UK performing arts venue evaluates their creative production model

A world-renowned London arts organisation was facing a number of financial challenges. These were further accentuated by the lockdown measures and restrictions imposed due to Covid-19.

The Challenge

Our client urgently needed to ensure cost savings and drive efficiencies for its in-house agency (IHA). The project directive was to ‘provide consultancy and recommendations how the venue can make significant cost savings – presenting all findings in a Board Level document’ for its creative production model and associated areas of business.

The EKCS Solution

A Project Discovery team worked with key stakeholders to understand the venue’s process, operations and media materials. Areas explored included (but not limited to):

  • Template-based artwork (studio and automated, all media)
  • Creation of assets for social media (included Instagram stories/posts, graphics, Q&A, social media assets)
  • Assets relating to film programmes in multiple languages and formats (included trailers, posters, digital screens and cast sheets)
  • Creation of assets for digital screens displayed ‘front of house’ (for example ‘What’s On’, casting, hashtags, café pricing, late offers
  • Assets supporting the venue’s on-site bar and restaurant (production of menus, table settings, cake boxes, drinks lists)
  • Flyers and other POS print materials relating to ‘front of house’ events (production of multiple promotional materials and media)
  • Creative and production retouching for photos and images (end materials used across all media channels and multiple countries)

Several ‘hard and soft’ recommendations were provided. These included: 

  • Automated artwork (digital and print)
    • Utilizing online automated artwork builder/variable template software. This simple efficiency allowing re-deployment of creative resources, a reduction in errors, timelines and costs.
  • Use only pre-approved master creative layouts to save time and improve brand compliance.
  • Integrated Digital Asset Management (DAM) tools
    • The discovery project found no DAM solution in place and all the associated inefficiencies. A simple DAM solution, deployed for the in-house creative studios but also adopted by all departments with the venue would bring clear primary and secondary benefits.
  • Workflow, Approval Process and Internal Comms
    • The study found protracted, counter-productive WOWs in all of the above.
    • Several industry-standard recommendations were made to modify and improve.

The Results

A cycle of lockdowns in the UK since the discovery project has restricted the venue’s ability to open to the public. The venue has been closed for the majority of 2020 and well into 2021, opening only in short periods and operating at very limited capacity.

The venue has significantly benefited from a government emergency loan specifically for arts and heritage organisations. Further fundraising has also taken place. The next steps will be implemented once a full UK lockdown is lifted (late summer 2021) and the venue can operate at full capacity.

In the interim, the venue continues to implement some of the discovery recommendations to ensure its creative production model and IHA will be competitive and efficient in the post-Covid 19 landscape.

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