Intrinsic Impacts Study

The eight LARC members are currently embarking on an exciting and progressive study, which aims  to define and measure  how audiences and visitors are transformed by their cultural experiences.

The study is intended to help LARC partners articulate the true impact of engaging with a cultural experience and to find another way of defining ‘success’ in addition to quantitative indicators such as revenue and attendance figures.

Background

In July 2008, several marketing managers from Liverpool arts organisations attended a presentation by Alan Brown at the Arts Marketing Association conference. He described an impact study that was carried out in 2006 amongst a group of university arts presenters in the United States. This sparked an interest in the organisations to develop a similar project in Liverpool for a number of reasons, including:

  • Arts and cultural organisations, historically, have had difficulty articulating their true impact. Emotional, intellectual and social benefits, not money, are the real outputs of non profit arts organisations, and financial audits paint an incomplete picture of organisational performance.
  • Anecdotal evidence of intrinsic impact is abundant
  • There is a lack of good metrics for mission-driven non-financial outcomes. In other words, arts and cultural organisations often don’t have a way of talking about success other than looking at numbers of people attending/participating/viewing.

 

The LARC marketing group  are  interested in discovering whether intrinsic impacts can be measured, to see if different performances/exhibitions would generate different impacts and whether or not an individual’s ‘readiness to receive’ (for example attending a pre concert talk or educational experience, or reading/listening in advance to what they would experience) would influence the nature and extent of the impact.

The study will help the organisations involved to articulate the true impact of engaging with a cultural experience – the more clearly cultural organisations can communicate what art means to their audiences, the better they can help others gain a clearer sense of why they should support the cultural sector. The study will also help the marketing teams to better define and articulate the experience that non-consumers are missing.

Next steps

A team of uniquely qualified individuals and firms are working together to deliver the Intrinsic Impacts Study. It is being managed by Baker Richards Consulting (Tim Baker, Director and Research Manager for this study) in partnership with the U.S.-based firm of WolfBrown (Alan Brown, Principal and Lead Investigator). Both Tim Baker and Alan Brown are integrally involved in this project.

The team will build on the work in the U.S. to help evaluate how LARC’s programmes benefit their audiences, Liverpool and the city region.

An impact study of selected performances/exhibitions is taking place in Liverpool during the 2009/10 programme season. It will investigate a range of reactions to the specific performance or visual experience, including captivation, intellectual stimulation, emotional resonance, spiritual value, aesthetic growth and social bonding.

The main output of the study, a report that paints an in-depth picture of the impacts of the LARC organisations, will be delivered early 2011.

www.wolfbrown.com

www.baker-richards.com

 

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