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Listening to audience to drive your strategy

We’ve just delivered the audience insight report for Hay Festival 2023.

Months of work, meeting and listening to visitors, participants and potential visitors.  Hearing about their experiences, their opinions and their suggestions.  Analysing the insight is challenging.  Sorting through hours of focus group recordings and analysing thousands of survey responses.  The key is to understand what is important, what is different and what can help us to shape our strategy for the future.

Hay Festival lives its values.  Inviting different perspectives and ideas to help them shape their audience development and creative strategies for the future.  They’ve taken a whole organisation approach to this programme of work resulting in a recent workshop where colleagues from across the organisation were invited to hear and respond to our findings.

The outcome was an audience development action plan which we’ll all be responsible for delivering together.  Hay Festival have a really strong identity and a sense of what they want to acheive.  The insight helps to tell a story of what your brand and its experiences mean to people and how we need to grow and adapt to a changing world.  The challenges that we might need to face if we are going to be a truly audience centred organisation.

Spending time with audiences was a pretty humbling experience.  Hearing from people for whom culture and the arts is a crucial part of their identity.  Remembering the power that the arts have in transforming lives and making a difference.   The value that artists and thinkers deliver for our society.

Huge thanks to the Hay Festival team, the audiences who participated and the Audience Agency who supported our work.  I can’t wait to see the next chapter of the Hay Festival storybook.