Posts By: Rob Ferguson

What to do when bums in seats aren’t enough


If you ever get to New York City’s Lower East side, make sure you visit the Tenement Museum. It’s small and easy to miss because it blends into the streetscape, but well worth the search. A poignant monument to the immigrant experience in New York, this century-old rooming house is like stepping back in time. I... Read more »

Your most valuable audience: The constituency of kids


Kids are all for museums, but are museums for kids? Most organizations try looking for untapped value, some little gem that can be re-developed to help them grow.  Nurturing the constituency of young museum-goers is one of those gems; nothing short of how a museum can build a sustainable brand. Kids show up with... Read more »

The passive museum: In a crisis, does your brand say...


A good story can change the world. Or save your organization. Or both. At the moment, I’m thinking about the power of documentary films. For a lot of people seeking to bring about social change, the documentary film has become the tool of choice. The form has demonstrated its ability to communicate widely, and... Read more »

How we got to now: The strategic value of history in branding


Organizations are in a desperate race for attention, which means they are always reexamining their brand, positioning, and messaging.  They know they have to be well-differentiated and authentic. They worry about building for the future and how to get there. Very few of them will turn to the past to find... Read more »

Explain Yourself


A client of mine wanted his management team to answer his question, “What will cause people to support us?” That’s an evergreen question for fundraising organizations, and the pursuit of an answer has launched a thousand rebranding exercises. But my client knew it wasn’t enough to figure out “who are... Read more »

The movie trailer, for Museums


Movie fan or not, you know what a “trailer” is. Hollywood has been using them since 1913 when the Loews theatre chain produced a short film promoting a new Broadway musical. It was essentially a cost-cutting innovation: producers felt showing a commercial in cinemas would make traditional billboard advertising... Read more »

What story are you telling?


The late comedian Rodney Dangerfield famously said, “I went to a fight the other night, and a hockey game broke out.” I, on the other hand, went to a Canadian Museum Association conference panel discussion and there was no fight, no raised voices, nor anything even slightly controversial. But the outcome was... Read more »

Facilitating Canada’s Smart Brand


Protecting the funders and storytellers who make our national identity. Good or bad, every organization has a brand. A brand is a story, and storytelling has become a trendy way for companies to convey fresh and authentic messages about “who we are.” For the same reason, countries tell their national story to... Read more »