In the autumn of 2016, Firstsite, Colchester, engaged Albany to handle its marketing and communications. Working with director Sally Shaw and her team, it devised an integrated PR and Marketing strategy aimed at raising awareness of the gallery and its programme and dramatically increasing visitor numbers.
In 2016/17 visitor numbers were 115,000, and the gallery's target for 2017/18 was 135,000. This figure achieved was 156,000 on March 31, 2018 - an increase of 35 percent in one year.
The first exhibition Albany promoted was a show by Gee Vaucher. It attracted enormous attention in the arts and general media, with one of the artworks, Oh America, 1989, featuring on the front page of the British tabloid, The Daily Mirror. Vaucher was also interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Women's Hour. In its three-month run, the exhibition attracted 25,000 visitors. Other well-received shows followed, including a presentation by the Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry.
From November 2017, a new marketing strategy was devised with greater emphasis on digital advertising and social media. It proved a huge success: 50,000 people visited the gallery during the Perry exhibition's 3-month run, making it the most successful exhibition in Firstsite's history.
The exhibition received 357 local, national and international pieces of PR coverage, and website impressions more than doubled from the previous quarter. And followers across all Social Media platforms were increased; in the case of Facebook, more than 1,000 followers were added in a 3 month period.
‘We’ve seen some fantastic successes this year, particularly around growth in audiences. Albany have played a large part in this success.’ Sally Shaw, Director of Firstsite, 2018
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