Marketing Museo de la Fauna Salvaje (Wildlife Museum)

MARKETING MUSEO DE LA FAUNA SALVAJE (Wildlife Museum)    León, Spain

Abstract Introducing a new product is the most challenging task within marketing; and when the product is catalogued as an institution, such as a museum, it demands several tailor made strategies rolling in parallel.  Wildlife museums are offspring of the oldest of the museums, the anthropological and natural science museums; and Museo de la Fauna Salvaje is one of the most comprehensive of its kind. It is privately owned and funded by a foundation created for this purpose. Presently it addresses mainly to the public interested in wildlife, whether as general audience, or scientists on related fields.  Its added value is being a social hub for renowned doctors, professional hunters, politician and jet set. This core value will weaken as the owner Dr. Eduardo Romero circle of influence weakens. The challenge is how to perpetuate the museum, outlasting the physical presence of founder, without falling into biases, which means addressing sustainability and naturalized animals; sense of ourness, displacement, covering present and future audiences and social issues; and keep an economical flow for the museum for years to come. For the purpose of marketing, we are considering the museum’s collection as one exhibition and introducing several  marketing strategies.

 Key words: Museo de la Fauna Salvaje, Wildlife Museum, marketing, stuffed animals.

Presentation of Museo de la Fauna Salvaje

Museo de la Fauna Salvaje is a unique museum located in a privileged setting at the skirts of the Pyrenees Mountains in North West Spain; in the province of León. It is within a National Park facing a water reservoir, Lake Porma, a few kilometers from San Isidro Ski Resort, historical sites, natural caves with stalactites, forests, amongst other attractions.  Road distances from the provincial capital León is 60 Km., from Madrid 400 Km., Valladolid 200 Km., and Oviedo 120 Km. Its coordinates are: 42º 49´ 10.07″ N; 5º 19´ 37.12″ W.

Museo de la Fauna Salvaje is a young museum; inaugurated in 2004. It is an entirely private institution managed by the Foundation Dr. Romero Nieto; who is at the same time its trustee and president of the museum. Its funding, as well as its collections have been granted almost entirely by the main trustee of the Foundation and President of the museum.

The project was carried out with the cooperation, and forming part of the Board, various institutions as the Provincial Delegation of León, City Council of Boñar, and the University of León. It also participated Junta de Castilla y León, Duero Hydrographic Confederation, zoos, circuses, wildlife parks, other museums; as well as research centers and centers for investigation and control of wildlife diseases.

Museo de la Fauna Salvaje has been already recognized as a national reference. It is visited by approximately 65.000 per year, mainly domestic; but also from many European countries and USA. 60% of the visitors come during the summer and holidays.

Fauna of all five continents are represented within 25 main fresco dioramas as background and environmental sounds. Most of the exhibition is interactive and the public may touch and feel the exhibited species.

The museum´s future prospects and plans are ambitious. There is a research department working in close collaboration with the University of León. There is a nucleus of wild animals in semi-wild conditions in the forest surrounding the museum, where wildlife and botanical tours are carried out.

See Appendix 1 for details.

Introduction

Wildlife Museum is a new paradigm on the making within the contemporary museum discourse. The Wildlife Museum is an offspring of the oldest father of the museums, the anthropological and natural science museums; and its cabinets of curiosities (Murai, 2011). There are only handful outstanding museums of this type with the most complete collection of naturalized (stuffed) animals (see appendix I). We are introducing Museo de la Fauna Salvaje, hereto MFS in León, Spain, as one of the most comprehensive of its kind; unique in Europe and worldwide. It is privately owned and funded by a foundation created for this purpose.

At present MFS addresses mainly to the public interested in wildlife, whether as general audience, such as family and children either visiting nearby or specifically travelling there; or scientists on related fields.  Its added value is being a social hub for renowned doctors, professional hunters, politician and jet set. This core value will weaken as the main trustee and owner of the foundation Dr. Eduardo Romero, circle of influence weakens. How to perpetuate the museum, outlasting the physical presence of the main trustee, without falling into biases, which means addressing sustainability and naturalized animals; “ourness” instead of “otherness”, displacement,  covering present and future audiences and social issues; and keep an economical flow for the Foundation managing the museum for years to come (Murai,2011).

Wildlife Museums entirely fits into ICOM´s definition of museums as a non-profit making permanent institution in the service of society and its development, and open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits, for purposes of study, education  and  employment,   material  evidence  of  people  and  their environment    (Talboys 2008, p.7).

Relevance of Wildlife Museums

Miller & et.al. delineate collection based institutions such as zoos, aquariums, museums and botanical gardens which exhibit wildlife as having a “special connection with nature”. They present a unique opportunity for urban residents to acquire wider knowledge of our world, as well as contributing to educational and natural habitat preservation (2003, p.86).

In figures, Approximately 50% of the population live in cities, and this proportion will increase. Miller, et.al. reinforces the concept citing  Brown:

Because urban life is so disconnected from nature, collection-based insititutions have the potential to stimulate curiosity about wildlfe, offer educational opportunities about nature, and improve the chances of winning support for its preservation  (Miller, et.al. 2003, p.86).

Parallel to this definition, Talboys analyzes museums commercial aspects. He points out that museums should be attentive to their own future, both economically and academically. The author identifies the expansion of the leisure market, leading new audiences to museums; and its need to keep this new flow. For this purpose, the audience should experience a sense of profit (2008 p.14). Kotler & Kotler state that there are no limitations in marketing core concept on museums; including learning, celebration, sociability, recreations, and so on. (2008 p.30) We may view these core concepts as marketing tools.

Although concepts and willingness to change are patent, museums are still trapped on concepts of the past decade. Miller, et.al. emphasizes that although there is strong support concerning conservation by collection-based professionals; the tendency of having a “nonprofit institution with a short term corporate philosophy does not bode well for a strong commitment to the long-term mission of conservation”.  (2003, p. 88)

The present world wide economical situation does not contribute favorably , especially to those classified as non-profit organization to become a self-supporting non-profit organization with modern marketing views.

The Internship

The internship started on September 2011. In Spain, summer holiday season does not end until the last week of September. Museum´s regular staff had their hands full and had help from internship students from University of León´s biology and tourism faculties in order to attend the general public. Lucas Morán, the director of MFS is a teacher at last mentioned faculty. All MFS matters goes through E. Romero scrutiny; and L. Morán, director is just an administrative figure strictly under his order.

It was decided that it would be a better solution to have NG and MM in Madrid where all the administrative work is done; instead of at the MFS, 450 km away. Since we will be working promoting and marketing MFS, there would be a better performance locating our offices at reach of all the promoters, corporates, and especially from the decision making person Eduardo Romero.

Internet is the main tool selected in order to launch MFS into the domestic and international market. Besides the resources and knowledge learned during IMS and internet information on the matter MM selected “The New Rules of Marketing & PR” (2010) by Meerman Scott, David. Willey: USA & Canada. This is the newest book on the subject found in the market.

Intership Tasks and tools

It has been stated that the main task of our internship at Museo de a Fauna Salvaje in León (Wildlife Museum) is to launch the institution into the international arena; as well as broadening its national presence within the museological field; as well as well as to a broader audience.

Due to the limited human resource available at MFS; which consists of, besides the administrative figure of Lucas Morán as director; only by two dozen persons who physically take care of the museum; it became evident that the only viable way to promote the institution was by outsourcing.

We, as intership students, instead of working under the order of the MFS structure, as oftern happens, took the role of museum consultant  creating programs and action plans.

Webmaster selection

The first task was to select a webmaster to take care of MFS webpage. The original creator has gone into bankruptcy. This webmaster: Emilio Calvo info@artprojectgroup.com Web: http:// www.artprojectgroup.com/  Blog: http://blog.artprojectgroup.com/  was located during while preparing a portfolio on different sectors where to promote MFS within the domestic market. He, or his company is the webmaster to several tourism related organizations, magazines, and companies.

Cyberspace: Museo de la Fauna Salvaje active presence

A proposal was presented to introduce MFS´s collection´s pictures to be used freely on the internet, if for non-commercial purposes. MFS has the full right and properties of the pictures. This topic is still under scrutiny and needs more research before launching. There may be a pilot trial introducing the pictures on WordPress free dashboards.  http://wordpress.com.

It has also been proposed to introduce MFS´s collection through IBERFAUNIA which is a databank of Iberian Fauna. It is a centralized system, on-line, for public access, with the purpose of getting public awareness and makes people acquainted with its fauna. This data bank is one of the objectives of the project Fauna Ibérica.    http://iberfauna.mncn.csic.es/

Domestic market:  MFS´s presence at schools.

In order to reach the largest number of schools not only in MFS´s area of influence, but nationwide with a minimum of resources and time; the only viable way was to take advantage of structures and resources already on place. So… what do all schools use: yes, “books”.

Distributors: Include MFS invitations on school textbooks; for example on natural science, biology, etc.

It may be requested to book stores where textbooks are sold. El Corte Inglés in León (department store) runs regular activities with MFS. The sales points are very easy to locate via internet. Action may initiate in León and then to a wider radius.

Publishing Houses Agreement to include MFS invitations from their distribution centers; in  exchange, MFS will announce the publishers as patrons. It should also be announced that if the students take their textbooks (not in school field trips) their entrance fee will be waived. Children will always be in the company of adults.

Pictures and other materials: MFS may also authorize the use of their pictures and materials in text books. The source of the pictures is indicated as “by courtesy of MFS”.

MFS may also have an itinerant showcase visiting schools. It does not need to be a large collection; only a few samples reinforced with audiovisual material.

A back office service is needed as information center.   A specific @ address with a physical person returning the calls should be sufficient at the initial stage.

Museum Alliances

At a newly opened “Museo de la Evolución Humana” (http:// museoevolucion humana.com/) in Atapuerca, Burgos; a collection of stuffed animals from MFS are in loan for a temporary exhibition as complement of their human evolution narrative.

I got my eyes on “Museu Maritim de Barcelona” (http://www.mmb.cat/). Its main building, Ataranzas Reales, was catalogued in 1976 as an historical and artistic monument. This is a very dynamic, in ongoing reform museum with lots of space; even for rebuilding ships, which they are presently doing. Y project is to take the temporary exhibition, actually in MEH and prepare a new exhibition “Noah’s Arch” with one of MM´s ship and MFS´ stuffed animals. I am not sure about the elephant and giraffe, but there are plenty of other animals. We can add hologram techniques for some “difficult to transport” species. The idea of a Noah’s Arch started to build up this summer after the presentation of a commemorative plaque at “Museo del Aire” in Getafe.  I was informing Francisco Javier Aragón Cánovas (fjaragon@ucjc.edu), professor at the University Camilo José Cela in Madrid about my projects at MFS. He was commenting about the sailing boat belonging to Club Naval, where he is the activity programmer, and the restoration needed after getting it back from the TV program Robinson. So, to make a long story short, boat + animals = Noa´s Arch.  Loading stuffed animals on a sailing boat and off to sea anchoring on different ports would be a dream come true; but right now a bit far from reality; for obvious reasons as cost, care for the collection (i.e.: weather, salt, humidity), care for the boat, amongst other difficulties. Another option was “Museo Naval”, my all times favorite museum in Madrid (http://www. armada.mde.es/ArmadaPortal/page/Portal/armadaEspannola/ciencia_museo/). The main issue here is space. MN is located within the Army building complex.

As conclusion, the ideal setting is to have Noah’s Arch on dry land within Museu Maritim de Barcelona premises.  There is a point here; Noah’s Arch started on dry land.  ER was captivated by the idea. He also disclosed me his ideas of having an itinerary museum on a truck; and he had an offer for special exhibition containers. I told informed him this was not cost efficient. Everything is on the air for further discussion.

Public Program: MFS and National Geographic

With the purpose of targeting new audiences with parallel interest in nature and wildlife in a more lively state, the following project was proposed:

Last spring I we Mattias Klum in his ‘Expedition Sweden’ presentation. He is one of the world’s top natural history photographers, advocate of biodiversity; camera team for National Geographic and wildlife and conservation speakers. He also has his own production company, Tierra Grande http://www.mattiasklum.com. Following, I held a meeting in Madrid with National Geographic Speakers Bureau and Tierra Grande agent, Marisa López and forwarded my proposal, as follows:

Through films, photographs, and presentations you immortalize our heritage; what I have is a collection of dead naturalized animals to whom I want to immortalize through storytelling and your skills as filmmaker, photographer, and as part of National Geographic  Speakers Bureau represents over 60 worldwide recognized speakers specialized in different topics within National Geographic’s domain.

The concept of this campaign is contracting a speaker from National Geographic Speakers Bureau which will give us the right to use their logo since the moment we sign the contract with them, a maximum of six months in advance. We are not entitled to use their logo after the presentation; but we will be able to include the speaker in MFS’s portfolio which carries the National Geographic logo.

We will launch a new image of MFS through a three days activity around the museum with a National Geographic Speakers Bureau presenter, in conjunction with other national and local speakers, including the founder Dr. Romero Nieto, University of León Rector, amongst others; needless to say other renowned personalities in the scientific and public life.

Universities give academic, scientific and public divulgation; El Corte Inglés, major department store for popular divulgation, other museums such as Museo de la Evolución in Burgos, which opened last year, where MFS has in loan some of its collection, and has a collaboration agreement; will take part during these days. International organizations as Safari Clubs, Automobile Clubs, Camping Clubs, as well as WWF will be guest of honor. Needless to say, other Wildlife Museums around the world. Aiming La Caixa, bank conglomerate very active in culture and museums; other foundations as Fundación Juan March will give us marketing and economical support in the future.

Janes & Sandell  raise a vital question ‘Can museums be all things to all people’ They point out the importance of good coordination and multiple collaboration and alliances in between different organizations and institutions involved. (2007, p.313-329) Adding the last piece of the marketing project with National Geographic Speakers Bureau, as well as involving all the institutions aforementioned; the project Xani and the domestic marketing, will build up a solid marketing structure for years to come.

Presentation of Project Xani

MFS is a unique museum located privileged setting at the skirts of the Pyrenees Mountains. This uniqueness and privilege entices a selective audience. In order to embrace a broader range of visitors we will create a new milieu. Based on a regional mythology and through storytelling we will craft an image of “ourness” and closeness to “nature”.  The protagonist and mascot Xani, a young lake creature, much closer to the main target group, toddlers, will grow side by side with this audience. Gurian describes this effect as ‘object speaks’ (Gurian 2005, p.45). We may categorize Xani as ‘speaker for the objects’ and the animals in the collection as ‘speaking objects’. Besides new view and audience, this approach will give additional economical resource for the Foundation managing the museum; with books, music, mascot, shows, video games, and cartoons. Furthermore, the mascot may be a resource for local tourism development.

Marketing is about interpretative art, we stage a product, in this case MFS and its content are the protagonists; we give the best feasible presentation (interpretation and performance) of its collection trying to reach and attract as much audience as possible. It is crucial that the marketing approach should be based on creating a dialogue between the visitors and the now unanimated stuffed animals at the museum. Figuratively speaking, giving life, soul and spirit to the stuffed animals in the Museum and creating a link of “ourness” and releasing them back to the “nature”.

In Materialised ‘dreamlands’, Mensch brings our practice in theory:

As manifestation of a concept, an exhibition is a materialised ‘dreamland’ in which ‘objects’ play a key role. This ‘dreamland’ is the result of a process of selection and manipulation of the information emitted by museum items. To be educational the presentation has to be completed with additional materials. In this way, an explicit ‘dreamland’ is created. (2003 p. 3980-3985)

A concise description of our strategy applied on museums and education can be seen as follows:

Museums are places in which material and non-material culture can be connected and where disparate notions can be juxtaposed and explored. Through this, they can affect the values and attitudes of students by, making them more comfortable with cultural differences or developing environmental ethics. They can promote exploration of and identity with culture community and family. They can provoke interest and curiosity, inspire self-confidence, and motivate students to pursue new avenues of learning. Above all, they can affect how students think and approach their world as well as what they think.  (Talboys, 2008 p 8-9)

International Market holding a theory

MM and NG selected and translated the presentation of MFS and catalogues from Spanish to English and Russian.

We built our introductory presentation supported on the following theory:

Within the contemporary museum discourse, there is a new paradigm on the making; the “Wildlife Museums”. It may be catalogued as the offspring of the oldest father of the museums, the anthropological and natural science museums; and its cabinets of curiosities. There are only handful outstanding museums of this type around the world. (Murai, 2011)

We have compiled a worldwide list of museums of similar scale and collections and we are ready to propose an alliance asking for their “vote of confidence” backing up this theory and creating unison global “mission statement”.

This task is quite challenging since, we have listed over 400 museums, which have been narrowed down to 40; that is 10% of the total. The listed museums are under denominations of: Wildlife Museums, Natural History Museums, and Natural Science Museums; and they come in all scales, concepts, collections (some of them are only digital or paintings), and they cover local, regional, continental, and worldwide geography.

This project has not been delivered; amongst other reasons, it is written in English.

Conclusion and Personal View

        Working for a small structure seems more difficult than expected. Most of the projects MM have been engaged was delivering her part of the job to large structures. Such  SCA-Unicharn Project, VOLVO-UD, Michelin, Balco, Mitsubishi, and so on. It is a lot of short term responsibility; but it is just a small gear within a larger structure where each person or team decides and delivers its part, and the project comes on shape. At MFS, with the Director being just an administrative figure, and ER carries the entire load; being the economical provider, decision maker, creator, and things have been tediously slow.

By the other hand, it feels good to build up our own schedule. As long as we fulfill our goals, we can freely organize our time.  Working quite much with cyberspace is a great plus: time and space seems less of an issue.

A comment by MFS Director came into my ears. Quite offbeat, coming especially from tourism teacher from University of León, that “I have too much fantasy” So I asked myself this question, so often answered by people around me: “How and where would my life be without fantasy and imagination, which are the essences for creativity; especially in this ambulant, ever changing demanding world of mine. Learning and creating is what makes life meaningful” Certainly, this is why “New Museology” magnets me. It is dusting off its old stereotypes and “trying” to look up to the more dynamic industrial world where I am as fish in water. The main issue is that large museums are part of an even larger structure are drown on bureaucracy. The smaller museums, often private, which I thought was much more manageable, are in large extent the representation of the founder´s vision, and his museum: the case and presentation of this representation.

This point takes us to communication issues; language wise, as well as cultural and differences on professional fields. When we deal with the finance and industrial world, communication is not an issue, immediate action is a must since there is a lot of money at stake. It is quite different within the cultural and academic world. It is seen as money is not considered as return profit. Another abyss is that culturally, Anglo-Saxon and Hispanic are two split worlds; both self-sufficient and with deep identities trying not to need of each other.

I feel being over estimated as a professional; but by the other hand, underestimated as an internship student. It seems as world views are taken from two different angles Most people´s understanding about internship, those with whom I have interviewed, is the same for BA and Master Courses. As for Master students, we  are welcomed with our projects and proposals; but I still don´t see any budget or staff allocated for this purpose. The former staff, considering that most museums are understaffed, is with their hands full, they give us their heart but not their body. The BA and MA internship students are happy being an extra hand for the regular staff. Stated this, my intention of building an interesting professional CV in the Museum field during my internship was not accomplished.

References

Graham B. & Howard, P. (ed.) (2008) The Ashgate Research Companion to Heritage                and Identity. Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing Limited.

Gurian, E. H, (2006) Civilizing the Museum, Routledge

Kotler, N. & Kotler, P. (2008) Museum Marketing and Strategy:  Designing Missions,                        Building Audiences, Generating Revenue and Resources. Hoboken: Jossey-Bass

Kotler, N. & Kotler, P. (2007) Can Museums be All Things to All People in Janes, R. &             Sandell,R., Museum Management&Marketing. (p.313-329) Hoboken: Routledge

Mattias Klum & Tierra Grande (2011) Retrieved on June 1, 2011 from http://us1.campaign                                                 archive.com/?u=95cd46b3e6cdc3a2803d19132&id=b60b7164d&e=a3eaff9974

Meerman, D. (2010) The New Rules of Marketing & PR. USA & Canada: Willey

Mensch, P. (2003) Characteristics of Exhibitions, Materialised ´dreamlands´ in Museum             Aktuell 2003 (92): 3980-3985

Miller, B., Conway, W., Reading, R., Wemmer, C., Wildt, D., Kleiman, D., …. Hutchins, M

(2003) Evaluating the Conservation Mission of Zoos, Aquariums, Botanical Gardens, and Natural History Museums in Conservation Biology, Volume 18, No.1 p 86-93 Retrieved on November 20, 2011 from http:// colegio biologos. com/ wp-content/uploads/2011/06/evaluating_mission zoos.pdf Museo de la Fauna Salvaje (n.d.) León, Spain: Editorial Everest

Museo de la Fauna Salvaje Homepage. (n.d.) Retrieved on May 31, 2011 from                       http://www.museodelafaunasalvaje.com/

National Geographic Speakers Bureau (2011) Retrieved on May 31, 2011 from                       http://events.nationalgeographic.com/events/speakers-bureau/

Janes, R. & Sandell, R. (Eds) (2007) Museum Management & Marketing. Hoboken: Routledge

Talboys, G. (2008) Museum Educator’s handbook. England: Ashgate P.C.

 

About michikomurai

Female, born in Tokyo 7 September, 1954, lived in Perú, USA, Spain, Thailand and last 14 years in Sweden. Profession: Interpreter, Communication & human resources, language teacher and fitness instructor. BA in Spanish at Gothenburg University, Master in Linguistics and Museology.
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