18 July 2008

Blogging the AMA Conference: Attracting Diverse Audiences

Speaking of storytelling, Donna Walker-Kuhne of Walker International Communications Group inspired us all with her stories of bringing diverse audiences to the performing arts in New York City.

First of all, I was completely impressed at the amount of creativity and energy she brings to a very tough job.

Secondly, she presented some really useful and practical information.

According to Walker-Kuhne, the two keys to genuine diversity are Vision and Listening. You have to picture what your desired audience looks like. The device she uses is: "How do I make my event or my organization look like the people I see on the subway?" And you have to pay attention to what they say and what they want. It's Epictetus's two ears/one mouth principle.

Walker-Kuhne then provided 10 concrete tips for building diverse audiences:
  1. Investment - of time and resources over the long term
  2. Commitment - to expand my own frame of reference
  3. Research - learn about my target markets and confront my own prejudices and stereotypes
  4. Analysis - synthesize my learning into "What can I do?"
  5. Follow up - deliver what I promise
  6. Partnerships - we are equals, I'm not coming in to "save" or "better" you
  7. Educate - reach out creatively to my desired audiences and supporters
  8. Build a Bridge - provide progressive actions my desired audience can take to increase their comfort level and ownership
  9. Create Value - free is not always the best choice
  10. Appreciation - find creative, genuinely valuable ways to say thank you
Her final word of advice was to concentrate envisioning on the possibilities. To quote her: "You'll figure out the how. You're all smart people."

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