Hetrick hired to help Indy symphony build audience

INDIANAPOLIS: The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has hired a local PR firm and an ad agency to craft an image campaign it hopes will broaden its audience appeal and help it erase recent budget deficits.

INDIANAPOLIS: The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has hired a local PR firm and an ad agency to craft an image campaign it hopes will broaden its audience appeal and help it erase recent budget deficits.

The symphony will work with Hetrick Communications, which was selected over several other local agencies. The assignment marks the first time in several years that the symphony has worked with an agency.

"We really wanted to go with a local firm because they know our demographics best," said Ana Papakhian, director of PR for the symphony. She sees Hetrick increasing local exposure not only for the orchestra itself, but for its educational programs, which involve 50,000 students each year. The symphony is also looking for "opportunities for the music director to get out in the community, really any way we can get our message out," said Papakhian.

The recession has impacted the symphony's income, as it has at many arts organizations. The symphony has seen budget shortfalls the past two years. "We're looking at all the ways we can generate ticket sales," said Papakhian.

Hetrick initially has three people working on the account, but staffing levels will change as projects are launched, said Jen Schmits Thomas, a principal at the firm. "When people do have time and money to spend, we want to make sure the symphony is vying for their attention," she said.

The agency hopes to broaden the demographic base that goes to symphony performances. "Their research shows that the people who know them love them, but there aren't enough people who know them," Thomas explained.

The symphony is not revealing spending for its new image campaign. It has hired Cranfill & Co. to handle the advertising portion of the effort.

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