This case study describes the efforts of the San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC) to raise its local artistic and cultural profile. Despite producing high-quality, award-winning vocal music, SFGC had difficulty attracting classical music patrons to its concert series in the San Francisco Bay Area. Focus group research revealed that the local audience was unaware of the artistic potential of girls’ choruses in general and the SFGC’s depth of artistry in particular. SFGC then embarked on a rebranding campaign to emphasize the chorus’s artistic excellence and, thereby, diversify its audience beyond “friends and family.” This effort included overhauling marketing materials, finding new performance venues and refining its choral programming presentation. The rebranding effort also required that SFGC’s leaders build an organizational consensus and recalibrate the focus of its board to define SFGC first and foremost as a world-class performing arts organization.

Early signs suggest that SFGC has achieved some success in reshaping its audience. But this effort requires ongoing work, and SFGC’s commitment to rebranding itself will continue to play a major role in key decisions about programming, marketing and performance venues in years to come.

This report is part of a set of case studies and reports looking at the efforts of arts organizations that received Wallace Excellence Awards to reach new audiences and deepen relationships with current ones.

 Points of Interest

  • The percentage of first-time classical music patrons attending San Francisco Girls Chorus performances rose from 18 percent in 2008 to 23 percent two years later, largely because of the organization’s rebranding campaign.
    Thx to rebranding, @sfgirlschorus saw 1st-time classical #music visitors jump from 18% to 23% in 2 yrs. #arts
  • Market research allowed the San Francisco Girls Chorus to move beyond assumptions and gain an evidence-based understanding of the perceptions it needed to change in order to attract more classical music patrons.
    Market research gave @sfgirlschorus evidence-based insight into how to attract more #classical #music patrons. #arts
  • To rebrand the organization as a world-class performing arts group, San Francisco Girls Chorus leaders involved key artistic and education staff throughout the process.
    To rebrand the organization, @sfgirlschorus leaders involved key #artistic & education staff. #arts
  • To accelerate acceptance of its rebranding campaign, an organization should consistently deliver experiences that fulfill its brand promises. For San Francisco Girls Chorus, this has meant producing high-quality concerts that meet the expectations of its target audience of classical music patrons.
    How @sfgirlschorus worked for acceptance of its rebranding: keeping brand promise thru high-quality concerts. #arts