Rebranding a summer opera concert series into a festival and cultural destination
Glimmerglass is a world-class opera company situated on scenic grounds in Cooperstown, New York. The company stages four main stage productions each summer in an acoustically remarkable theater.
With its home in Cooperstown, Glimmerglass was poised to become a travel destination. Situated on Ostego Lake, visitors can enjoy picnicking, relaxing before a show or strolling around the water or wooded areas. Glimmerglass’ beautiful scenery, emotionally moving performances and laid back atmosphere truly make it a place unlike any other. At Glimmerglass, arts, music, culture and nature come together to create a one-of-a-kind experience.
Despite its proximity to a summer weekend destination, and its acclaimed opera performances, Glimmerglass was lacking awareness and was suffering from a declining, aging audience. Upon recognizing the problems, Glimmerglass partnered with Wanderlust to leverage its world-class product, bring in a younger audience and position it as a summer long festival not to be missed.
Chart the Course
Wanderlust began the rebranding process by suggesting a name change from “Glimmerglass Opera” to “Glimmerglass Festival.” This change communicates a “summer experience” unique to Glimmerglass, while opening the door for new audiences and opportunities to expand their offerings besides opera. Events such as backstage tours, guest speakers, concerts, meals with artists, post-performance Q&A sessions, children’s shows and getaway weekends were incorporated into the offerings. Collaborations with other Cooperstown attractions such as the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Farmer’s Museum, the Fenimore Museum and Historic Hyde Hall round out the Glimmerglass Festival experience.
Wanderlust then used primary research to craft the new brand. Content development helped forage an emotional connection with potential customers by telling the Glimmerglass story rich in vivid mental imagery of a magical, yet laid back atmosphere. Four palette colors are used to represent the four main stage shows of each season and are symbolic of the summer light shimmering off of Ostego Lake. A modern, sans serif font compliments the new color palette by bringing a fresh and celebratory look and feel to the brand, appealing to younger audiences but not excluding Glimmerglass’ current customer base. A tagline, “Where the world stops to listen,” amplifies the Glimmerglass brand and positions the festival as a remarkable, world-class place unlike any other.
The new brand was launched through a new website redesign and collateral program. Using the new brand colors, a reworking of their old logo into a modern quadrant and fresh typography throughout, the season anchor brochure informs guests of the breadth of events that take place during the annual Glimmerglass Festival. The brochure also includes singular photographs depicting emotionally powerful moments from the previous year’s main stage shows, forging an emotional connection with potential festival goers. The website design utilizes the new look and feel and incorporates a simplified navigation with conversion maximizing calls to action. Wanderlust promoted special events, backstage sneak peeks, and special weekends, positioning Glimmerglass as a destination experience.
Print publications were streamlined to feature only a few necessary and key documents, including the anchor brochure, festival guide and calendar, pocket calendar, renewal subscription and group sales materials. Pairing down the amount of print materials not only made the festival shows and events easier to follow for guests, but also cuts print and mailing costs.
Each year, Wanderlust refreshes the various print publications and website to accompany the new season, in addition to assisting with strategic communications marketing. Wanderlust uses online and digital tactics to promote Glimmerglass. including SEM, display, Facebook NewsFeed, video pre-roll, radio and cinema advertising to market the festival. Click-through rates for such campaigns are solid; PBS video stands out with a 4.79% CTR in 2014, above the national average of 4%. Paid search ads for the main stage shows also perform particularly well, with CTR’s as high as 12.39% CTR in 2014, well above the national average of 2%-5%. Wanderlust creates Glimmerglass' e-mail marketing campaign, including an editorial calendar and content creation.
Although updates are made from year to year to accommodate new marketing communications channels, the brand continues to be relevant and true to the overall positioning: Glimmerglass is a place unlike any other, where songs sparkle like sun on water, the stars shine bright, and the world stops to listen.
Photos: Karli Cadel, J. Cervantes