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Why do trends matter to Museums?

Do trends matter to museums? London based trend watcher Henry Mason thinks they do and shared his insight with us at MuseumNext (2018).

While he was with us for the conference, we asked him: ‘Why do trends matter to museums, and how can they use them?

Henry Mason: Ultimately, every business now is in the experience game. And so understanding what excites consumers, what they aspire to, how they want to spend their money and more importantly their time is critical to success. And that means looking at what’s happening outside the museum industry. Because you’re not competing only against other museums, you’re competing against everyone! 

That sounds daunting! But the key to understanding and then applying trends lies in understanding your visitors’ basic human needs. When people visit a museum, they can do so for many reasons: to learn something, for entertainment, to ‘be seen’ (in person or online), because they wanted to spend time with their friends in ‘real life’ and more. These aren’t new motivations, indeed they have been around for decades, if not millennia!!  

But of course the ways in which people seek to satisfy these needs is in constant flux. People now expect education to be interactive, immersive, personalized, shared, to name a few. So the trick is to take inspiration from those best-in-class brands and innovators who are setting expectations around a basic need that museum visitors have – and then think about how you can apply those insights back to your museum or visitor experience. 

Trends for Museums

Watch the keynote presentation on the key trends he thought museums should be aware of in 2018 below.

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