THE ISSUES BRIEFExecutive summaryThe National Gallery of Victoria has to make and implement an effective communication strategy so as to reduce the impact, if any, of the negative publicity in the media. It should take both the internal as well as the external stakeholders side by side so that it can influence the public at large. The communication should be honest and open. Grapevine and upward communication of employees should be used to fight this crisis. Moreover print and social media should be utilized as a more formal method. In the end, evaluation techniques such as the communication audit and the use of the scorecard should be done.
National Gallery of Victoria is faced by the accusation that it has acquired several stolen artefacts, thus to which the Gallery wants to avoid any negative publicity regarding such artefacts which may diminish its reputation both locally and internationally.
The National Gallery of Victoria is a voluntary organization and uses a matrix type of organizational structure. It is based in Melbourne, Australia. A Business Council has been made in order to make a profitable relationship by bringing art and business together. The Council raises funds for the museum to purchase art. To become a member one has to pay an amount of $25000 annually. The partners are Mercedes-Benz, City of Melbourne, etc. The partners benefit by getting their names attached with the 150 year old brand of the museum, whereas the museum gets marketing opportunities through the partners. (National Gallery of Victoria)
As Victoria’s cultural flagship and home to Australia’s finest art collection the NGV is recognised as one of the leading art museums of the world.
The values on which it works are excellence, integrity and access towards the public. (National Gallery of Victoria, 2009)
As Heraclitus said, “ Nothing endures but change”. National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) acquisitioned some artefacts like the ancient carving of Buddha and the Dancing Shiva, which are now rumored to have been stolen ones from an Indian and Srilankan temples respectively. The Dancing Shiva is a four-armed and three eyed figure dancing with the right foot on the prostrate demon. (V&A)
The Gallery wants to exhibit its acquisitioned pieces in late 2014 as decided, but at the same time doesn’t want any negative publicity of the Gallery.
(The Conversation, 2014)
The Conversation states that the rumors about the artefacts have made it a matter of national shame. The Gallery has said to have undertaken due diligence for the acquisitions as it involves public money. The better step would be to conduct a national audit so that the Gallery gets it esteem back. (The Conversation, 23 April 2014)
Industry Analysis & Industry Trends
As is the case for other industries, the Art Galleries and Museums industry also works in a highly competitive environment. The industry not only competes with museums within the country, but also with those museums and art galleries of other countries. Moreover the industry does not only compete with its own industry rather it competes with other activities such as sporting and entertainment industries. Additionally, if the gallery or museum is an initiative of the government, the institute would have to compete with such other leisure activities in order to get the allocation of better funds towards the gallery. (IBIS World, 2014)
The SWOT analysis is an appropriate method through which the Gallery can identify its plus points and also know the ditches in which it can fall into. The strengths of the gallery are that it is a known brand name and it has abundant financial resources whereas the weakness is that the marketing skills of the company aren’t that polished. An opportunity is that there is a rapid growth in the market as customers are inclined to buy pieces that are related to history whereas there is a threat of rivals getting a better image as compared to the Gallery in the current scenario. Additionally there is a threat of the government regulations being increased, which can make foreign competition increase. (Business New Daily)
If the problem at hand is ignored the environmental factors would be highly affected due to this problem. The competitors (economic factor) would benefit from the situation and it might be the case that one of the competitors spread such a rumor in the market. NGV would lose the public confidence both locally and internationally (demographic). Moreover the Gallery would lose its sponsors and there would be high amount doubt when different countries would acquires any kind of art from Australia.
– The positive image of the Gallery should further constructed and maintained and no news or rumor should hinder the exhibition of 2014.
– The employees should be given direction and made to help in maintaining the positive image of the Gallery.
– The key external stakeholders which are the partners and donors should be kept in line for the promotion of the positive image of the company through different mediums.
StakeholdersThe key internal stakeholders are the employees of the organization whereas the donors and partners are the key external stakeholders. It is necessary to communicate the position of the Gallery by the Gallery to the stakeholders so as not to lose their confidence towards the Gallery. If the employees leave NGA, the image of the Gallery would be diminished whereas if the donors and the alliances move away, NGA would not be able to buy any of the explicit artefacts that it has been collecting since the past 150 years. These groups are confused and want the gallery to either accept the responsibility and pay the damages or to prove that the Gallery was targeted so as to decrease its rating.
Develop a position of the issueThe Gallery should use its donors and partners to spread good words regarding the Gallery with respect to the present situation. Positive image of the Gallery should be put forward. Moreover NGA should provide the internal as well as the external stakeholders with the national audit done by external auditors so as to increase the credibility of the Gallery’s artefacts. The Weekend Australian reported the Gallery paid $3. 8m for some artefacts which were bought from Mr Kapoor, who is a disgraced art dealer. The money was of of the donors and partners of the Gallery. The NGA director Ron Radford told in the meeting that he was positive that the artefacts which were bought from Mr. Kapoor were of sound origin but on the other hand he accepted to have made a team in order to internally investigate the situation. (The Australian, June 2013) The head of the gallery should be the designated person in order to give out the answers to the media and make official statements. This way both, the internal and the external, stakeholders would be sufficiently satisfied. (Newsplace. org. 2014)
ChannelsNo matter to which stakeholder the information is given, it should be open, honest and transparent. The channel should boost up the stakeholders and bring them to a positive front. The picture of the situation should be made clear so that the Gallery doesn’t lose the confidence of the stakeholders. For the internal stakeholders who are the employees, the Gallery should make use of an effective internal communication plan. The management should take on a leadership role. As in every crisis situation, the internal stakeholders are confused; the leaders should align them and give them direction. Motivation of the internal stakeholders is of prime importance. The leaders should listen to the employees empathically and supportively.
No entity, whether big or small, uses one medium of communication. An effective channel which can be used is the grapevine. The positive information of the Gallery should freely flow within the employees so that they believe in the place they work. It can add credibility to formal methods. Upward communication should be used so as to know the feelings of the internal stakeholders and also what they think should be done in the current situation. Face to face enmasse communication can also be used in the form of meetings. Print media, like the newspapers, and social media, like Facebook, can be used to affect both the internal as well as the external stakeholders. Events of the Gallery like charitable events should be promoted where positive oriented speeches could be given regarding the image of the Gallery with respect to the rumors about the artefacts.
EvaluationAfter the plans have been implemented, evaluation should not be ignored. The communication audit should be done in order to know how well the communication was done during the crisis. Moreover a scorecard can be maintained. If an evaluation report is made then it should be stated there what problems occurred during the process. For instance if some of the donors denied to support the Gallery in front of the media, whether print or social.
The partners should be at the side of the management of NGV. For instance Mercedes-Benz should convey to the world through social media that it supports ethical acquisitions and so does NGV. The positive image of Mercedes Benz would positively affect the image of NGV. The help of technological factors should also be considered. Positive videos should be posted regarding the Gallery on YouTube, Facebook and any other suitable media. The museum should make use of radical changes. It should redirect or reorient meaning that it should change its strategic planned programs. To change the perspective of the customers would under redirecting. (SagePub, 2014)
Verbal symbols should be introduced. The stories of employees and the logo of the Gallery should be made with respect to a positive advertisement of the Gallery. An ethical conduct should be constructed and be made public which would promote the high ethical standards of the company. An overall audit of the Gallery would prove to be a positive action on the whole of the image of NGV as it would prove that the Gallery has nothing to hide and it works for the best interests of its people.
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– Theconversation, 2014. The Dancing Shiva fiasco should shift attitudes in Australia [online] Available at: http://theconversation. com/the-dancing-shiva-fiasco-should-shift-attitudes-in-australia-26044 [Accessed 21 May. 2014].
– The Australian, 2014. [online] Available at: http://www. theaustralian. com. au/arts/visual-arts/gallery-has-conceded-it-might-have-been-duped/story-fn9d3avm-1226663490862# National Gallery of Australia paid $5. 1m for ‘looted’ Shiva statue [Accessed 21 May. 2014].
– V&A, 2014. [online] Available at: http://collections. vam. ac. uk/item/O25011/shiva-nataraja-lord-of-the-sculpture-unknown/ [Accessed 21 May. 2014].
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