Online lessons any small business needs to learn

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Monday, 31st August 2020

Having successfully staged the National Arts Festival entirely online for the very first time this year, NAF CEO, Monica Newton said going online was exciting for the team and for South African artists.    

She said the transition was also a learning curve for the team. “The move to online requires a totally different business strategy. You need to think from the bottom up and without holding onto or trying to replicate the framework of any previous live structures.”

She explained that if you have an established brand and can bring your audience and stakeholders with you, you need to really invest in communicating and helping them shift with you.                   “The online space moves and behaves completely differently to the live space so it is well worth taking some time to understand online trends and audience behaviour and to take a UX (user experience) designer into the build.”

According to Newton, creating very limited and very special experiences for small audiences is possible now, so this can be very rewarding for reigniting engagement.

For artists wanting to go onto the virtual platform, they need to understand that it is just another stage for the work, Newton said. “The idea, talent and purpose in the delivery still remain core to the experience. We have seen very clearly that artists who have mastered that concept are finding their way in the space. The fact that there is now an opportunity to be in direct contact with your audience and to market directly to them through affordable platforms like social media means that there is a great opportunity for artists to begin building a broader, more direct and lasting relationship with their audiences too.”

Newton added: “We have a lot of learning to do about the opportunities online, and also how our sector will change in response to a world and a country transformed by the Coronavirus pandemic. All of us will have to very quickly adapt, experiment and educate ourselves to make sure that we are ready for new opportunities and are able to adapt to new circumstances”.

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