Who are they?

They’re ‘yes’ people – full of enthusiasm with varied and eclectic cultural tastes. Their cultural activity reflects their wide range of interests and hobbies, which often feature learning, community and nature. They’re in tune with their creative side, fun-loving and see culture as a way of broadening horizons.

Expression are ‘people’ people. They enjoy activities that help them connect with and share experiences with others. They are community minded. They like to be sure that everyone is welcome to enjoy the benefits of engaging and as such, put a high price on inclusivity.

What role does culture play for them?

Culture is not a private thing for Expression; it’s a communal thing. When they have a really good experience they thrive off other people having that same experience rather than keeping it secret or in a special box. They want the masses to go and enjoy things – to share them and reflect on them together. They really enjoy other people enjoying it.

What do they get out of it?

They’re called Expression and appreciate artistic expression, so when they see an artist doing something, they really get it. They also like the chance to express their own creativity. This segment is always thinking about everyone else. They like helping people, they like getting involved in things they want to do things together. They want everyone to have a great, collective and harmonious time.

This is the segment that makes the least distinction between professional and amateur art. They'll absolutely appreciate the excellence of the professional, and think it's wonderful. But they're not disdainful of community or amateur art – as talent comes in many forms. In fact, they might actually enjoy having a go at it themselves.

Expression don't like being marketed to because they want to be inside, and part of the conversation. They don't want to be advertised to, it feels impersonal. They want emotional, personal connection with organisations – more like a friend.

Expression appreciate seeing lots of different potential access points because it allows many people to engage and shows an organisation to be open. It makes them very happy to see everybody together being part of something. Marketing needs to actively demonstrate a desire to welcome the widest possible audience.

Building relationships with them

Expression have a very strong sense of civic responsibility with a natural in-built predisposition to support non-profit organisations. Whether that's theatres, museums, libraries – even swimming pools - they appreciate these organisations are for public good. They believe we shouldn’t take things for granted or be complacent –  like independent shops, “use it or lose it”.

Not only are Expression the segment most likely to say nice things about you, but they’re also more likely to join, to donate and to volunteer. There may be a personal motivation, but it's also their civic duty.

They’re people who put their hands up for things and do them. They feed off the social nature of such interactions: meeting other volunteers and the people they're helping. They’re all about making personal connections, but with a strong element of selflessness. They're always doing the right thing for other people. It is who they are. They're the glue that holds the audience together. They're the network people.

If they don't attend?

Expression talk about the arts brands they love in terms of their diversity, creativity and inclusivity. They eulogise about live experiences with wonderful artists, shared with others. However, they may be wary of going places or joining in things that appear to be for those “in the know”. While they are confident and open to a range of experiences, they feel most comfortable in the company of a diverse range of people, all of whom are getting enjoyment.

Arts brands who appear to privilege quality over openness and inclusion may not be their first port of call. There are plenty of other opportunities through organisations who are more embedded in the community, go out of their way to offer access points and welcome the less initiated.

A poster for a Shakespeare play that carries the title but no clues as to the story will suggest the theatre expects everyone to know what it is about already – they’ll see an organisation promoting exclusivity, rather than the inclusivity that holds such valuable currency with them.

Which Culture Segment are you?

Expression mini pen portrait

Downloadable description of the Expression Culture Segment and how to reach them.

Elinor is MHM's Chief Executive...

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