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In tune Featured

7:29am EDT June 29, 2006
Any good businessperson knows that to be successful, you have to continually reinvent yourself.

The head of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra realized this last year when the organization embarked on a rebranding campaign.

“As much as we’re known, we’re still a young company,” says Cleveland Pops Executive Director Shirley Morgenstern. “We want to look out to a new audience. We wanted to get a fresher, edgier look. We want to help audiences know what pops music is.”

The Cleveland Pops is targeting people between the ages of 30 and 50 because its most frequent patrons — those of retirement age — won’t be around forever. The organization is reaching out to the next generation to change the image many people have of going to a concert.

“So many young people think that going to a concert is going to be very stuffy, and you have to get all dressed up and it’s not fun,” Morgenstern says. “And that’s not what pops music is about.”

But while a rebranding can be extremely beneficial for a company, it’s not something the leader can usually do alone, says Morgenstern. In her case, she had a wealth of resources within her board members, including people from both the advertising and marketing worlds to help. And if you don’t have a board of trustees, it’s critical to get help wherever possible, even if that means hiring a consultant.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether you can pay for it or whether you can get people that are knowledgeable,” Morgenstern says. “Surround yourself with people that know more than you know. No one knows everything, and you need fresh eyes, a fresh look.”

Not only does the process require lots of heads, it takes a lot of time and effort ,as well. As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and a new brand or company image can’t be developed and implemented overnight.

“We didn’t just snap our fingers and make a decision,” says Morgenstern. “There was a lot of hours put in. There was a lot of discussions. There was a lot of research in what we wanted to do, why we want to do it.

“We did the same thing you do in strategic planning. You look at what you have. You look at the logo. You decide who our audience has been in the past, who our audience is now, what our demographics are. Then we look at where we want to go. And then we discussed how to reach out to the people that don’t know who we are.”

Morgenstern and her team went through 200 to 300 slogans before deciding on “Music and fun for everyone.”

They also had to pick from among 30 logos designed by marketing director Gordon Petitt. They whittled the choices down from 10 to five to three before eventually voting on the final version.

The point, she says, is that it takes a lot of discussion and collaboration to find the best option.

Morgenstern hopes the Cleveland Pops’ new slogan and logo and more cohesive overall marketing strategy will continue to draw people to concerts and events, with the goal of increasing its annual budget from $800,000 to more than $1 million.

HOW TO REACH: Cleveland Pops Orchestra, www.clevelandpops.com