Dear Laguna Beach Patron of the Arts,
What We Need To Understand: We are in a transitional time, moving deeper into the digital age, including the arts. No one knows where we are going. Technology made what we did 3 years ago obsolete for today’s challenges. The following finds are an essential first step for the future of Laguna Beach and the arts:
Laguna’s Core Power: The marketing strength of Laguna Beach has always been its organic growth combining the Arts and its beautiful local. The City can count itself as very lucky. Within a 1.2 mile radius it offers 100 galleries, 3 festivals, museum and plenty of art education. This is convenient, but can also overwhelm, since 1-day visitors can’t visit all the galleries during art walk. To support visitors, an destination like Laguna Beach would profit from a cultural mobile app with an accompanying website and integrated social media links. The app needs to include an updated and complete master directory of all its cultural stakeholders. See New York’s gallery map (without hospitality) as an example http://chelseagallerymap.com.
Connect Buyer & Seller: While serving on the steering commission of the Newport Beach Arts & Cultural Master Plan, my own research confirmed that the key is all about connecting the right audience to the right product, now. Now is today’s most important success factor on the web and in world-business. A non-targeted arts exposure counts almost zero and is often dismissed, while delivering the right information to the right people spawns interest. People who want to buy art, don’t want to browse 100 galleries to “perhaps” find what they need. Collectors do not want to be bothered with plein air, when they are looking for minimal abstract. The overwhelm of choices demands help to connect the RIGHT BUSINESSES to the RIGHT CUSTOMER!
Convenience as Sales Force: Another reaffirming trend is that convenience increasingly plays a major role in getting people’s attention, react, take action to buy or visit a certain venue. Except traffic and parking, pretty much everything can be handled over the web connecting buyers with what they want.. By adding a complete and updated event calendar, this cultural app would be the most powerful implementation any city can currently do for its economy. Actually, an app could affect traffic and parking positively too.
The App Solution: To enliven the the arts, a complete and updated Master Directory for Arts & Culture available on the web and as mobile app has more impact than any event or venue could generate. Currently, there are numerous lists, but none of them is complete or representative of what Laguna Beach has to offer. This cultural app’s success thrives on the completeness of Laguna Beach’s cultural stakeholders. Lists in magazines lack the functions of interactive of mobile devices such as directions or contact the store before visiting. The key is that the audience can put in their preferences and quickly find what they are looking for with attached map and relevant information. Money can be made by charging any business for special exposure or additional content other than name, telephone number, address and website to stand out on a page.
Follow Up Step: After Laguna Beach has created a central master cultural app, the next step is to implement a complete and relevant events calendar with hospitality options that connects art venues with the special interest clientele. Laguna Beach would be able to sell its unique cultural experiences and helping audiences find and sell them what they are looking for quickly and easily.
Better Experience: The app would improve customer experience and increased audience participation. If the visitor experiences an adventure that is convenient, discovers and finds more of what they intended, they will return and tell their friends. The best advertising is word of mouth.
Real Data Benefits: Besides an increase in sales and attendance of art events, an app would be a perfect interactive tool to gather more accurate information about the relevance of Laguna’s cultural stakeholders. It would provide a steady stream of information and an arts real-me needs assessment of Laguna Beach visitors, which is more important than anything one can do otherwise for any local business.
Official Interface: I feel that Visit Laguna Beach needs to take the helm of this project, since this app with website are primarily in context with hospitality of the City. Stakeholders have to participate to keep this project relevant. This directory could also be a bases to start a dialogue between stakeholders to smooth Laguna’s cultural events calendar, avoiding double bookings and overlapping events.
Pledge: Finally, this project needs to stand above all personal interests and conflicts, in the spirit of honoring Laguna Beach’s magical whom, that gives so much life to the arts and its audiences. I ask you Ladies and Gentlemen how can we achieve this and who is on board?
In 2015, I have been asked by Peter Blake of Peter Blake Gallery, Robert Holton of Drizzle Gallery, Michael Roy of LGOCA, and many others to look into the Laguna Beach Art Business and give them my assessment. Michaell Magrutsche is an Austrian-Californian multimedia artist, creative consultant, art educator and former Cultural Arts Commissioner of Newport Beach living in Laguna Beach.
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