Why - What's Behind the Changes?
With the revitalization and re-opening of Music Hall in October 2017, the Society for the Preservation of Music Hall board of directors saw an opportunity to revitalize the organization to fulfill our mission to preserve, improve, promote and provide education about Cincinnati Music Hall and to realize our vision to perpetuate Music Hall as the premier cultural center of the region, and as a National Historic Landmark of international significance.
The board expressed a desire to ensure that SPMH was positioned to attract new members from a broad cross-section of the arts, preservation and OTR communities. They also determined it was important to enable fundraising for additional preservation projects requiring major capital investment.
Where we Started
Early in 2018 members of the board and other key stakeholders engaged in a series of workshops. These half-day workshops resulted in a strategic plan for SPMH.
One of the key initiatives identified in this plan was an exploration of a ''Brand Identity Refresh.'' The time was right to ensure that the organization's brand reflects the current environment, enables our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access, and delivers impactful integrated marketing communication.
The marketing committee was tasked with selecting an external agency to lead the brand refresh work. After reviewing three Requests for Proposals, the board engaged Kolar Design. Kolar is a design agency dedicated to the ''branding of place.''
Kolar Design and the marketing committee have engaged in a rigorous and inclusive process to assess the SPMH brand identity and explore opportunities to refresh it. This was to include the possibility of revising the organization’s name.
Defining Our Goals
Kolar and the marketing committee framed the project goals and objectives, then gained approval from the board, to:
- Develop a brand foundation and that positions SPMH
- as an approachable organization,
- as staunchly committed to preserving Music Hall structurally, historically and culturally,
- as actively nurturing the next generation of passionate, engaged advocates for Music Hall
- Refresh the SPMH brand identity design to resonate into the future, enabling growth in fundraising and membership.
Insight & Research
Kolar developed a multi-phased project plan that included engagement and input from the board and key stakeholders. The stakeholders included
- volunteer tour guides
- Music Hall’s resident companies
- the Cincinnati Arts Association
- the community at large
Focus group sessions with participants from these groups were held in Corbett Tower.
Everyone on the Same Page
Through this process there was wide consensus that the new name and brand messaging should:
- Be shorter, but not rely on an obscure acronym
- Still include the term “preservation” in the name or tagline
- Remove the term “Society”
- Integrate more inclusive messaging
- Integrate the idea of stories/relevant storytelling
Make Sure Everyone is on Board
From these sessions Kolar and the marketing committee engaged in naming and concept exploration.
These concepts were vetted again with stakeholders, the community, the board and its executive committee.
In addition to developing a new name, Kolar created a new brand identity style guide which includes a new logo and iconography, an updated color palette, advertising, and communication templates.
Kolar’s stakeholder engagement process provided valuable input to the membership committee. A key goal of the strategic plan is to attract new members. As part of the brand refresh, seven new membership levels and corresponding benefits have been established.
The board of directors voted unanimously to adopt the new name, membership tiers, and style guide. The new name and branding will be formally unveiled to our members and the public at the annual meeting on Monday evening, September 16, 2019.
What do you Think?
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