Creative Business Wrap – December 2023

It’s that time of year:  Time to buy a diary for 2024, compose a witty but sincere out-of-office message, and check those school bags one last time for lost pieces of fruit. I hope this newsletter has added some value to your business this year. Your feedback is always welcome so let me know what you would like to read more of or what you don’t need to hear.

What Doctor Who did for Wales
Doctor Who’s superpowers include genius-level intellect, telepathy, and time travel. Now a new report has revealed he has also supercharged the Welsh economy, contributing approximately £134.6m in GVA between 2004 and 2021. The report released to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the world’s longest-running science fiction series shows that for every £1 of direct economic output (GVA) generated by the production of Doctor Who, a subsequent £0.96 of economic output was generated in Wales, making its total economic contribution £1.96. Each series of Doctor Who stimulated employment in the sector and related supply chains and is credited with growing confidence in the industry that saw six new drama series being produced in Wales this year including Steeltown Murders, Wolf and Men Up.

City Lights to Red Dirt : Audience trends in cities, suburbs and regions
Patternmakers’ report on how audience trends vary between cities, outer suburbs, and regions is packed with relevant data and qualitative feedback and it’s worth a detailed read. Not surprisingly 80% of respondents wanted to attend uplifting events but cost of living pressures are a strong influence across all three demographics, with 47% of regional respondents and 43% of city dwellers saying they are worse off financially than this time last year.

Some interesting opportunities for growing audiences are highlighted in the  case studies: Cairns Art Gallery’s exhibition of Sydney Nolan’s’ Ned Kelly series attracted more male audiences even though their audience had been traditionally female. Matinee sessions are attractive to regional audiences who don’t want to drive long distances at night. Linking public transport options will help outer suburban audiences who are impacted by tolls and parking and encourage city audiences to make a day of it and travel to outer suburbs where they can experience the arts in less expensive venues. I’m cautious about discounting as a marketing tactic but Screen Culture Museum ACMI was successful with a $10 student ticket that significantly increased its reach to younger, “first-timer” audiences.

Where graphic design is heading

I liked this article on trends in the graphic design industry because it applies to creative industries generally. 2024 will be driven by the need for new, efficient business models responding to the challenges of AI and the scramble to keep up with the speed of trends set in social media. Creative Boom predicts the continued growth of brand subscriptions where agencies offer a fixed monthly fee for unlimited design work. Another emerging model is the “brand sprint” where the agency offers one service for a fixed price, for example, a new brand identity for a flat fee in two weeks. This is popular with startup clients.

The demand for sustainable packaging, the use of paper pulp packaging and even edible packaging will continue, with packaging integral to telling the brand story. A cute example is a whiskey brand with a handmade, recycled paper label that incorporates shavings from the original barrel. New AI tools can create a whole font from a drawing of just three characters but the author suggests a possible backlash against AI could drive up value for products that declare “all creative work produced by humans”. I’m not convinced on that one, given that the email program I use to send this newsletter has just offered me a new AI tool to improve my writing. 

I’m dreaming of a creative Christmas
Working in a creative business can leave little time for your own creative activities, but we know it improves physical and mental wellness. This article will give you a quick reminder of how creative activities give your brain a dopamine boost. So how about a holiday that combines a break from work and an enjoyable creative experience?  Not in the Guide Books has an intriguing selection of holidays and retreats based around music and art. How about a photography holiday in Portugal or yoga and watercolor painting in Italy? For textile lovers, Academy Travel is planning a trip to India in 2025 with workshops in indigo dyeing, block printing, and embroidery. Their blog features a story of a social enterprise “Sisters of India” that resulted from connections made on a previous tour. My bucket list includes the Big Sing in the Desert … I could go on but I need to get this newsletter finished!

Seasonal suggestions

  • Overwhelmed by the number of podcasts out there? The University of QLD Business School’s staff put together this tight list of 9 Business Podcasts
  • Love a good Christmas movie? You probably haven’t heard of the 1965 Australian film, “Funny Things Happen Down Under” but this clip of a youthful Olivia Newton-John singing about Christmas Day Down Under deserves to become a family favourite.

Things to do this month

  • Time to review your staff’s leave balances. Unused annual or long service leave can be a financial liability so encourage staff who have leave building up to plan a new year holiday.
  • Review your six-monthly results and put in place some plans for next year. What needs to be tightened up to achieve your budgeted result?
  • New products or services to introduce in the new year or new market segments you want to connect with?  Plan some time to brainstorm these with your trusted advisers.
  • Take some downtime and refresh your mind and body so you come back to work with renewed energy and purpose in 2024.

Found a great article on the business of creativity that is worth sharing or
just want to continue the conversation? Drop me a line via the contact form