In Cultural Heritage: Innovative Audience Development Best Practices [Ruiz Soria, A.C., Molendowska-Ruiz, J.E., (2018), Economía Creativa Consultancy] a project that researched best practice examples of cultural heritage audience development. It found common elements amongst the best practice examples;
- co-creation of the cultural heritage development strategy (including audience development);
- cross-sectoral perspective
- importance of social media storytelling to communicate with target audiences and of alternative methods to reach out key demographics
- technology tools enabling new ways of experiencing heritage
- public-private partnership and stakeholders’ cooperation.
‘Storytelling’ is used as a key tool to engage audiences;
Storytelling, defined as the development of unique narratives able to
create a sense of community and belonging,
engagement and interaction with the audience,
transform followers in promoters,
to inspire, showing the creative process, ideas, inviting the audience to be creative, …
Storytelling is the engine of your audience development plan. It is much more than creating communication actions, it is about relationships, about talking and listening to audiences, sharing understanding, not making assumptions, and co-creating with them unique narratives and projects advocating for the value of cultural heritage, making them responsible for its conservation and promotion and, of course, its enjoyment.
In summary, applying audience development and storytelling to cultural heritage management facilitates innovative ways of immersing in our rich history, introducing both local citizens and tourists in a self-discovery journey, creating a sense of community and meaning; it helps also regional and urban government agencies and private sector to incorporating cultural heritage as a key asset for sustainable development, social inclusion, job creation and entrepreneurial new ventures by exploring the links with tourism, creative industries, digitalization, research & innovation.