A Marketing Professional’s Dream

The story is a shorter, modern day real-life Red Violin: a confirmed Stradivarius more or less fades from public attention for 40 years only to resurface in a bank vault practically across the street from a major symphony orchestra. This is precisely the case with the Lipinski Stradivarius violin and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO) concertmaster, Frank Almond…

The details of the entire affair are simply fascinating, many of which were chronicled in a front page article
from the 9/6/2008 edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by music
critic Tom Strini. But there simply isn’t enough white space for Tom’s
great article to completely cover all of the details surrounding this
instrument and, hopefully, classical music fans will be able to read
more over the coming weeks from the MSO website as well as other
traditional media outlets and Frank’s very own InsideTheArts.com blog, non divisi.

It is good to see some heartwarming news surface out of what can
be arguably described as the murky waters of the rare string instrument
business (ahem, Axelrod). At the time this post was published, the MSO website
only has a press release, link to the Journal Sentinel article, and a
related video on their website but I would be surprised if there isn’t
more in store. In fact, it is tough to come up with a better vehicle
for an orchestra marketing department to work with.

Not only does the topic have a broad level of appeal
(uninvolved, casual, and hard-core enthusiasts alike), but the topic
has some serious legs if the right amount of effort and creativity is
directed toward rolling out the details. The potential for a companion
microsite to either Frank’s personal website
or the MSO website is almost dizzying. In fact, it isn’t unreasonable
to assume that there is a good two years of focused material here to
work with including additional violin details as well as chronicling
the events during its 40 year hiatus (and do the
programming/recording/associated book possibilities need mentioned?).

Start reading about the story and let your creative side go wild. What sort of marketing possibilities do you see?

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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