Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts

As America’s National Park for the Performing Arts, Wolf Trap plays a valuable leadership role in both the local and national performing arts communities through a wide range of artistic and education programs. Yet public perceptions of the organization were unclear. Some thought of Wolf Trap strictly as a commercial venue. Others saw Wolf Trap as a government entity (not realizing the non-profit Foundation relies heavily on individual contributions to thrive). Many were unfamiliar with the breadth and diversity of its programs.

Wolf Trap sought an objective third-party analysis of its communications to determine effectiveness, identify areas for improvement, and uncover new opportunities.

Conducting a Full Communications Audit

Wolf Trap engaged MarketPoint to conduct a full communications audit to validate and clarify internal perceptions about the organization’s desired market position, to analyze external perceptions and identify opportunities to reposition the organization more accurately within the market, and to assess the effectiveness of existing communications across all venues and departments, with specific emphasis on marketing, development and education initiatives.

We interviewed senior leadership and facilitated discussions with staff from each department within Wolf Trap to gain internal perspective about the organization’s work, its goals and challenges, its current messaging and its desired market perception. We investigated key competitors to understand the organization’s current market position. We conducted qualitative research to gauge effectiveness of Wolf Trap’s communications and messaging in achieving this desired perception among its target audiences. And, we evaluated all current communications vehicles and tools (e.g. brochures, website, educational marketing, subscription mailers, donor solicitations, case for support, advertisements, media communications) on their success in communicating and reflecting Wolf Trap’s message and brand.

Finally, we helped to refine the organization’s messaging and then worked with Wolf Trap’s senior marketing leadership to evaluate the legacy staffing model’s effectiveness in meeting the organization’s marketing and communications needs.

New Approach, New Understanding

The audit provided valuable insight and concrete data that enabled Wolf Trap to restructure its communications functions, guidelines and strategies, and develop new materials. The process also helped to drive consistency in application of its brand – what many have come to call “the Wolf Trap Experience” – across all communications materials and media, to help audiences better understand and connect with Wolf Trap and its full breadth of offerings.