By the time I even get half way finished with this post it will be out of date, but I'm going to write it anyways.
I witnessed something incredible tonight. The Philadelphia Orchestra was supposed to be performing in Carnegie Hall tonight. Due to a stagehand strike, the show was cancelled and they decided to put together a last minute free concert to the public. In less than 12hrs of marketing via the internet they PACKED Verizon Hall.
For those of you who don't know, Verizon Hall is huge. I mean really huge.
There was some serious spreading of the word (marketing!) going on today. Unfortunately the hash tag (#philorchpopup) is a little clunky so it's not even close to being a fair representation of how much buzz was going on today about this concert. I would venture to say (quite confidently) that this was hands down the most buzz about a concert they've ever had. This orchestra is over a hundred years old. That's wild.
What caused it?
I can't say for sure, but I have a hunch it had a lot to do with the fact that the orchestra was providing tremendous value to their community tonight. They could've just gone home after hearing the concert was off in NYC, but they didn't. Instead they slapped together a concert filled with favorites that everyone would enjoy. Their world class conductor, Yannick Nezet-Seguin was talking to the audience the entire performance. They had a little girl conduct William Tell. The audience had out their cellphones and were encouraged to film and share the concert with the world! They did all of this in casual clothes.
Everyone was having a blast and it shows online. There are hundreds of posts going on around Twitter and Facebook. Musicians were even filming from the stage. Some of the posts I've seen have hundreds of shares, likes, and retweets. If the hash tag were a little better I think we could track it even closer!
Like most businesses, organizations tend to try and buy the attention of their audiences. Tonight happened all because it was exciting, a phenomenal product, and it was all for the audience. They probably didn't spend anymore than a little staff time today getting the word out.
The time has come for organizations to rethink how they connect and engage with their audiences and I hope tonight starts a dialogue in every arts marketing depart across the country about what they can be doing to better serve their communities.
Also, just an FYI, Carol Jantsch's video from the stage has gained like 50 Likes and the shares have over doubled since I wrote this. Just think about how many people The Philadelphia Orchestra reached tonight. It really is amazing.