On April 18th, the fourth Ross-lead Taproot team kicked off a new project with Ballet Chicago. It is a Brand Strategy and Key Messages project that will run for six months. Having worked with Ballet Chicago last year on their Strategic Plan, we had already decided that BC need to position themselves as a ballet education conservatory to best leverage their strengths in their school.This year’s team includes Anne Bommi (MBA’04) as the Brand Strategist, Neha Mehta (MBA’09) as the Community Manager and Hugh Jedwill (MBA’04) as the Account Director.When it comes to BC’s branding they have classic issues with brand identity and mixed messages. At a basic level many people confuse “Ballet Chicago” with “Chicago Ballet.” In addition, many people think of ballet and dance as the same thing. Even those who consciously recognize the difference typically don’t know that the Ballanchine-style ballet training is considered the most comprehensive, modern style.The first part of the challenge is to create a Positioning Statement that Ballet Chicago can use internally to identify what space do they compete in, what they do, how they do it and what their point of difference is. Then the team will focus on Key Messsages that BC can use in communicating with their key stakeholders.
Ballet Chicago is extremely excited about the project as it comes on the heels of the Ross Student MAP project that created a Marketing Plan for their Nutcracker and Spring Repertory performances. Taken together, BC will have a strong communication plan with tight, consistent messaging. This in turn will help them define themselves in the crowded dance space of Chicago, receive more funding from donors and foundations and recruit more board members.
The Ross Chicago AMAP Initiative has received a lot of recognition. The first two projects with Casa Central and Family Matters was featured in the Fall edition of Dividend magazine. The Los Angeles Ross Alumni chapter discussed ways to utilize the AMAP model in their non-profit initiative. Alumni relations from Ann Arbor were also very interested in hearing about the potential for the Chicago AMAP program to scale nationally.
And most importantly, we are continuing our work with our next project, a Strategic Plan project with Ballet Chicago. This project just kicked off April 20th. Faced with an increasingly competitive field and increasing investment costs, Ballet Chicago needs a strategic plan to help them leverage their $1 million budget for future growth. The team for this project is: Marianne Hewitt – Project Manager; Manisha Singh – Strategy Consultant, EMBA2004; Anju Upadhay – Strategy Analyst, MBA2007; Nathanael Hall – Strategy Analyst; Nicole Lusignon – Community Manager, MBA2009; Hugh Jedwill – Account Director, MBA2004. Stay tuned for more as this story develops.