Objectives. The main objective of this research is to investigate the prevalent orientation and outlook of brand communication strategies at top Italian museums. Methodology. Using the case study method, this study aims to identify the strategies of brand communication, orientation and prevailing perspectives on branding in Italian museums. Desk research has been used to investigate the cultural sector environment and the marketing context, where Italian museums perform. Then, drawing on interviews with directors or communication department employees of 15 top Italian museums in term of visitor numbers, the paper analyses whether and how they are developing branding strategies. Finally, cluster analysis of their economic performances identifies two poles for branding jeopardy, meaning that effective branding can positively influence performance of ticketing revenues and ancillary revenues (merchandising, bookshops, royalties, etc.). The choice to focus on museums, rather than other cultural institutions, is due to the fact that the museum environment has been the first to be studied by scholars from a marketing perspective. Findings. From a cluster analysis of the Museums reported revenues and expenses (advertising included) two poles emerged. At one pole, some museums achieve high ticketing revenues and ancillary revenues (merchandising, bookshop, royalties, etc) with an effective, well-resourced branding strategy. Their branding is addressed to actual and potential visitors (high advertising expenses as signal), but also to sponsors and grantmakers, with the aim of increasing private contributions. Museums at the other pole achieve modest revenues with low advertising expenses and are liable to be undecided as to the opportunities afforded by branding. These results are confirmed by desk research and interviews: museums where branding is a significant concern among directors and marketing officers cluster around the first pole ‘Masters of Branding’. Research limits. The sample must be considered a limitation. It consists of 15 top Italian museums with a variety of governance models. Other issues could stem from the short duration of the investigation period. Two years may be insufficient to identify specific orientations and managerial behaviours. Nevertheless, it is long enough to detect a change in step in museum management, given that the interviews and annual reports analysis do provide evidence of a new path taken by Italian museums. Practical implications. The paper provides an overview of the branding strategies of Italian museums that may help museum managers to understand how the cultural sector is evolving. Revenue diversification is a consequence of branding strategies that identify target funding streams other than public administration. As a result of branding, the range of revenues (including ancillary revenues) increases, as do private contributions. Originality of the study. The topic of branding strategies for cultural institutions is quite new in the Italian context, and the paper outlines a framework through which to better understand, from a managerial standpoint, these economic agents struggling with new challenges. In addition, for management the implications of this study are the need for a change of vision in museum governance, for marketing officers to engage with branding techniques and for institutions to diversify their stakeholders and revenue streams.

Masters of branding in Italian museums: not only a matter of masterpieces, 2018-09.

Masters of branding in Italian museums: not only a matter of masterpieces

Esposito, Annamaria
;
Besana, Angela
2018-09

Abstract

Objectives. The main objective of this research is to investigate the prevalent orientation and outlook of brand communication strategies at top Italian museums. Methodology. Using the case study method, this study aims to identify the strategies of brand communication, orientation and prevailing perspectives on branding in Italian museums. Desk research has been used to investigate the cultural sector environment and the marketing context, where Italian museums perform. Then, drawing on interviews with directors or communication department employees of 15 top Italian museums in term of visitor numbers, the paper analyses whether and how they are developing branding strategies. Finally, cluster analysis of their economic performances identifies two poles for branding jeopardy, meaning that effective branding can positively influence performance of ticketing revenues and ancillary revenues (merchandising, bookshops, royalties, etc.). The choice to focus on museums, rather than other cultural institutions, is due to the fact that the museum environment has been the first to be studied by scholars from a marketing perspective. Findings. From a cluster analysis of the Museums reported revenues and expenses (advertising included) two poles emerged. At one pole, some museums achieve high ticketing revenues and ancillary revenues (merchandising, bookshop, royalties, etc) with an effective, well-resourced branding strategy. Their branding is addressed to actual and potential visitors (high advertising expenses as signal), but also to sponsors and grantmakers, with the aim of increasing private contributions. Museums at the other pole achieve modest revenues with low advertising expenses and are liable to be undecided as to the opportunities afforded by branding. These results are confirmed by desk research and interviews: museums where branding is a significant concern among directors and marketing officers cluster around the first pole ‘Masters of Branding’. Research limits. The sample must be considered a limitation. It consists of 15 top Italian museums with a variety of governance models. Other issues could stem from the short duration of the investigation period. Two years may be insufficient to identify specific orientations and managerial behaviours. Nevertheless, it is long enough to detect a change in step in museum management, given that the interviews and annual reports analysis do provide evidence of a new path taken by Italian museums. Practical implications. The paper provides an overview of the branding strategies of Italian museums that may help museum managers to understand how the cultural sector is evolving. Revenue diversification is a consequence of branding strategies that identify target funding streams other than public administration. As a result of branding, the range of revenues (including ancillary revenues) increases, as do private contributions. Originality of the study. The topic of branding strategies for cultural institutions is quite new in the Italian context, and the paper outlines a framework through which to better understand, from a managerial standpoint, these economic agents struggling with new challenges. In addition, for management the implications of this study are the need for a change of vision in museum governance, for marketing officers to engage with branding techniques and for institutions to diversify their stakeholders and revenue streams.
97888943937-2-9
branding; strategies; communications; Italian museums; cluster analysis
Masters of branding in Italian museums: not only a matter of masterpieces, 2018-09.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10808/27385
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