From Strategy to Web: How institutional planning informs and shapes website redevelopment

Lindsay Martin, USA

In our increasingly digital world, a cultural institution’s presence on the Web is a key way that it communicates with audiences, supporters, and the public. More traffic comes to a museum through its website than in physical attendance; the website is rapidly becoming a major vehicle for audience engagement, communication of the brand, and implementation of strategic initiatives.

This panel discussion will work to deepen participants’ understanding of the connections between institutional strategic planning and branding, and website development. The session will begin with an overview of strategic planning and brand development then explore two case studies that look at in depth at website redevelopment and how it was both an outcome and reflection of larger organization-wide planning efforts.

Lindsay Martin, Principal Consultant at Lord Cultural Resources, will moderate the panel and share her extensive experience from working with a range of cultural institutions focusing on how planning can inform and shape the web-based visitor experience. She will provide an overview of the planning process and share key ingredients for successful planning efforts. While considering larger institutional or department planning, she will touch on considerations including general web presence, web-based program delivery, and interactivity of the website with on-site activities.

Joining her on the panel will be Marnie Conley, Director of Marketing at Longwood Gardens. The Gardens are the living legacy of Pierre du Pont—a public garden with attendance over 1,000,000 anually.  Strategic planning and interpretive planning efforts in 2008-10 led to the organization’s first ever significant rebranding and comprehensive public website. Conley will speak to both the strategic and practical issues Longwood faced in the redevelopment of its website and how that worked to connected to larger institutional goals.

The final panelist will be Kellie Honeycutt, Communications Director at the Public Art Fund. The 35-year-old organization mounts free outdoor art exhibitions in New York City that invite the public to experience the urban environment in new ways. In September of this year, it launched a reinvigorated graphic identity, including a new website that for the first time features the organization’s complete exhibitions archive. She will share her experiences, with a focus on connecting to audiences through the organization’s expanded digital presence.

Each case study will feature project details such as budget, teams, consultants, schedules, and outcomes as well as share lessons learned to help participants as they go back to their institutions and plan their own projects.