OPINION: Has the new HMV Institute got what it takes? – by Anthony Tattum

Anthony Tattum, Managing Director at Big Cat

Marketing an event or a venue starts way before the first press release is emailed out, even before the designer gets the brief to create a good looking ad. Marketing begins before the talent has been booked or the first lick of paint is applied to recently plastered walls. This is because the product and all its attributes is the marketing.

It doesn’t really matter how much money you spend on advertising, PR or social media. If your product: venue or event, is boring or not designed to appeal to a highly targeted niche, you are screwed. Which brings me on to the subject of my column; the long anticipated launch of the HMV Institute.

The success or failure of the venue is now written on the wall. They have already designed the entry system, the music policy, decided the drink range and designed the website. So good luck to them. However the crowd will decide whether they like Digbeth’s newest tenant or not, they are cynical, bored, distrustful and over stimulated.  If they decide they like it they will proceed to tell their friends, fans and followers all about it.

Creating a remarkable product, effective targeting, making promises and keeping them are good ways to please the crowd and build an audience. I remember the Institute (and then the Sanctuary) as mainly stairs and landings with an unfathomable room layout. It was never really my bag but I truly am delighted that another music venue has opened in Birmingham.

Audiences are notoriously difficult to find in Birmingham. Many promoters simply miss out the city in favour of more northerly cities like Manchester and even Wolverhampton.  Whether this is a function of economics or geography, this remains a mystery. But with the Factory Club closing, Digbeth’s buoyant music scene and what looks like a very reasonable line up maybe HMV have backed a winner.

By Anthony Tattum, Managing Director at Big Cat; European Experience Marketing agency based in Birmingham / www.bigcatgroup.co.uk