Eugene Symphony: Striking a new chord

Communicating the power of art to transform the human experience resonated quickly with staff at the Eugene Symphony. They have long believed the need to preserve arts for wellness, vibrancy, and community but the Creating Connection research inspired them to take action.

“It felt logical,” says Marketing & Communications Director Lindsey McCarthy, “we just hadn't been focusing communication tactics in that way to showcase the experience of coming to a concert instead of solely the product itself.”

Overcoming historical barriers

Classical music organizations face significant real and perceived barriers to access according to Development Director Sara Mason:

“The art form itself requires a new lens…we have a progressive community, devoted to social issues but we battle the elite reputation of symphonies…[we] need to strike a chord to make sure that donors and stakeholders see us as accessible, where they can go to experience the benefits of expression, personal growth, wellbeing, and happiness.”

A message refresh

This new lens inspired the Symphony to rethink their messages across platforms:

And it’s working. By shifting away from messages that focus solely on the art form to those that show connections, the Eugene Symphony has noticed increased single ticket sales and more donor engagement.

Programming to increase connections

But they didn’t stop at messaging. Over the past season, Eugene Symphony has begun integrating the framework into their programs:

They’re all in this together

From the lobby to the stage and back again, Eugene Symphony has integrated Creating Connection into their entire brand experience. So what made that integration so successful? Buy in.

At the helm of the Marketing and Development Departments, McCarthy and Mason are championing the Creative Connections language in as many avenues as possible. Plus, Music Director & Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong fully supports a focus on the public, as demonstrated in an interview that eschews elitism in favor of community engagement and his history of supporting arts integration and music education for all ages.

Feeling inspired?

Applying the Creating Connection framework is easy! Download tools to get started telling stories that help people grow, give communities a voice, and contribute to people's happiness and well-being.

All photos by Amanda L. Smith except for Instagram artist takeover image. “Meet Francesco” videos by Attic Media, Inc. and Happy Pixel.

Eugene Symphony’s participation in Creating Connection was made possible by the generous support of the Miller Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon Arts Commission, The Jackson Foundation, The Oregon Community Foundation, Oregon Cultural Trust, the Regional Arts and Culture Council, the Kinsman Foundation, Portland General Electric, and The Standard. Leadership support was provided by the Metropolitan Group and Arts Midwest.

Special thanks to Sara Mason, development director, and Lindsey McCarthy, marketing & communications director,  Eugene Symphony Association.