative and engaging.

The Experience Business Toolbox is stuffed with proven methods to help you understand, conceive and design better services, exhibitions and programmes of work:

  • Core Purpose Lab creates persuasive narratives that articulate the value you create for your audiences and communities. Clients include Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, Creative Victoria and The City of Cape Town Department of Culture.

 

  • Audience Experience Lab applies customer journey mapping to your customer experience in order to pin point where you are under-performing, supports the development of improvement programmes and explores the potential for new value creation. Clients include The Swiss Science Centre, Imperial War Museum North, Uppsala Stadsteater, Warwick Arts Centre, The Touring Network (Highlands and Islands) and Melbourne Arts Centre.

 

  • Brand Experience Lab helps you translate your brand into vivid experiences that differentiate your offer, win hearts and minds and build brand trust. Clients include the National Football Museum and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

 

  • Innovation Lab unsticks your thinking in a co-creational environment to surface bold new concepts and open up fresh horizons of possibility. Clients include The Geffrye Museum of the Home, Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester and Goldfield Arts Centre, Western Australia.

 

  • Design Thinking Labs hone these concepts into services, exhibitions and experiences that deliver mutual value for you and your audiences/stakeholders. Clients include Australia Council for the Arts, Arts Marketing Association and the Federation of Scottish Theatres.

 

  • ‘Make-athons’ turn your staff teams from service deliverers into the creative producers of the audience experience, dissolving silos and building ownership. Clients include West Yorkshire Playhouse, Tullie House Museum Carlisle and Rockhampton Art Gallery Queensland (Australia).

 

  • Training programmes are designed to upskill staff teams to better understand and shape audience experiences. Topics include Observational Research, Customer Journey Mapping, Design Thinking, Creative Thinking and Running Focus Groups. Clients include the AMA, Audiences Northern Ireland, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Warwick Arts Centre and The Wordsworth Trust.

 

I am also available to facilitate Board Away Days and Staff Development Days on the themes of Core Purpose, Design Thinking, Brand and Audience Experience.

Since launching The Experience Business in 2012, I have worked on some amazing projects with forward thinking organisations that have taken a leap of faith into a new way of working. Examples include:

– a ground-breaking Audience Engagement Programme, using design thinking to co-create audience-centric initiatives in remote and regional Australia, funded through Australia Council for the Arts.

– design thinking consultant on the AMA Future Proof Museums programme working with 8 museums on developing their visitor experience.

– Audience Experience Programme at the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, incorporating customer journey mapping and design thinking, which increased on-line booking revenue generation and led to a successful re-positioning of the fundraising strategy.

– development of a Visitor Experience Framework and Evaluation Toolkit for ON FIFE Cultural Trust.

– together  with The Touring Network (Highlands and Islands), applying design thinking  to develop alternative models of devising new work and audience engagement initiatives for rural touring, funded through the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

– Visitor Experience Audit of the National Coalmining Museum which informed a successful £600k+ HLF bid to improve the visitor experience on site.

– working with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra to co-create a suite of three successful backstage tours. Demand now outstrips supply.

– professional development programme at Warwick Arts Centre designed to create an in-house team skilled in evaluating and improving the in-venue audience experience.

– Facilitator-in-residence at the City Recital Hall, Sydney, working intensively with staff for one week, applying customer journey mapping and experience design to re-imagine the in-venue experience.

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