This purpose of this paper is to discuss how experiential design can provide a basis for museums’ branding strategies in order to attract visitors, particularly those visitors with a low involvement with museums.
The authors first analyze the experiential motives that museums should consider as relevant in attracting potential visitors. Consequently, the authors examine effects of experiential design on the participants’ behavior and attitudes, which are relevant for achieving branding objectives and institutional objectives of museums. In an experiment, using computer simulations, the authors tested the effects of an experiential vsus a non-experiential museum design on potential, especially low-involved participants.
The results of the experiment show a positive impact of the multidimensional experiential design on low-involved participants concerning branding relevant behavior, such as loyalty and perceived differentiation. There is also a positive influence on institutional goals such as perceiving the museum as role model and a positive change of attitude toward museums in general.
Because of the virtual character of the examined museum the results show only a tendency for potential behavior of real museum visitors. Future studies should test the effects of experience design for a real museum with a distinct brand profile.
The study reveals that once in a museum, potential visitors with a low involvement can be addressed by a museum design that appeals to their experiential motives and which, at the same time, communicates a differentiated brand profile of the museum. Following the visit, this impression can help to overcome barriers in terms of further museum visits and stimulate positive word-of-mouth advertising to other potential visitors.
The results suggest that from a global perspective, experience inducing museums can become role models for other museums, thus altering the image, expectations, and attitude of potential visitors with low-involvement toward museums as social institutions.
For the first time the explicit effects of a strategic experiential museum design on potential visitors are analyzed in terms of relevant branding and institutional objectives of museums.
Ober-Heilig, N., Bekmeier-Feuerhahn, S. and Sikkenga, J. (2014), "Enhancing museum brands with experiential design to attract low-involvement visitors", Arts Marketing: An International Journal, Vol. 4 No. 1/2, pp. 67-86. https://doi.org/10.1108/AM-01-2014-0006Download as .RIS
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