powered by you.
Birmingham Hippodrome is one of the UK’s busiest multistage theaters, welcoming over 500,000 visitors every year. Developing on the theatre’s award-winning rebrand, we were brought in to further refine and define the organisation’s brand proposition, key messaging and brand architecture, to reflect their new strategic vision.
To bring this all to life, we were also tasked with creating a set of easy-to-use tools for all Hippodrome employees and stakeholders to ensure consistent and effective communication across all departments.
To kick off our Validation work, we ran a 3-hour sprint workshop with the Hippodrome’s marketing team and senior managers to uncover what makes the Hippodrome great, and find out where they really add the most value for their customers.
Building on the insight from this workshop, we also analysed the finding’s of the Hippodrome’s latest customer surveys to determine what people valued most about the Hippodrome, and which areas of the brand’s messaging could be refined to be more compelling and succinct.
During this research, the most consistent insights raised were that people loved the Hippodrome’s new look, but weren’t sure what the brand stood for, or how the Hippodrome was any different to other leading national theatres.
Further to this, some people didn’t understand what role the sub-brand ‘Hippodrome Creative’ played in the mix, and very few people understood that Birmingham Hippodrome is actually a registered charity that exists to support and fund incredible arts, culture, and performance.
Armed with the insights from our validation work, our first step to refining the Hippodrome’s brand messaging was to clarify the brand’s over-arching proposition.
As one of the UK’s few major theatres that hold charity status, we knew this was the unique selling point that needed to be front and central. By telling customer’s that ‘100% of funds from their ticket sales actually go back into funding more arts, culture and theatre’ we would set the Hippodrome apart as an organisation that truly cares about the industry it champions.
We also knew from the customer surveys that the real sign of truly great theatre is when it sticks in your mind. By combining this charitable positioning with the idea of creating lasting memories, our brand tagline was born:
‘Unforgettable performance, powered by you.’
From here, the next step was to clarify the Hippodrome’s brand architecture. From customer feedback, we knew a lot of people didn’t understand what role the sub-brand ‘Hippodrome Creative’ played in the mix. Originally started to house the Hippodrome’s own independent performances, the sub-brand had grown over the years to include other services like partnership events, creative learning initiatives, and performances for disabled visitors.
With this in mind, the name ‘Hippodrome Creative’ didn’t cut it. Through extensive name generation and iteration, ‘Hippodrome Projects’ was born.
With all this clarified and agreed, we then developed the brand’s narrative to quickly communicate what the Hippodrome stands for, and everything they offer:
“For people in Birmingham and beyond who want to be inspired, engaged and entertained, Birmingham Hippodrome is a cultural hub that gives everyone the chance to experience unforgettable theatrical performances, arts and culture.
Birmingham Hippodrome is an independent not-for-profit cultural charity that reinvests its surpluses into building a better future through arts and culture for the region.
All revenues from ticket sales to donations, from room hire and events, and from memberships to catering, help to fund Hippodrome Projects. This is our own curated programme of indoor and outdoor live performance, community work, and transformational learning projects.
Unforgettable performance, powered by you.”
Further to this new story and brand architecture, we then worked with the team to develop a suite of key brand messages for Birmingham Hippodrome and Hippodrome projects, and the organisation’s tone of voice guidelines, house style and values.
As a larger organisation with lots of employees, we knew from experience that simply sending around a report with all this new information to their employees and stakeholders wouldn’t have a huge amount of impact.
To ensure effective buy-in and understanding, we combined our work with Birmingham Hippodrome’s existing brand identity guidelines, to develop the Birmingham Hippodrome Brand Roadmap. A clear and easy-to-use 24-page digital document that gives everyone at the Hippodrome quick access to the information they need, and clear guidance on how to use it correctly.
The Hippodrome’s road map has now been rolled-out internally and is used daily by their people to ensure consistent and effective communication across all departments. To see the launch of the new Hippodrome brand messaging, keep an eye on www.birminghamhippodrome.com over the coming weeks.