A public media organization


Facilitated sessions to help the senior team articulate a new, audience-based statement of identity.

Beyond research: principles for action

Audience research findings are no substitute for vision. Slover Linett had been researching listeners and members for this public radio station for several years and had become a trusted resource for the leadership team. So when the station developed plans for a new interactive media service involving both radio and the internet, the senior team asked us to lead a process of clarification and “visioning” for the organization as a whole and its increasingly complex system of brands and offerings.

Like many successful cultural and civic organizations, this nonprofit realized that audience research, while a necessary foundation for growth, would never answer all the tough questions. It would still be the responsibility of the leadership team to lay out a vision for the future — to decide creatively and strategically “who we want to be.”

(That vision and those decisions need to be responsive to audiences’ needs and values, as revealed through research. But you won’t find them waiting for you, ready-made, in the survey data or the focus group report. Moving from research to vision requires a leap.)

We developed a series of all-day, off-site “ideation” sessions for the senior team and a few board members. Using game-like exercises borrowed from the world of new-product development and branding, we helped them dig into their authentic, personal images of success for the organization, its audiences, and the communities it serves. Then we helped them make those images concrete and action-oriented by drafting “manifestos” for each main branch of the organization. (These manifestos combined elements of traditional mission statements, logic models, and brand platforms.)

The resulting statements were both descriptive and prescriptive, distilling what the organization was already about while also setting idealistic goalposts for the future. They became a “bible” for staff at all levels to use when making strategic decisions, hiring staff, applying for grants, and communicating to audiences.

Speaking of audiences, the manifestos also helped us design new research instruments to measure how well listeners’ and donors’ perceptions match up to the organization’s own ideal self, and highlight opportunities for improvement.

re:search newsletter

More info

Keep in touch. Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter, re:search, and be the first to know about our reports, articles, professional dialogues, and more.

Our blog. Your comments. Jump in.

March 14, 2014 | Nicole Baltazar

Multiculturalism is key for creating inclusive arts experiences


Last month, Coca-Cola aired its now-famous Super Bowl ad depicting people from various racial, ethnic, and cultural groups singing “America the Beautiful” together in different languages. Among the instant outpouring of polarized reactions to this ad rang much praise for its depiction of a multicultural America. Yet the ad provoked a slew of negative responses as well. Many of the ad’s detractors questioned whether this multicultural America could ever feel as cohesive as an America whose citizens speak a common language, and therefore have taken great strides toward assimilating into a common culture.

More »

Project peek

Ideation sessions are a great way to get a team's creative juices flowing. We conduct these workshops away from the familair confines of the organization's offices in open, informal environments that foster brainstorming, collaboration, and fun.