The Real-World Value of Branding—Quantified

In 2016, the San Diego Symphony Orchestra’s annual outdoor summer concert series saw more than a 20 percent spike in ticket revenue and a 30 percent increase in subscription sales en route to record attendance. Never before in the event’s 33-year history had the Symphony reached such a wide and diverse audience.

Virtually everything about the summer concert series—the location, the vendors, the quality of the lineup, and even the marketing tactics—remained very similar to previous years. But there was one noticeable change: the brand. As a trusted marketing partner, Raindrop worked with the very talented SDSO team to create and embrace a new name, look, and feel for what was formerly known as Summer Pops.

Building a Framework for Engagement

A success story like that of the SDSO’s 2016 Bayside Summer Nights series doesn’t just happen, and it certainly doesn’t happen overnight. Our first breakthrough with the Symphony came in 2014 with Your Song Your Story, a grant project aimed at attracting new audiences that were traditionally difficult for the music institution to reach. What made the campaign so special was that it wasn’t just a mission to win their patronage; it was also an invitation for them to participate in the orchestra. 

Your Song Your Story drew a total of 6,100 attendees, including 3,773 RSVPs who had never been to a Symphony performance, and representation across 18 different ethnic groups. See the full Your Song Your Story case study here.

Reimagining the Message

Summer Pops was a familiar and popular pastime to many San Diegans. But an idea began to surface, especially for an organization seeking to make waves with millennials: Summer Pops didn’t speak to new audiences. It didn’t capture the bliss of listening to live music by the bay on a warm summer night. In a city with endless activities and events, it didn’t imply that the Symphony’s summer series is the place to be.

Renaming the summer season from Summer Pops to Bayside Summer Nights was an enormous step forward because it sparked intrigue. It was descriptive enough to convert impulse concertgoers, yet interesting enough to nudge further consideration by those who needed to know more before making their decision. We also paired the new name with new imagery to visually convey the appeals of the summer series: the waterfront, perfect weather, lively atmosphere, and—of course—the music.

Creating and Deepening Customer Relationships

For a large and highly visible organization like the SDSO, the momentum never stops. After introducing the Symphony’s new 2016 downtown season campaign, ticket sales for Jacobs Masterworks concerts are up over 15 percent from 2015, and subscriptions surpassed the 2015 total—before the first concert has even played

The San Diego Symphony’s success over the past two years has been both incremental and astronomical. We are proud to collaborate with one of San Diego’s most influential art institutions to bring the power of music to more locals and visitors than ever before.

“Raindrop is not merely a vendor, they are our partner. The key elements have been there from the beginning: trust, accountability, honesty, and authentic communication. I couldn’t ask for anything more out of our relationship with Raindrop.”

Martha Gilmer

CEO, San Diego Symphony

By: Jacques Spitzer