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Emotion and inspiration at the van Gogh Museum
 

Emotion and inspiration at the van Gogh Museum

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    Emotion and inspiration at the van Gogh Museum Emotion and inspiration at the van Gogh Museum Document Transcript

    • Page 1 – CONGRESS 2013 Copyright © ESOMAR 2013 INTRODUCTION Art museums today are more than ever challenged to create an engaging experience. To ensure their position and be financially independent, they need to stand out and exceed visitors’ expectations. Audience research is one of the tools that museums use to achieve this. However, while there’s an undeniable link between art experience and emotion, most research into museums ignores the importance of emotion in visitor satisfaction and loyalty. This presentation is a case study of a successfully executed research study on human and brand related emotions in a worldwide renowned museum. TNS and the Van Gogh Museum have taken visitor research to the next level and took a deep-dive into the emotions and social values that drive the museum experience. Taking an approach that aimed to understand and manage emotion at every stage of the marketing process was a big step and a brave move for the Van Gogh Museum. In this presentation, we take you along on the journey that TNS and the Van Gogh Museum set about to find the key to creating an engaging museum brand experience. CONTEXT The Van Gogh Museum With 1.5 million visitors per year, the Van Gogh Museum belongs to the top 25 most popular museums of the world (Pes and Sharpe, 2012). This success is borne by its impressive art collection. The Van Gogh Museum contains the largest collection of paintings by Vincent van Gogh in the world. Together with the many drawings and letters by the artist, the museum is a must see for every Van Gogh enthusiast, of which there are many. Vincent van Gogh is present in all art top 10 lists: most popular painters, greatest artists of all time, most famous paintings, most expensive paintings, best viewed paintings on Google Art (Huiskamp, 2013), etc. Van Gogh has a larger than life reputation around the globe. It would be a wonderful achievement for the Van Gogh Museum to enjoy a similarly grand reputation. The Van Gogh Museums’ audience is exceptionally young (for an art museum) with an average visitor age of 32 years. Also, it is very diverse with regards to origin of the audience. Van Gogh Museum visitors come all the way from the USA, France, Spain, Great Britain, Brazil, Japan, Russia and China and all other countries in between these corners. A mere 15% are visitors from The Netherlands itself. The mission of the Van Gogh Museum is to “make the life and work of Vincent van Gogh and the art of his time accessible to as many people as possible in order to enrich and inspire them.” But does the museum succeed in doing so? Although the collection is the largest in the world, it is also limited. During his ten-year artistic career, Van Gogh was highly prolific. A full 864 paintings and almost 1,200 drawings and prints have survived. The largest collection of his work, but nonetheless no more than 200 paintings, 437 drawings and 31 prints can be found in the Van Gogh Museum. The available gallery space of the museum is very limited. The Prado Museum in Madrid has a twentyfold capacity for example; the Metropolitan Museum in New York is eighty times bigger. The Van Gogh Museum just may be one of the world’s most densely packed museums. Does the limited gallery space also limit the magnitude of the experience in the Van Gogh Museum? And is it possible for visitors to feel enriched and inspired in such a high-density environment? An interesting category, an unusual brand The art museum category is highly dependent on tourism, although it does more so for some organisations within the category than for others. Tourism to The Netherlands and Amsterdam is a crucial aspect of the Van Gogh Museum’s success, since it appeals to such a very varied group of visitors. Events like 9/11 and the ash cloud due to the Icelandic volcanic eruption in 2010 and major developments such as the economic down turn in Western countries since 2008 resulted in an immediate effect on visitor numbers and composition, as does the increasing popularity of upcoming economic powers such as Brazil and Russia. EMOTION AND INSPIRATION AT THE VAN GOGH MUSEUM HOW EMOTION-BASED VISITOR RESEARCH CAN CREATE ENGAGING BRAND EXPERIENCES Laurine van de Wiel • Saskia Brocx
    • Page 2 – CONGRESS 2013 Copyright © ESOMAR 2013 In addition to these category specifics, the Van Gogh Museum is a brand but not in the usual sense:  It is neither a product nor a service.  It is an experience and a destination.  It is globally known but only available in one place in the world.  It displays objects of extremely high value that are irreplaceable.  There are no seasonal updates or revised versions. No Sunflowers 2.0.  The artist is a bigger brand than the museum itself.  It probably experiences more competition from outside its own category than from within. In Amsterdam that competition is a boat trip through the canals, visiting the red light district or the coffee shops, etc. And last but not least, the content that is desired by all categories and brands, a museum has in abundance. There is Van Gogh’s art - his paintings and drawings in the museum’s permanent collection - with all its attractive power. There are his letters, over 600 of them owned and meticulously researched by the Van Gogh Museum, in which Van Gogh ‘expresses his emotions and beliefs so strongly and convincingly that a “real” writer could hardly have improved upon them’ (Hulsker, 1987). These two key elements and the knowledge the museum has built upon them enables the Van Gogh Museum to tell a story about emotion, passion and life. The unusual category and the brand specifics posed challenges from both marketing and research perspectives, but there were also market characteristics and insights that were highlighted by previous research in the Van Gogh and other Dutch museums that challenged the museum and its research partner. Market related challenges A retreating government Cultural institutions are increasingly expected to be financially independent and so additional income through cultural entrepreneurship is necessary to maintain and improve the quality of the museum in the longer term. Increase in supply This past year, the Van Gogh Museum was happy to welcome back quite a few Amsterdam based museums that reopened their doors after many a year of grand renovation works. The most important ones are the two neighbours of Van Gogh Museum at the Museum Square in Amsterdam. The largest museum of modern art in The Netherlands, the Stedelijk Museum, reopened in September 2012 and the Rijksmuseum, the largest Dutch art and history museum of the country, spectacularly reopened in April of 2013. Also the EYE film museum and the Maritime Museum reopened recently. All these brand new museums have enriched the landscape of cultural offer in the city, making it more diverse and of state-of-the- art quality. Increase in demand The increased supply coincided with a greater demand. Since a good couple of years the Dutch museum association notes an increase in visitor numbers of museums (Dutch Museum Association, 2013). The same is happening in Great Britain. Records are broken each year, from almost half of the adult population in the UK visiting an art exhibition in 2011 (Muffett, 2012), to the Welsh museums gaining the most visitors in its history in 2012. The Louvre in Paris, France, the worlds’ most popular museum, broke its own visitor record in 2012, to almost 9 million customers in one year (Attwooll, 2012) and the Metropolitan Museum in New York attracted over 6 million visitors in that same year; its best performance in four decades (Metropolitan Museum, 2012). Some believe the economic uncertainty in Western countries contributes to the growing appeal of art (Muffett, 2012) with museums serving as safe public space, stable oases in the midst of turmoil (Merritt, 2008) where people are seeking out art as an escape from the realities of daily life (Zafar, 2012). How does this challenge the Van Gogh Museum? The combination of increasing demand and physical limitations of the collection and building, as mentioned previously, challenges the Van Gogh Museum in the distribution of its product. How can demand be satisfied in a way that corresponds with the museum’s mission? To ensure its top position in the Dutch and global museum market, to remain the first choice of visitors of Amsterdam and to become financially even more independent, the Van Gogh Museum needs to stand out from its competition, exceed its visitors’ expectations and continue to build its loyal customer base around the world. Audience research is one of the tools that the museum sets about in order to achieve this.
    • Page 3 – CONGRESS 2013 Copyright © ESOMAR 2013 Challenges highlighted by previous audience research TNS had previously done audience research at the Van Gogh Museum, but also in approximately 80 other museums in the sector. It has provided these museums with valuable information on general satisfaction and on importance and satisfaction of many aspects of the offer and service. It was however mainly focused on the functional level, like most audience research. In many of these studies we found that when we look at this level of visitor needs, there hardly seem to be any improvements to be made, especially for the popular Van Gogh Museum. In the MuseumMonitor, TNS’ annual multi-client audience research monitor with an average of 40 participating Dutch museums, we use the TRI*M system to identify and prioritise performance improvement actions. As figure 1 shows, in terms of offer and service, the museums generally do a great job. Overall, the only aspect of the offer and service in these museums which seemed to need improvement was the “information about the objects”. FIGURE 1, TRI*M GRID OFFER AND SERVICE ASPECTS, 40 DUTCH MUSEUMS, 2011 However, when we analysed the impact of experience-related aspects on visitor satisfaction and loyalty, the picture turned out to be much less perfect (see figure 2). FIGURE 2, TRI*M GRID EXPERIENCE ASPECTS, 40 DUTCH MUSEUMS, 2011
    • Page 4 – CONGRESS 2013 Copyright © ESOMAR 2013 The aspects “touches me” and “inspires me” proved to have a high impact on audience retention (horizontal axis). In addition, visitors stated the high importance of these aspects when visiting a museum (vertical axis). However, the satisfaction scores were below average (triangles). The same results, but to a lesser extent were shown for the aspects “makes me think” and “surprises me”. TNS shared these insights with the Van Gogh Museum and conducted similar research there. Although the results for the Van Gogh Museum were better than these overall results from the MuseumMonitor, we felt we were definitely on to something. It showed that it’s not so much the aspects of the offer and service that are traditionally being monitored in visitor research which need improvement. It’s the experience and how museums can touch and inspire their visitors that needed to be improved. Since the primary mission of the Van Gogh Museum is to enrich and inspire her visitors, and since these seemed to be exactly the elements that make for an engaging experience and loyal visitors, the research was telling us that we needed to center our future visitor research on emotion. INSPIRATION AND EMOTION Emotion and art Emotional responses are often regarded as the keystone to experiencing art, and the creation of an emotional experience as the purpose of artistic expression (Fellous, 2006). Art by-passes our rational response, but has a profound emotional impact by capturing universal themes. Neurological research has shown that when viewing art, the brain regions involved in the experience of emotion and goal settings are activated (Cupchik, Vartanian, Crawley and Mikulis, 2009). There is debate among researchers as to what types of emotions works of art can elicit. The aesthetic appreciation is obviously mostly determined by liking or disliking a work of art, but a number of theories suggest that the pleasure of experiencing art is also dependent on its comprehensibility. So when a museum provides information about a work of art, such as a title, description, or the artist’s quotes, viewers will understand the piece better and show more enjoyment of it (Millis, 2001). However, viewers of art also feel more complex emotions that cannot be solely described by the pleasure-displeasure continuum or by comprehensibility. Psychology researcher Paul Silvia (2009) has sorted them into several categories, of which knowledge emotions, self-conscious emotions and aesthetic chills are most applicable to the museum context. Art and knowledge emotions Knowledge emotions are reactions to the combination of thinking and feeling when seeing a work of art. These types of emotions often motivate further thinking and learning, which traditionally is one of Dutch museums’ main missions and stems from the social democratic ideal of elevating the people through knowledge and appreciation of the arts. Examples of knowledge emotions are effects such as surprise, interest and confusion. Museums can try to stimulate, trigger or counter these emotions by adding information to the piece, by displaying it in an unconventional context or by highlighting aspects that are usually disregarded. Surprise and interest usually contribute to a pleasurable aesthetic experience, so managing them extensively will have a positive impact on visitors’ perceptions of the museum. Confusion on the other hand is a discomforting emotion, which is most often experienced by art novices and must be dealt with carefully by the educational department of a museum. Art and self-conscious emotions Self-conscious emotions are much more complex emotions. They occur when people assess a piece of art or an exhibition in terms of its agreement with their self-perception and the perception of their own behavior. These emotions are responses that reflect upon the viewers’ self and his or her actions and can vary from pride to embarrassment, guilt, shame and regret. Artists often express these self-conscious emotions in response to their own work, but these types of emotions can also be felt by an individual viewer or even experienced collectively. These are complex emotions that people don’t recognize nor admit to easily, and they need to be managed carefully by museums. Art and aesthetic chills People can also experience aesthetic chills when viewing a piece of art (Silvia and Nusbaum, 2011). This emotional response is related to similar aesthetic experiences such as absorption, awe and feeling touched. To most people, experiencing these chills is the ultimate sign of a significant experience and a museum that succeeds in touching its visitors at this level will most likely leave an unforgettable imprint. Van Gogh’s paintings have sometimes been described to have such a profoundly touching impact in the museums’ guestbook: “I entered this hallowed place with my eyes brimming with tears. And then I spent hours looking at the works he'd touched, even created, with his very own hands. I was amazed by the magnificence of the paintings viewed up close in comparison to the reproductions in books and magazines. I could have spent several more days there and never had enough!” Martha Ward, France
    • Page 5 – CONGRESS 2013 Copyright © ESOMAR 2013 Marketing and emotion Emotion drives every aspect of our behavior and how we view the world. Managed well, emotion allows marketers to create something unique, something competitors can’t directly copy and something customers will pay a premium for. This was seen as radical thinking a couple of decades ago but is now widely accepted and proven. Neuroscience has accelerated progress in the study of emotions and their role in human behaviour. In particular Damasio’s research (1994) has helped to elucidate the neural basis for emotions and has proven that emotions are the key driver of social cognition and decision-making. Consumer neuroscientists have taken neuroscience to the fields of market research, advertising and branding, resulting in the full endorsement of emotion as the underlying driver of brand preference and purchase by marketing professionals (Ambler and Burne, 1999). Today, marketers recognize emotion as the core component of any successful brand. Emotion in marketing has become an industry in itself and is embraced by sectors as diverse as finance, technology, retail, healthcare, travel and even B2B and social services. The museum sector, traditionally more focused on content and less on marketing, had not fully explored the importance of emotions in branding yet. Taking on this challenge would mean radical changes to the way museums brands are traditionally managed. Every element of branding and communications would need to speak emotively, and every touch point would be involved. Even decisions on which brands the museum wants to attract and work with in partnerships and sponsorships have an emotional component. There is no half commitment to emotion, but many brands in other categories have shown that the payback makes it worth it. How to inspire your audience Which organizations or companies are most inspirational to their audience? Simon Sinek argues it is those who answer these three questions the best: how, what and most importantly: why? (Sinek, 2009). Applied to the Van Gogh Museum you can say that the ‘what’ are the paintings and knowledge. The ‘how’ is through displaying art and storytelling. The ‘why’ is fundamentally about the purpose, the reason for being of even the right to exist. It can also be called your brand mission (Mosmans and Van Liemt, 2012). For the Van Gogh Museum, it is expressed in its mission statement; “to make the life and work of Vincent van Gogh and the art of his time accessible to as many people as possible in order to enrich and inspire them”. Yet, the Van Gogh Museum learned from the audience research that the values ‘to enrich and inspire’ needed to be met in a more satisfactory manner. This is Apple’s ‘why’: Apple believes in challenging the status quo and in being different. They just happen to sell computers. So what does the Van Gogh Museum truly believe in? And what addresses subsequently the emotions and beliefs of the consumer? How can the museum ensure it actually touches their audience at a deeper level? The answer lies in giving emotion a central place in the museum’s brand and using it as a basis for the brand and communication strategy. This was crucial for an organization that traditionally approaches its market from its art historical knowledge. RESEARCH OBJECTIVES, METHOD AND SET-UP Many questions were raised, because people are touched and inspired by different things at different levels, and every visitor has different social and emotive needs. Is there a way to cluster and quantify them? And how can we sharpen the brand position in order to respond more effectively to those needs? To create an engaging brand experience and unravel what it takes to inspire and touch visitors, the Van Gogh Museum needed to understand the emotive dynamics of visitor needs and brand perception. TNS and the Van Gogh Museum decided that emotion-based audience research was the first step in this process and defined the following research objectives:  Identify, understand and quantify visitors’ deep-seated needs  Perform a need-based visitor segmentation  Evaluate the brand delivery in terms of these underlying visitor needs  Define ways to tap more adequately into them and to establish a firmer brand-need relationship The NeedScope research system provided us with the model, the psychological framework and the appropriate techniques to answer our research questions (see figure 3).
    • Page 6 – CONGRESS 2013 Copyright © ESOMAR 2013 FIGURE 3, THE NEEDSCOPE RESEARCH SYSTEM The consumer-brand-relationship model The consumer-brand-relationship model recognises three main levels of consumer needs and brand image: the emotive, social-identity and functional layers. Starting at the heart are consumers’ emotive needs - the driving force behind brand choice. These needs are satisfied by the symbolism, or the personality, of the brand. This layer is hard to reach. It’s less tangible and largely subconscious but it’s where strong relationships are built. In the museum context, this layer translates to needs about how the visitor wants to come across and feel in the museum such as the need to feel inspired, free, well-informed, etc. The museum can fulfil these needs with its brand personality and create an emotive experience, for example fun-loving, serious or warm. The next layer is social identity needs – these exist because we’re social animals and we need to identify ourselves with groups in our society, to affirm where we fit in. For museums, this layer is all about peer group related needs, for example to be part of a hip, intellectual, or artistic crowd. A museum can satisfy these needs via its social values, which can be communicated by the sort of people used in communications, but also by brand image features like for everyone, for intellectuals, international, etc. On the surface are the functional needs, which are satisfied by product delivery. These are quite tangible and easily accessible. In a museum, these could be needs like information delivery needs, language-related needs, etc. Having a strong connection across all three layers is what makes a strong brand, and in the case of the Van Gogh Museum, an engaging experience. The psychological framework The psychological model allowed us to frame the different kinds of emotive experiences visitors are looking for. The NeedScope framework is based on archetypes, one of the key concepts in analytical psychology, and the work of Carl Jung. The model consists of two dimensions. The Yin/Yang archetypes form the primary dimension and the second dimension is created by the differentiation of the Yin and Yang archetypes into two poles, Dynamic and Static. The interaction of these two dimensions create a need space which can be divided in various ways. The most basic is the division into four fundamental needs, Static Yin and Yang and, Dynamic Yin and Yang. The NeedScope model illustrated in figure 4 shows a common six-way split with direct expressions of Yin and Yang in addition to their Dynamic and Static expressions. FIGURE 4, THE PSYCHOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK
    • Page 7 – CONGRESS 2013 Copyright © ESOMAR 2013 The horizontal axis opposes Yin and Yang. Yin is about the need for affiliation and receptivity while Yang is about individuality and assertiveness. So the left is about the need to belong and feel part of things while the right is about the need to stand out. We can relate this to museums – visiting some museums give us a feeling of being part of things, while others help us stand apart from the crowd and be individuals. The vertical axis divides the model into Dynamic (extroverted) and Static (introverted) poles. In the marketing context, museums that satisfy more extroverted needs make us feel free and liberated and museums that satisfy more introverted needs make us feel comforted or in control. This framework provided a disciplined way to look at emotion and it helped us to manage it at every brand touchpoint. It also gave a common language to talk about emotion which would work across visitors from different cultures. Projective techniques In the same way that art in the museum evokes an emotive response, we have used images to access the emotive level for this research as well. The projective techniques and collages have been developed to tap into each of the NeedScope archetypes and capture both the feeling and the personality of each of them. The research set-up The study was conducted in 2011 and included both a qualitative and a quantitative phase. The qualitative phase aimed to build the needs model that would allow us to understand category behaviour and brand choice. The quantitative phase was set up to segment visitor needs and to identify the dynamics of the brand-need relationship. (See figure 5.) FIGURE 5, THE RESEARCH SET-UP KEY FINDINGS The research showed that Van Gogh Museum visitors are intrinsically driven by the core need for an experience. This need for an experience means different things to different visitors, which we translated into the psychological framework (see figure 6). FIGURE 6, THE FRAMEWORK APPLIED TO THE MUSEUM EXPERIENCE Visitor needs The different experience-related needs have been identified and quantified in the research. The visitor segmentation allowed us to identify six archetypical need segments in which to cluster the needs. The six need segments that we found are based on universal human emotions, but applied to the Van Gogh Museum. We identified them as the Eigenzinnige Ontdekker or Willful Discoverer (top right, red segment), the Klassieke Kunstkenner or Classic Connoisseur (far right, purple segment), the Intellectuele Specialist or Intellectual Specialist (bottom right, blue segment), the Volgzame Bewonderaar or Docile Admirer (bottom left, brown segment), the Easy going Connector (far left, orange segment) and
    • Page 8 – CONGRESS 2013 Copyright © ESOMAR 2013 the Hippe Hedonist or Trendy Hedonist (top left, yellow segment). (See figure 7.) Each of these need segments are well represented amongst visitors of the Van Gogh Museum, which is not surprising since it is a definite must-see attraction for an eclectic mix of visitors and inhabitants of the city of Amsterdam. FIGURE 7, THE NEED SEGMENT NAMES AND SIZES We have made an elaborate profile description of each of these need segments, incorporating all three needs layers of the NeedScope model, but focusing on the most important - social identity and emotive - layers. Translating each need segment into a mood board proved to be a worthwhile addition to these profile descriptions, enabling everyone involved in the project to not only recognize them on a conscious level, but also to really envision, feel and own them. One of the most important need states proved to be the Easy going Connector, which we will now elaborate on to illustrate the research results further. The Easy going Connector feels most at ease with a ‘light’ museum experience. Radiating warmth and being sociable to others is an important driver for this visitor. A well-known and accessible museum - a museum for everyone - therefore fits best with the Easy going Connector. Visiting a museum like this, gives him a carefree feeling, a sense of freedom which helps him relax and feel connected with others. For the Van Gogh Museum, these characteristics of the Easy going Connector are complemented with the basic characteristics of the museum world which are: developed, civilized, intelligent, sharp and analytical. (See figure 8.) FIGURE 8, MOODBOARD FOR THE EASY GOING CONNECTOR
    • Page 9 – CONGRESS 2013 Copyright © ESOMAR 2013 The Needscope research told the Van Gogh Museum that the ideal museum for the Easy going Connector meets the following description: it is spacious and has a clear signage, but it must also be lively (stimulating, colorful, cozy). Employees of the museum are expected to strengthen the visitors’ sense of belonging by a friendly, cordial and open conduct. The communication preferences of the Easy going Connector make clear that are that he or she wants to be up to date with what is happening in the museum at the moment of their visit, such as an exhibition or activities. The internet is the medium that they favour for this. This segment is most interested in the life of the artist and reading quotes by him. Brand perception The research not only focused on visitor needs, but obviously also on the current brand perception. It showed that the Van Gogh Museum owns a mix of attributes from the bottom and the bottom left side of the needs map (see figure 9). It has a definite intellectual and elevated side to it, but it also exudes some very accessible social values such as its image to be for everyone, warm and open. These are values that appeal to the Easy going Connector (Relaxte Verbinder), to the Docile Admirer (Volgzame Bewonderaar) and, somewhat, to the Intellectual Specialist (Intellectuele Specialist) segments. FIGURE 9, BRAND FOOTPRINT VAN GOGH MUSEUM While the research did reveal high loyalty and satisfaction levels in all need segments, especially in the Easy going Connector and the Docile Admirer, we came to the conclusion than in order for the Van Gogh Museum to attain the ‘larger than life’ reputation it aspires to and leave an unforgettable impression on its visitors, the brand image needed to be altered. The somewhat diluted brand image that appealed to a different set of needs at different brand layers had to become more cohesive and sharply defined. Indeed, as we know from brand strategy research in many other categories, a sharply positioned brand resonates better with targeted consumers and results in stronger consumer loyalty, is better equipped to compete against other brands attempting to compete in that territory and drives purchase behavior. Or in the case of the art museum category: a sharply positioned brand resonates better with current and potential museum visitors, results in more repeat visits and increased positive word-of-mouth, is better equipped to compete against similar art museums and drives purchase behavior in the (online) museum shop. A strong and sharply defined brand position also makes the brand more attractive to visitors in other need segments: everybody will know who the Van Gogh Museum is and why they should visit it. So, and this was key for our client: a sharper positioned Van Gogh Museum would make for an engaging brand experience and help the Van Gogh Museum to really stand out, touch and inspire all her visitors. Correlation analyses on all three layers of brands and needs showed that the Van Gogh Museum tapped best into the needs of the Easy going Connector and the Docile Admirer. It revealed that the social identity needs of these segments were quite well fulfilled, but there was room for improvement on the emotive and functional levels of the Van Gogh Museum brand. TNS advised the Van Gogh Museum to focus more strongly on either the Easy going Connector or the Docile Admirer The research gave clues on the pros and cons of both scenarios and helped the Van Gogh Museum in its search for the best way to align its ‘why’ with visitor needs and perceptions.
    • Page 10 – CONGRESS 2013 Copyright © ESOMAR 2013 The results also provided pointers as to how the Van Gogh Museum could translate its more sharply defined Van Gogh Museum brand in a congruent way throughout all touch points and facets of the museum. For example, a museum with an Easy going Connector position is honest and unpretentious. The feeling visitors get in these types of museums is one of harmony, a real sense of balance and stability. Straight-up and practical, a museum positioned here is sincere and real, friendly, harmonious and open. There is genuine warmth in this needstate, accompanied by an easy-going nature and a real sense of balance and stability. Sociability is central, with a generous helping of fun and good humour. The tone is open and receptive – everyone is welcome. It is popular and widely acceptable. It’s about reflecting others, not looking to set yourself apart. Typically not at the premium end of the market, this museum is about being accessible to everyone. In order for the Van Gogh Museum to sharpen its positioning in the Easy going Connector, it needed to retain, develop and limit these attributes:  Retain: for everyone | original, unique | popular, well known | relaxing, peaceful | social, warm.  Develop: artistic, creative | young | carefree | free | engaged| enthusiastic | natural, sincere.  Limit: challenged, inspired | passionate, driven.  With a hint of: informed | intelligent, sharp | developed, civilized | intellectual | analytical. The research provided clear direction for the client and enabled the Van Gogh Museum to start developing and executing a successful brand strategy. It has helped the Van Gogh Museum to find common ground within the organization to choose position as a brand, based on visitor needs and emotions, rather than working with the more traditional mandate driven approach museums tend to use. IMPACT ON BRAND STRATEGY AND DECISION-MAKING Choosing the Easy going Connector positioning The outcomes of the research made the museum focus on its own brand position and how it is regarded by the outside world. This has been a crucial step in the museum’s thinking about its audience. As it attracts such a wide range of visitors it is tempting to want to be all things to all people. Needscope delivered plenty of conclusive arguments to be able to collectively agree on pursuing a more sharply defined personality, to develop it and to make it unique. The process has paved the way for decisions, big and small, to be made and executed. Inspire by imparting knowledge One of the fundamental strengths of museums is the knowledge they store. It is the enjoyable task of the Department of Education to ‘translate’ or interpret this historical art knowledge to the audience. The purpose is to present the content to the audience in such a way that the museum gets its message across whilst at the same time enriching and inspiring them. Gaining insight into the deeper drivers and emotions of its audience, the Van Gogh Museums Educational Department adjusted its guidelines for text displays inside the museum. Also they changed their briefings to external parties like freelance guides and designers that develop products ranging from multimedia tours and apps to engaging tours for school children. All in all, the mix of products by the Educational Department has been tightened, although it is still broad – since the Easy going Connector likes diversity - but with a focus on ‘experiencing together’ and with a clear Van Gogh Museum identity. Some quotes from the renewed guidelines: “Our 'tone of voice' is the way we communicate as Van Gogh Museum, what we say and how we say it. This tone reflects who we are as a museum.” “We are now aware that not every visitor is an art expert, and that we should explain certain concepts and avoid using jargon. All too often we assume that museum visitors are automatically interested in what is on display. What about those who are looking for a beautiful experience? We must ensure that we convey a spark, move people, guide them, and think about things they might not initially give much thought. The story of the art and life of Vincent van Gogh is strong, but the way we say it is crucial. When writing instructional texts that are interesting, appealing and accessible to a wide audience, we do not need to simplify our expertise. But, we have to take into account the needs and interests of our audience.” “Let 'our' voice resound: make all objective comments more personal (‘we think’, ‘we show’ instead of ‘the Van Gogh Museum thinks, shows’ etc.); Choose emotional accents (Van Gogh's insecurities, his psychological condition, etc.) and
    • Page 11 – CONGRESS 2013 Copyright © ESOMAR 2013 quotes to bring Van Gogh closer and to involve the visitor more; Be clear, straightforward and write concretely, it is key that the texts are accessible and understandable.” Staying open to the public during thorough renovation works Last year, the museum was confronted with a necessary renovation to the museum in order to ensure the condition of the building and the safety of the visitors in the long run. Displaying art in the building would not be possible during the seven month renovation period. Taking into account the brand position and feeling the pressure of the people in Amsterdam on the other - who already saw two of its major three museums on the Museum Square closed due to renovation works - the decision was quite simple. The museum would do everything possible to maintain the collection’s accessibility. What followed was some intensive work and negotiations in order to find a solution and keep Van Gogh’s masterpieces visible to the public during the renovation. It succeeded in doing so by moving the collection to the Hermitage Amsterdam for the duration of the renovation This temporary move to a different location had to be widely communicated for all people in Amsterdam, residents and visitors, to be noticed. Aligned with the principles of the Needscope outcome, it was decided to choose as its image the most iconic masterpiece of the museum’s collection, the Sunflowers. The exhibition was named ‘Vincent’ as to cause the least possible confusion and to send out a clear message to manage people’s expectations. The tone of voice was unpretentious and uncomplicated. The use of images of the museum’s own employees carrying the Sunflowers painting was aimed at engaging the audience on a more personal level. High traffic locations were chosen to communicate this message to the diverse and international target audience. These principles resulted in the communications at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam Central Station and on Facebook (140+ thousand followers) (see figures 10 and 11). FIGURE 10, COMMUNICATION OF THE TEMPORARY MOVE THROUGH BILLBOARDS AND SCREENS At the Schiphol Airport arrivals hall, screens show two employees of the museum carrying the Sunflowers. A billboard on a building opposite Amsterdam Central Station communicates the move to the Hermitage FIGURE 11, FACEBOOK COVER PHOTO DURING THE MUSEUMS’ STAY AT THE HERMITAGE
    • Page 12 – CONGRESS 2013 Copyright © ESOMAR 2013 During this time, the Van Gogh Museum succeeded in attracting nearly 700,000 visitors at the temporary location, for whom we have managed to avoid disappointment of a closed museum. Also, this new location was the perfect opportunity for the museum to put into practice its new guidelines to designers and writers who were concerned with the display of the art works. This resulted in plenty of gained insights for the Van Gogh Museum staff. Audience feedback of the Hermitage-period has learned that even in a less than ideal situation the audience was just as positive in its General satisfaction and Recommendation ratio. From small steps to big ambitions In 1999 the museum expanded by adding a new wing to the main building, allowing it to accommodate more visitors to the collection and for temporary exhibitions to be presented. The eminent Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa convincingly proposed a design of an ellipse-shaped building with a sunken pond, connecting with the main building through an underground passageway. FIGURE 12, INTERPRETATION OF THE NEW WING AT THE MUSEUM SQUARE, A 1995 INTERPRETATION When the new wing was executed in 1999, the surroundings of the building looked quite different from the image above. The Museum Square had undergone a redevelopment in the same year that the Kurokawa building was built, changing it into a destination that is much more appealing to a larger audience. FIGURE 13, THE CHANGING FACE OF THE MUSEUM SQUARE; THE MUSEUM PICTURED WITH THE KUROKAWA WING The museum has recently listed inconveniences concerning its housing situation that need to be resolved, among which are: “due to the popularity of the museum queues often develop along the street causing unsafe situations for the visitors; the Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk Museum have relocated their entrances facing the Museum Square, which leaves the Van Gogh Museum turning away from the dynamics of the square; the Kurokawavleugel is underutilized, partly because the wing is instinctively perceived as difficult to reach via the underground passageway; groups and individual visitors behave differently and the possibility should be created to serve both their needs, which is not possible in the current entrance.”
    • Page 13 – CONGRESS 2013 Copyright © ESOMAR 2013 The museum realised that some of the issues could not be resolved in the current situation. Also, the social values that are associated with the Van Gogh Museum – such as being for everyone, being warm and open – the museum wanted to align with its physical appearance. Therefor the museum has embarked upon a new adventure and is now in an advanced stage of its planning to build a new entrance that is going to be effectuated as early as 2014. The goal of this new entrance is to accommodate the visitors needs better. Included in the plans are the following principles: “The entrance of the New Entrance looks spacious and visible. It is key that the visitor feels well informed. The Van Gogh Museum shall make use of dynamic signage to share details on programming, events and other practical information like a possible wait at the entrance and where to buy tickets in advance. Free WIFI which is clearly pointed out to everyone, allowing visitors to already download visitor information on their way inside the museum. The information desk is an important place in the entrance hall for face to face interaction between museum staff and the visitor. The focus in the lay out of the new entrance will be openness, accessibility and logic.” FIGURE 14, INTERPRETATIONS OF THE NEW ENTRANCE HALL OF THE VAN GOGH MUSEUM SUMMARY Art museums today are more than ever challenged to create an engaging experience. A receding government, an increase in competition both from outside the museum sector as from within and a scarcity of the product are some of the important challenges that the Van Gogh Museum faces. On the other hand, the museum has some powerful natural strong points: Van Gogh is an artist that people relate to on a deeply emotional level. The museum is a knowledge institute; there is interesting content in abundance. To achieve its mission and to ensure its top position in the Dutch and global museum market, the Van Gogh Museum wants to stand out from its competition, exceed its visitors’ expectations and continue to build its loyal customer base around the world. It would be a wonderful achievement for the Van Gogh Museum to enjoy a similarly grand reputation as the artist whose paintings it houses. Previous research showed that “touches me” and “inspires me” have a high impact on audience retention and visitors stated the importance of these aspects, but the satisfaction scores were below average. This indicated that the Van Gogh Museum should look into the importance of emotion in visitor satisfaction and loyalty. Emotion drives every aspect of our behavior and how we view the world. Managed well, emotion allows marketers to create something unique, something competitors can’t directly copy and something customers will pay a premium for. However, the museum sector is traditionally more focused on content and less on marketing. Most audience research in museums focuses on visitor profiles and what the audience wants and expects to see at a functional level. This is a missed
    • Page 14 – CONGRESS 2013 Copyright © ESOMAR 2013 opportunity and seems a paradox since emotional responses are often regarded as the keystone to experiencing art. Thereby, the Van Gogh Museum has the luxury of an art “product” which in itself is laden with emotion. The research into emotions of its visitors showed that Van Gogh Museum visitors are intrinsically driven by the core need for an experience. As we know from brand strategy research in many other categories, a sharply positioned brand resonates better with targeted consumers, results in stronger consumer loyalty, is better equipped to compete against other brands attempting to compete in that territory and drives purchase behavior. Or in the case of the art museum category: a sharply positioned brand resonates better with current and potential museum visitors, results in more repeat visits and increased positive word-of-mouth, is better equipped to compete against similar art museums and drives purchase behavior in the (online) museum shop. A strong and sharply defined brand position also makes the brand more attractive to visitors in other need segments. The Easy going Connector feels most at ease with a ‘light’ museum experience. Radiating warmth and being sociable to others is an important driver for this visitor. A well-known and accessible museum - a museum for everyone - therefore fits best with the Easy going Connector. Visiting a museum like this gives him a carefree feeling, a sense of freedom which helps him relax and feel connected with others. For the Van Gogh Museum, these characteristics of the Easy going Connector are complemented with the basic characteristics of the museum world which are: developed, civilized, intelligent, sharp and analytical. The outcomes of the research made the museum focus on its own brand position and how it is regarded by the outside world. This has been a crucial step in the museum’s thinking about its audience. As it attracts such a wide range of visitors it is tempting to want to be all things to all people. Needscope delivered plenty of conclusive arguments to be able to collectively agree on pursuing a more sharply defined personality, to develop it and to make it unique. The process has paved the way for decisions to be made and executed. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT We owe a special thanks to Colin Ingram and Roz Calder of NeedScope International for their valuable advice and help throughout the process of writing this paper. The authors are also grateful for the work done by TNS colleagues Bram van Schaik and Marijke Guldemond who helped us frame and structure the paper. REFERENCES Ambler, Tim and Burne, Tom (1999). The impact of affect on memory of advertising. Journal of Advertising Research. Attwooll, Jolyon for The Telegraph Travel. January 2012. The Louvre attracts record visitor numbers. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/8993072/The-Louvre-attracts-record-visitor-numbers.html Cupchik, Gerald; Vartanian, Oshin; Crawley, Adrian and Mikulis, David (2009). Viewing artworks: Contributions of cognitive control and perceptual facilitation to aesthetic experience. Brain and Cognition. Damasio, Antonio (1994). Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain, London, Papermac (Macmillan) Dutch Museum Association. March 2013. Museumbezoek in 2012 gestegen. http://www.museumvereniging.nl/nieuwsoverzicht/nieuwsdetailpagina/tabid/351/newslistid/9/newsitemid/626/default.as px Fellous, Jean-Marc (2006). A mechanistic view of the expression and experience of emotion in the arts. Deeper that reason: Emotion and its role in literature, music and art by Jenefer Robinson. The American Journal of Psychology 119. Huiskamp, Frank for NRC Handelsblad. April 2013. Google Art: we kijken langer naar kunst en het meest naar Van Gogh http://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2013/04/15/google-art-we-kijken-langer-naar-kunst-en-het-meest-naar-van-gogh/ Hulsker, Jan. 1987, The letters, p. 53. Merritt, Elizabeth for Center for the future of museums. December 2008. Museums & Society 2034. http://www.aam- us.org/docs/center-for-the-future-of-museums/museumssociety2034.pdf The Metropolitain Museum of Art, July 2012. Metropolitan Museum Announces
6.28 Million Attendance. http://www.metmuseum.org/about-the-museum/press-room/news/2012/attendance Millis, Keith (2001). Making meaning brings pleasure: The influence of titles on aesthetic experiences. Emotion 1 (3) Muffet, Tim for BBC news. June 2012. Why are more of us visiting art galleries? www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment- arts-18590115 Mosmans, Andy and Van Liemt, Guy. 2012. Branding.nl.
    • Page 15 – CONGRESS 2013 Copyright © ESOMAR 2013 Pes, Javier and Sharpe, Emily for The Art News Paper, no 234. April 2012. Exhibition and museum attendance figures 2011. http://www.theartnewspaper.com/attfig/attfig11.pdf Silvia, Paul (2009). Looking past pleasure: Anger, confusion, disgust, pride, surprise, and other unusual aesthetic emotions. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts Silvia, Paul (2010). Confusion and interest: The role of knowledge emotions in aesthetic experience. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts Silvia, Paul and Nusbaum, Emily (2011). On personality and piloerection: Individual differences in aesthetic chills and other unusual aesthetic experiences. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts Sinek, Simon. (2009). Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. Zafar, Aylin for TIME, January 2012. The world’s most-visited museums. http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/01/05/the- worlds-most-visited-museums/#ixzz2YNK0veb8 THE AUTHORS Laurine van de Wiel is Marketeer, Van Gogh Museum, Netherlands. Saskia Brocx is Brand Strategy Consultant, TNS Nipo, Netherlands.