AKQA will revamp NYC Ballet site

Interactive agency AKQA is working on an updated Web experience for its new cli­ent, The New York City Ballet (NYCB). The goal of the site — and the marketing that promotes it ? is to educate consumers more about ballet.

“If you are new to ballet, then what would be good is for you to understand more about it,” said Mehera O’Brien, creative director at AKQA, which won the NYCB business just before the holidays. “And, if you are a ballet lover, then having the resources to learn even more is good. The idea is to educate new audiences without offending the current audience.”

This approach to dance appreciation came out of a tour that AKQA took at the ballet during the RFP process. The group was educated on basic things about ballet, such as the movements of the dancers, the orchestra, the costumes and how all those parts fit together.

“Ballet is one of those things that the more that you know, the more that you can appreciate it,” O’Brien said.

In addition to the focus on ballet apprecia­tion, the site redo, which is expected this summer, includes a three-step strategy to make it more user-friendly. This involves making the consumer experience on the site, which is on the Web at www.nycballet.com, more interactive and easier to navigate. Tickets will be easier to find, and the seat selector will be easier to use.

The site also will include information for ballet lovers who cannot make it to the ballet or to New York City, through images and studio talks. “There are a lot of great things about the ballet that people don’t know, and we want to make that information easier to find and consume,” said O’Brien.

The initial redesign is aimed at exist­ing customers, because they are already interested in the topic. The NYCB wants to reach those people who have been to the ballet once, but do not go to repeat shows. The new site also is looking to reach dance lovers who have long been avid fans, to engage their loyalty and appreciation.

“Right now it has a fantastic audience base, but of that total, only some of them go to more than one show. So the first goal is to get these people more active,” said O’Brien. “If you start with people who already like it, then I think that some of the word-of-mouth will spread the word.”

The partnership is long-term and will include a number of objectives. Once the Web site is in place, AKQA then will look at other digital channels to drive traffic to the site and ticket sales. The NYCB also is interested in what mobile can do for its brand and how to use interactive screens in retail spaces, O’Brien said.

“[The NYCB is] excited about the poten­tial for communicating via digital channels,” she added. “This is a long term partnership, so there is time to explore a lot of areas.”

A spokesperson for the NYCB could not be reached for comment.

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