Business students get creative to market the Brighton Fringe

Posted by pm357 at Apr 06, 2018 02:25 PM |
Festival running from 4 May to 3 June 2018 will receive marketing advice from our students.

International students from the University of Leicester School of Business (ULSB) are collaborating on a live project to promote the Brighton Fringe Festival, building on their success in promoting the 25th Leicester Comedy Festival.

Brighton Fringe is an open-access arts festival held annually in Brighton, England. It is the largest annual arts festival in England and one of the largest fringe festivals in the world with over half a million visitors last year. Brighton Fringe 2018 will take place from 4 May to 3 June 2018. Currently the programme of 2018 includes 970 events at over 155 venues across four weeks.

Students enrolled on the University’s new MSc Marketing for the Creative Industries programme, launched in September 2017, recently took part in a trip to Brighton in March as part of their Strategies for Creative Marketing and innovation module. Their challenge, set by Dr Jennifer Cole, Lecturer in Marketing at ULSB, and supported by Julian Caddy, Managing Director at the Brighton Fringe, is to help promote the Brighton Fringe to bring it up to the level of notoriety as the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Dr Cole was looking for a creative challenge for her students that would encourage them to put their learning into practice whilst she also wanted to take them out of their comfort zone, away from Leicester.

In November 2017 she started making contact with the organisers of the Brighton Fringe and the challenge developed from there. She highlights why it appealed to her: “I have always found it interesting that whilst many people have heard of the Edinburgh Fringe very few people outside of the South East of England have heard of the Brighton Fringe, despite it being England’s largest arts festival. After some further research and speaking with Darren Smallman, the Brighton Fringe’s Marketing Manager, it became apparent that despite its size the Fringe mainly attracts a local audience for Brighton and the South East. This provided an excellent challenge for the students in creating a strategy that could help the Fringe attract audiences from outside its current reach.”

As the course is made up of international students it was a great opportunity to help them understand how different parts of Britain can have a distinct feel. For many of them this was their first trip to Brighton and they had the chance to explore independent shops, local art movements and take in the British seaside, providing a contrast to their experiences so far in Leicester.

Dr Cole explains: “Arts festivals are shaped and influenced by the culture of their host cities, therefore it was important that students experienced Brighton in order to understand how to market the Fringe more effectively. We took students to the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery to learn more about the history of Brighton as an avant-garde playground, which was important for them to understand why Brighton is an ideal location for a Fringe event. We also visited the lanes so students understood how vibrant Brighton’s independent scene is.”

The students will be forming small teams to create social media videos to show how they would promote the Fringe ahead of the start of the festival in May. They are also developing marketing plans to help develop the Fringe’s marketing activties in new, exciting ways in the future. On their trip to Brighton they were granted the opportunity to meet with the festival organisers and visit some of the venues to get a feel for the festival and also take on board current marketing strategies. Following this trip, they will now work on analysing the current marketing techniques being used and use this research in the development of their own marketing plans.

Dr Cole added: “It’s really important that students get the opportunity to work on projects that have real world implications. The students have really embraced the challenge of using the theories they have learnt in our lectures and applying those to their analysis and plans for the festival. It allows them to experience what being a marketer is like in practice as well as demonstrate their understanding and the significance of what we have been teaching them.”

This challenge will prove invaluable experience for our MSc Marketing for the Creative Industries students. For those interested in future careers in arts, design, theatre they have learned about funding challenges, overcoming and working around marketing problems, applying creativity to the mainstream, and putting together good marketing plans to stand out from the noise.

The students on the trip found that this type of activity really added to their student experience. Jing Xu, a Marketing for the Creative Industries student explains further: “We know the most important thing is to put theories into practice. As a student, the field trip to Brighton gave me an opportunity to learn more about a fabulous UK arts festival. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to talk to the marketers of the arts festival, and I learnt a lot form their experiences. I hope these types of field trips will keep going so that more students get the opportunity to enhance their experiences through this course.”

Notes:
For more information about the Brighton Fringe please visit: https://www.brightonfringe.org/