Western Bay Museum Rebranding and Marketing Launch 2020
We are a small museum with a city museum attitude, and we’ve just had our exciting new branding and marketing launch. Our budgets are tight to say the least, but I believe this investment will be worth it.
In August we celebrated our 4th birthday as Western Bay Museum. Much hard work has paid off and is reflected in our growth and development as a reputable institution. We have had time to fine-tune our public programmes and deliveries, along with refreshing our branding. Almost a year in the making, a job that initially started with a simple business case, turned into a full-scale reinvigoration of the Museum’s image.
Our philosophy is do it once, do it right.
And so, it was time to employ the services of professionals; I sought advice from Priority One who recommended Zest Consulting. We needed someone that could feel, understand, and really fall in love with Western Bay Museum. Emma from Zest Consulting was the perfect match and has truly embraced this project.
With Emma’s professional approach, the job grew. It became apparent that we needed to rebrand and redesign all media, promotional material, digital platforms, and print marketing. Our new branding had to be more inclusive and the Kale Print design team were crucial in this process.
Once we established an estimated fee for consulting services and basic design, I secured sponsorship from Taylor Bros Transport Ltd for stage one.
The overall objectives were to build a powerful brand, widen our audiences, introduce our public programmes, increase awareness, shift to online business, and drive our social media channels, and redesign our print marketing.
In addition, I needed a prospectus of sorts, to encourage future investment from our sponsors, partners, and stakeholders.
So many individuals, groups, organisations, and businesses have been part of our success and as stage two of the project approached, I required more donations to pay for the new print material and funds to pay for the marketing campaign. Our thinking was, there is no point spending all this money on rebranding without a marketing campaign to follow it up. I contacted my connections and the funds came rolling in. This includes a joint grant application with Katch Katikati and Katikati Community Centre to fund a digital specialist who can work weekly between the three organisations’ digital platforms.
We also established a new sales book that says who we are, what we do and where we’ve come from, highlights our achievements, illustrates key museum facts and figures, demonstrates what is planned and needed for future development of the museum including funding, resources and timeframes, and how we plan to get there, and the methodology behind the new branding. It also tells our story and I do hope this empowers future support and investment.
Practically speaking, we needed to develop a new visual identity for our branding; colour selection, straplines, artwork and motifs, as well as language and tone, were crucial in deciding this. We chose red as our statement colour for several reasons: it connects strongly with the museum building and collection as the fire station has protected our community since 1953 and we have replaced the fire engines and hoses for our historical collection; in Te Ao Māori, red represents Te Whei Ao, the realm of Coming into Being. It also represents, emergence, forest and land. Red is Papatūānuku, the Earth Mother, the sustainer of all living things; and red also conveys adventure, energy and excitement, qualities we want visitors to associate with the Museum. The other colours are neutral, earthy tones already used in many of our exhibits and experiences.
From here, a new everything followed: logo, sales, book, brochures, business cards, email signatures, volunteer lanyards and badges, website, Instagram and Facebook material. We also improved our core value proposition and key messages, ensuring these stay relevant to our museum. From September 2020 – June 2021 we also have a strategic promotional campaign running, which includes radio, digital and print media.
One outcome of all this work was ‘WBM was generally unknown – a hidden gem’. Now our investment is already paying off; despite having to manoeuvre Covid-19 levels our visitor numbers are up and looking good. We’re now a bright and visible gem.
Our timing to introduce the new branding and promotional platforms could not have come at a better time; as COVID-19 has forced change, we had to rethink our strategies and look to expand our national visitor audiences. This is more apparent and necessary today than ever. Opening our borders to international visitors appears to be a very long way off. Through donations we have been able to launch our robust marketing plan. A costly exercise but a plan which will increase awareness and in turn increase visitor numbers and allow us to bounce back from the effects of COVID.
We have also now made our Museum free entry to all Western Bay of Plenty District rate payers. We are spreading our wings and letting Aotearoa know we are here with ever-changing thematic exhibitions, unique museum experiences and a determination to become Aotearoa’s best small museum.