Grant Park Music Festival’s new branding campaign is a bold affirmation that Chicago’s free summer concerts connect people through the power of music.
Project: Founded in 1935, Grant Park Music Festival (GPMF) is renown for its free summer music concerts under the stars in a spectacular setting. Since 2004, GPMF has performed its 10-week outdoor festival at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park – without question a world-class stage for a world-class orchestra.
For more than 80 years, the Festival has cultivated and nurtured hardcore music-lovers, members and donors, individual philanthropists, corporate supporters, and community leaders who understand Grant Park Music Festival is a civic treasure and deserves our support. And yet, no cultural organization can rest on its laurels. Grant Park Music Festival needed to re-inspire the organization with a branding campaign that would raise its profile in a town crowded with outstanding cultural organizations, attract new audiences and build the next generation of classical music lovers.
A new branding campaign could do just that.
Strategy: Resolute embarked on a comprehensive research and discovery process that explored the Grant Park Music Festival’s culture, awareness and perception of the Festival, and gained a deeper understanding of Chicago’s culture and music landscape. Work included leading a half-day workshop for Grant Park’s marketing task force, and conducting interviews over several months including board, staff, media, city government officials, donors – and the people who loved the lawn experience.
Based on our findings, Resolute developed Grant Park Music Festival’s Brand Architecture, Brand Book and a Creative Branding Campaign: “We’re Classic Chicago.” The We’re Classic Chicago campaign used stunning images of the Pritzker Pavilion, compelling photos of music director Carlos Kalmar, delightful photos of the audiences enjoying the lawn experience and paired them to the language from the brand book.
Resolute worked with GPMF develop a marketing effort that included print ads, an out-of-home campaign on buses, street banners and CTA trains, an oversized marketing brochure, and redesigned season programs
Results: In just one year:
• Festival Membership grew from 6,367 in 2016 to 7,410 in 2017; exceeding the membership goal by $101,000. • Attendance grew from 284,000 in 2016 to 311,000 in 2017. • Contributions grew from $2 million in 2016 to $2.3 million in 2017.
“Working with Resolute Consulting, the Grant Park Music Festival found its voice. Together, we crafted new language to tell the story of a 80+ year-old music festival. We created an integrated branding campaign with bold direct mail, along with compelling art in our transit posters, street banners and print ads. We strengthened our reach and built awareness throughout the city, seeing deeper engagement in neighborhoods outside the Loop including Evanston, Avondale, Oak Park and Hyde Park. Today, the Grant Park Music Festival has a powerful platform on with to stand. We are Classic Chicago.“