What is an ambassador? “A community networker with the objective of spreading the word about arts and cultural events and/or representing the views and aspirations of a target community*” * Based on a definition created by the Arts Ambassador Unit, Manchester
Why? • Usually a member of the community you wish to attract so uniquely placed to endorse your venue or product • The value of word of mouth and personal recommendations • Ambassadors can offer insights into target markets, listen to what people are saying, and offer valuable feedback
Top Tips • These are relationships built on trust. Ambassadors must be respected and not over-stretched either politically or financially • Ambassadors are not marketers. They need to have regular briefings on any key messages you wish to communicate • Set out a clear job description and how their role fits into the wider organsational structure, and how long the role will last. Be clear from the outset. • Don’t forget to consult them – they are your target market • They may be paid/reimbursed for expenses, but they should not benefit directly from sales • Remember that your ambassadors need support too
Words of warning • Ambassadors present the same management issues you would face with any ‘employees’ – be prepared • A casual attitude towards ‘casual staff’ will waste time • Even great ambassadors will have a hard time selling poor-quality arts experiences!
Case Studies 1. ‘The Modern Times’ is a group of people aged 14-21 who meet regularly to programme events for mima. They offer guided tours of the gallery and contribute to a Facebook page with 186 fans.
Case Studies 2. The New Art Gallery Walsall employ an ambassador to consult with them on engaging with the Muslim community. He spreads news of events and exhibitions within this community and is a passionate advocate of the gallery.
Case Studies 3. Using an ambassador scheme, the Corn Exchange arts centre in Newbury, West Berkshire increased the percentage of young attenders from 6 per cent to 12 per cent (a figure higher than the 9 per cent representation of young people in the local population as a whole).