Sunday, July 29, 2012

It's in the Presentation

Presentation is everything. No matter your talent level.  
Woe to the actor who thinks that just because she is supremely talented, that is enough to get her the job. Talk to enough casting directors and they will tell you much of the role is based on "look". From the way you walk in the door to the actual shoes on your feet.  The way you speak to the room monitor to the way you give instructions to your accompanist.  The way your resume is laid out to your headshot.  All of that matters just as much.   
Why is that surprising to anyone? We say it about food.  "Presentation is everything".  We say it about houses. "Curb Appeal".  
Apply this idea to a theater: If your theatre has an entry way that is boring.  Or that has worn carpet in the lobby.  Or if your receptionist sounds annoyed.  If the box office folks aren't friendly.  If your curtain speech is dull and unimaginative.  If your actors hide in their rooms or aren't friendly with folks after the show.   Your "presentation" suffers. 
It's not just the "show" that matters.  
And what is our first line of "presentation"?  Our marketing.  That is often the first thing folks see concerning our theaters.  If it's an email out of the blue from a company you didn't ask to hear from, sometimes, that is annoying.  In today's social media world, it's actually spam if I didn't ask to be on that list.  
It would be lovely to say it's the "ART that matters" and have that be effective.  But it's probably not going to be anymore. 
Seth Godin says: "The packaging, the service, the environment, the hours, the interactions, the way it feels to tell our friends--these are all the free prize."  "Free prizes inside" still sell if they are marketed correctly. 
Then when you have enticed your "tribe" and made them feel as if they have actually been a part of the "making of", you have a very loyal group of folks that are your best advertising.  Check out a little show called "American Idol" if you don't believe that.  
Go ahead. Spend a ton of money and time on mass marketing. Doing the same old things we have done for years.  Send out your flyers and mass emails. But it's those positive one-to one interactions that will build your company. Yes, it requires a bit of thought. Yes you have to have some face to face meetings.  A lot actually. And you must always be on your best behavior.  It can make you a bit of a control freak if you aren't already one. 
But if you can steer the way with a few tribe members who are also on the same wavelength, they will introduce you to more on that wavelength and you will continue to attract exactly the right folks to your organization. 
In your Presentation: Those interactions must have a very personal edge combined with a "prize inside" and an "enrolling" aspect. If you can commit to this idea you actually will be way ahead of the curve.  

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