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Posted June 25, 2015

Live and on the move: Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Everyone we met in CSO’s marketing team was gearing up for the Orchestra’s 125th anniversary season — a momentous year worthy of celebration. And that meant taking the show on the road, with free public performances in a wide variety of venues outside Orchestra Hall at Chicago Symphony Center.

Jell was asked how we could help engage audiences before and during the shows, driving up attendance, new email subscriptions, and posts on social media channels.

Excitement and expectations were particularly high for the big summer performances, including a series of three fabulous nights for families at Morton Arboretum (June 25–27) and the CSO’s annual appearance at Millennium Park in September. Then the Orchestra would officially kick off the season celebration with 125 community shows around Chicagoland.

The target audience: the many thousands of residents who may have interest in the music, but who have had little or no contact with the Orchestra in the past. How could we make them feel more welcome — and part of the celebration — at these special events?

The solution was a sleek, responsive web app (hosted at a brand new domain, CSOlive.org) that would focus attention on the next or current event. The app includes not only the usual program notes, but also sections for learning more about an artist or a composer, including audio or video embeds, and convenient entry points into ongoing conversations in progress on Facebook, Instragram, and Twitter.

CSO’s marketing team ramped up excitement before and during events, asking audience members to share photos of the concert on social media for a chance to win prizes. At the Morton shows, for example, you could earn a chance to win four tickets to a CSO concert at Symphony Center and a $100 Morton Arboretum card by posting a photo from your spot on the lawn.

Our custom CMS allowed CSO marketing administrators plenty of flexibility in terms of setting event banners, combining educational and social media feature blocks, and suggesting hashtags to guide conversations and filter feeds.

The 125th season of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra runs through June 2016. Jell is proud to have been a part of the planning.