Digital content strategy: Southbank Centre

In spring 2017, the Southbank Centre asked Unthinkable to build on the success of its new website and ‘digital first’ marketing strategy. Our task was to create a plan that would transform the organisation into a digital content publishing operation that could engage key audiences around its distinctive offer.

The challenge

The Southbank Centre is like no other arts venue with its diverse programming strands and distinct audiences. Trish Thomas, Head of Digital Engagement, asked us to help her to develop a pan-organisational approach to content planning, production and evaluation that would enable her to meet Southbank Centre’s engagement objectives. The challenge would be to get the many stakeholders that would produce, present and help to commission content on board, and then deliver a practical plan that would coordinate the efforts of the distributed content teams and help the digital team to shape and guide the content offer.

How did we respond to the challenge?

Unthinkable proposed to work with the organisation to create a set of tools that would simplify the planning, production and delivery of digital content and define a new set of content strands to be delivered over two years. These strands would operate at high level and campaign level, and include a set of ‘hero’ projects to create impact with key audiences and position Southbank Centre as innovators in digital as well as in their artistic programming.

Unthinkable are a rare mix, they have experience in both evolving content strategy and in the specifics of producing content. With a complex organisation such as Southbank Centre they were able to provide support identifying and navigating organisational opportunities and challenges as well as evolve a well targeted and very actionable content model.
Trish Thomas, Head of Digital Engagement, Southbank Centre

Our approach

We recognised that an open and creative relationship with Southbank Centre’s key content creating departments would be essential in developing a content strategy that the organisation could get behind. We decided on a collaborative workshop model as a way to meet everyone, stimulate ideas and interrogate thinking in a highly creative space. As so often in our work, the value was in process as well as outcomes.

We kicked off with a series of workshops intended to inspire and excite stakeholders and identify the digital experiences that would align with the Southbank Centre vision. Next we ran a series of hands-on workshops with the artistic programmers to identify and map the content opportunities arising from the Southbank Centre programme over the coming year. From here we worked closely with the digital team to develop a content model. This was presented in a highly visual format in order to support clear presentation to senior management.

What changed because of our work?

We were delighted that the organisation has fully invested in the digital content programme. The artistic programmers are excited about the opportunity and will be playing an active role in the creation of content.

Image of Royal Festival Hall, South Bank, SE1 (owner Southbank Centre) is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.