The bear minimum – competitors

In this mini series I will highlight some very practical things that you can do right now to improve your marketing and communications. Over the course of the series I will touch on a range of topics including digital, development, communications, governance, and more.

Malcolm, Ashton 1. Love and Toilets, initial development (STCSA, 2017) - design by Meg Wilson.
Ashton Malcolm, design by Meg Wilson. (2017) Love and Toilets, initial development.


Competitors – Keep Your Friends Close

At a conference recently I heard the comment “I’d like to think that in the arts we don’t have competitors so much as collaborators.” Many nodded in agreement and murmured about how the arts are different.


Sorry to be crass but I’m calling it out. The arts, like any other industry, product, event, activity, basically any other thing in existence, exists in a competitive environment. You are competing for grants, for venues, for page space, for donors, for clicks, for audiences, for attention, for advocates, for survival.

Yes collaboration is a strength and should be encouraged. But don’t be so naive as to think you have no competitors, or that your collaborators themselves aren’t competing with you in some instances.

In any given circumstances those competitors will be a different mix of organisations. In some cases you are competing against someone who is very similar to you, who is well known to you, and who is potentially a collaborator. In some cases you may be competing against something you don’t even know about, like a family reunion that will eat up a key patron’s weekend on the day of your new launch.

Recognise your competitors, articulate where they are stronger than you and where you are stronger than them. Be open with your team about who they are and how concerned you are about them. Acknowledging you competition will help to identify, crystallise and reinforce your own points of difference.



Leave a Reply