The new Culture Days MARKETING AWARD recognizes a group or individual that has mounted an effective marketing campaign for Culture Days. The City of Richmond, with its impressive two-campaign marketing plan designed to target both potential activity organizers and potential participants among the general public, is 2013's winner and a great example of what communities can do to shine the spotlight on local artists and cultural workers and make the most out of the Culture Days weekend.
The extremely successful Culture Days marketing program run by the City of Richmond (in partnership with Tourism Richmond and the Richmond Review), first launched in 2010 and growing every year since, involves two campaigns that feed into each other. The first introduces Culture Days to the community and encourages everyone to take part, calling on a directory of arts groups and spreading the word with a Play Your Part brochure that clearly outlines what the event is all about. The second provides free publicity to activity organizers as the weekend approaches, most notably through a booklet published in early September that lists all activities, a set of promotional materials that organizers can distribute themselves, and a number of ads in the free local newspaper the Richmond Review (including an 8-page pull-out guide) during the week leading up to Culture Days. Liesl Jauk, Richmond's Manager of Cultural Development, says that the marketing campaign acts as an incentive for artists to participate and gives free publicity to groups lacking the necessary resources to advertise on their own. Jauk adds that representing their city on the national cultural map is a great source of pride for Richmond residents (and with Richmond as the top regional/belt city and third city overall in terms of number of registered activities in 2013, there is certainly reason to be proud!). She believes, however, that "the strength of Culture Days is that it's at the local level, it's knowing what's going on in your community"—and the city's marketing program, which managed to bring out 5,000 participants to activities in 2013 despite torrential rain that weekend, is committed to ensuring that everyone knows what's going on in Richmond for Culture Days.
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