Brand tracking in the Cultural sector

Since our blog about specialist sector tracking, which linked to a ‘what we do’ page on our website, which is here, we’ve had considerable interest from a number of organisations, and have commenced two projects, one of which is in the cultural sector, in addition to one we had already started. However, this page results from some feedback from one of our cultural clients. They said, perfectly amicably, “We don’t need it, as we have our exit surveys.”

Therefore, we thought we would describe the benefits of tracking in the cultural sector in a bit more detail.


Exit surveys are certainly useful for learning about visit satisfaction and can be of some use in gaining simple understanding of some other issues , but tracking has very different applications and delivers very different benefits.


Tracking measures awareness of the things that make a venue desirable and how that awareness drives changes in visitor numbers.


It is strategic information which should drive strategic decisions about how the venue presents itself to its audiences. It allows comparisons to be made with similar venues, and non visitors to be evaluated alongside visitors. These things can’t be done reliably via exit interviews. For example an exit interview can’t possibly reliably compare views of your venue, immediately after a visit, versus other venues that may have been experienced up to a year earlier.

An example below:


In the case of the client concerned we conducted qualitative research amongst visitors to identify the key things about the venue that made it attractive to them (excluding the content, which is a ‘hygiene factor’). These dimensions were then put on the tracking study and the extent to which the venue displays those traits were measured. They were compared to other venues that the client wants to measure itself against. Below is an example of the question comparing our clients venue to those it wanted to compare itself to. A second question followed, asking respondents to rate the client venue on each criteria, on a six point scale, so that changes can be measured over time and correlated to changes in visitor-ship. Changes in actual visitor-ship as well as claimed visitor-ship of course.

Perceptions can then be correlated to affinity with the venue:

And then affinity can be correlated with visiting:

Respondents can be identified into the clients segmentation if they have one. Priority segments, and / or those most easily engaged , can be tracked to identify whether they are being attracted to a greater degree than others.



Tracking waves can either be conducted on a regular basis, for instance annually, or pre and post waves of activity. Or both approaches can be taken. As an example, the V&A run a brand campaign, targeting people who visit cultural venues but not the V&A. In general this group do not realise what a beautiful place the V&A is, and so the executions are intended to communicate that:

The V&A could run a tracking wave pre and post the burst of advertising and measure the perception change towards the V&A amongst non visitors: they could see if the advertising is working.

Similarly, waves could occur pre and post a blockbuster exhibition to see if the reputation of the exhibition has had an effect on attitudes and disposition to visit the venue staging the exhibition.

Again, an example from the V&A: qualitative research we have conducted for a number of clients recently suggests that ‘Savage Beauty’ at the V&A has raised the reputation of the V&A, even amongst people who didn’t see it. Pre and post tracking would identify if this was the case, and to what degree it had increased non visitors likelihood to visit. It may be, for instance that the best time to run their brand advertising is immediately after a highly regarded exhibition, the combination of the reputation of the exhibition and the message in the ads, being enough to prompt a visit, when the ads or exhibition alone may not be?

Of course, the tracking questionnaire can then be customised to address anything else that the client wishes to measure. Examples:

Source of awareness
What you stand for
Your key values
Reputation – in relation to significant news
Reasons for not visiting
Awareness of significant changes
Awareness of sponsorships
Appropriateness of sponsorship partners


So do let us know if you would like to discuss tracking further. Email James here.

Examples of our work

(Click on the image to find out more)


Nestle impress us. Of the multinational FMCG businesses it is the most flexible and adaptable, maybe along with Pernod-Ricard. We were appointed to identify portfolio priorities and define key brand propositions.

Musee de l'Air et de l'Espace

The museum is on the outskirts of Paris. We were appointed to assist in planning a new area of the museum aimed at children. An enjoyable project with a good client, and which provided some amusement!

Minette Walters

Our first publishing project. Defining audience, brand, and communications plan. Very successful.