Tokyo Art Beat is going to MuseumNext 2012

It all started last January, when we found out that Jim Richardson was a guest speaker at the Digital Creative Conference, a two day conference at Academy Hills organized by the British Council. SumoJim was coming to Tokyo! The conference was great (we hope the BC does another one soon), especially the spirited discussions of the panel sessions. Actually, Paul and I were so inspired that we sneaked out to Starbucks to start sketching some new web service ideas. And then kind of talked our way into the after party.

As exciting as it would have been, flying to Dublin – where MN was held in 2011 – for a conference would have been a bit much. Paul started saying that we should present if we’re going to attend… and so, that’s why in December of the same year, we answered the call for papers.

Fast forward a few more weeks, and we received the happy news. MuPon will have a 15 minute slot for a presentation at the MuseumNext 2012 in Barcelona!

There’s some literature on MuPon on the Tokyo Art Beat blog and other media, but it’s 90% in Japanese – a situation that we will remedy in the upcoming months.

I’m posting the proposal here on my blog, for starters.

MuseumNext 2012
MuseumNext 2012

Title MuPon: a paid service to foster repeat visitors and an art-going lifestyle

Authors Paul Baron and Tomomi Sasaki (GADAGO NPO)

Summary MuPon is an iPhone application that distributes admission discounts from the best museums in Tokyo, Japan. Launched in Dec 2010 by the non-profit organization GADAGO, MuPon has served information and discounts for more than 200 exhibitions to a growing user base of 10,000 art fans.

Discount as a dirty word: Our internal philosophical struggle with the dissonance between discounts and cultural experiences led to a more developed concept of MuPon being a friendly nudge to visit museums on a more regular basis. Being digital enables ongoing content delivery and deeper integration with a chatty online community, as opposed to the sporadic, standalone experiences of traditional paper discount tickets.

From online to offline: Building an online community around a mobile tool while collaborating with museums to work out the real world operations of the ticket counter has led to new ideas that complement peripheral activities in the museum.

It’s a product: While most marketing initiatives are budgeted projects, MuPon was designed to be a sustainable business. We applied product management tools from the tech startup world such as AARRR!!! (acquisition, activation, retention, referral, revenue) to the cultural domain.

MuPon acts as a conduit for increased engagement before, during and after an exhibition, in order to bring museums and art goers closer. As a 3rd party platform, it’s also a low-risk testing ground for cultural institutions to experiment with yet unproven digital marketing initiatives. By sharing our experiences, we hope to inspire the audience to look around for low-risk opportunities with partner services, new ways that digital tools can induce ongoing participation, and digital opportunities that support the act of museum-going while balancing the practicalities of operational implications at your museum.

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