What Dane County needs is a more "masculine" Arts Commission.
No? Then what about more "feminine"?
Or just more "magical"?
These are just a few of the questions posed by the county's arts-granting agency as part of an image survey. The study is being undertaken by brandgarten, a Madison firm that specializes in brand strategy. Because the work is mostly being done for free, it's only costing taxpayers $3,000.
"I don't know if you have any experience or familiarity with market-research-type work and branding work, but brandgarten's approach relates to an archetypal way of describing an entity or a brand," says commission director Karen Crossley. The survey was the commission's and her idea, she says. "We didn't design the questions, but apparently this survey and the battery of questions help us understand how people think about the Cultural Affairs Commission."
Most of the questions ask participants to rate, on a scale between 1 and 10, statements beginning, "For the [Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission] to be successful, I feel it is important for it to be ___." Answers include "virtuous," "loyal," "attractive," "happy" and "rebellious."
The survey was sent to about 1,200 prospective participants. After the numbers are crunched, the results will be delivered in January. But what could a practical result possibly be? How, for example, can the commission be made more "masculine," "rebellious" or "magical"?
"I think those questions help surround a way that people think of us," says Crossley. "I don't think it's as literal as that. I think maybe we should hold judgment until we see what we learn, and see the results."
Well, then, why the need? Why does a county agency worry about its brand?
"I think we like who we are, but I'm sure there's room for improvement," says Crossley. "If we can learn more about how we're perceived - there's a whole cluster of things surrounding our image in the community. I mean, it plays out in terms of our image and our name. If we can learn more to help us do a better job, that's what we're trying to accomplish here. I do have confidence that we're going to gain something valuable that will help us do a better job."
One last question from the survey: "For the DCCAC to be successful, I feel it is important for it to be wise." Rate on a scale of 1 to 10.