Experiences in the Process of Promoting Shen Yun

A Dafa Disciple in North America

PureInsight | October 24, 2012

[PureInsight.org] I am very lucky to have been part of the 2012 Shen Yun promotion. I deeply feel that Master has already paved the way for everything and is waiting for us to act. Our city is relatively small, with only one practitioner. Practitioners from nearby areas assisted in many activities. With everyone’s cooperation and combined efforts, the ticket sales went very smoothly. In the end, in order to accommodatze the audience’s needs, we re-opened the originally blocked off seats due to viewing problems. The following is a recollection of various aspects of my experiences.

1. Implementing the promotion plan as early as possible
Our city’s show was in April. Before Christmas of 2011, we distributed 1000 Shen Yun calendars and 16 page brochures in offices (including lawyers’ offices, clinics, etc.). After December, we continued distributing the 16 page brochures in offices until we reached about 3000 copies. We also distributed 6000 Shen Yun bookmarks in libraries. The theater also helped us by putting up some posters and sending emails to its customers.

Meanwhile, we contacted some media sponsors and thus had a media plan (actually, we started planning local advertisement designs in November of 2011, updating them several times because we wanted the content to be different every time in order to better attract people). We began a public television station advertisement in early February. This station really supported us, putting our advertisement in their best time frame. In early March, we posted twenty billboard advertisements on urban roads (a portion of these advertisements were sponsored; all were posted in high-income areas). Six weeks before the show, we began large-scale printing of advertisements. At the same time, practitioners distributed 6000, 16 page brochures to wealthy districts, put up posters in commercial districts, left flyers in high traffic areas, distributed flyers in large companies (we contacted them beforehand and usually had a booth in the cafeteria, or the relevant departments would help us post posters), etc. Also with the assistance of practitioners from other areas, we produced a few professional newspaper advertisements for doctors and lawyers, as well as online advertisements.

2. “Sharpening your axe will not delay your job of cutting wood”
We understood that in order to allow sentient beings to understand Shen Yun, we must first understand it ourselves. That way when we communicate with others, we’ll be able to bring them Shen Yun’s beauty. Thus, we looked over the Shen Yun photo albums from previous years multiple times and memorized several parts. At the same time, we looked over the Shen Yun website and promotional videos many times, striving to be able to describe it in our own words. Because most of the people in our district are American, we also frequently read the Shen Yun reports in The Epoch Times. After reading them many times, we could then introduce Shen Yun to people from multiple starting points. At the same time, we also put in a lot of effort to improve our social skills, and to be completely open under all circumstances when introducing Shen Yun to different people. For example, once when we participated at a major community event, the host suddenly gave us an opportunity to introduce Shen Yun. Due to our preparation on a regular basis, we handled that opportunity pretty well.

On another note, Shen Yun’s beautifully printed promotional materials also had a good effect. When we prepared some DVDs for extremely interested people or some special departments, the effect was even better. We had to make some materials ourselves (such as those for finding sponsors), and we did our best to make them beautiful as well. At first we wanted to buy a cheap printer, but a series of events that led us to buy a slightly more expensive one made us realize the disparity between different printers. The better one could print images with much better quality.

3. It is important for practitioners to work together
The practitioners in our area were very cooperative. If an event changed at the last minute or if an event suddenly came up, we would always cooperate. Some practitioners even silently accomplished many meticulous tasks (for example, an out-of-town practitioner helped us search maps for wealthy districts and did a very detailed job, saving the practitioners who distribute materials a lot of time). Some practitioners also overcame difficulties and frequently drove two hours to help us promote Shen Yun. In this way, the coordinators were able to put most of their energy into implementing the overall plans. Sometimes implementing media plans requires sporadic adjustments to accommodate the constantly changing circumstances. Especially if some media are sponsors, there will be even more factors that may change. For example, a preregistered advertisement slot may be canceled. Thus, we try to have someone personally confirm that every advertisement will air at the proper time. Sometimes we have different opinions, but in the end we always come to a mutual understanding and support each other. Some practitioners are somewhat in-a-hurry and aren’t very experienced with America’s social culture and etiquette. We try to remind them as much as possible, while simultaneously maintaining Shen Yun’s image and allowing practitioners to do what they do best.

4. The promotion method must accommodate local circumstances
Because we don’t have many practitioners, we put our emphasis on promotion. Our local practitioners don’t directly sell tickets, and we don’t have a local hotline. There’s a very large local mainstream mall, but because the fee is so expensive, we didn’t rent a booth. We also don’t even have enough practitioners who can sell tickets there every day, so we put some energy into finding a general merchandise company who sponsored a booth. This way on weekends we could have the televisions automatically loop the Shen Yun promotion videos. We later had practitioners from adjacent cities help us sell tickets there. This time 98% of our tickets were sold from the ticket box office and theater.

Due to our limited numbers, we also didn’t have much time to participate in community events or exhibitions. We only attended several major events such as the local Chamber of Commerce Fair and mainstream groups’ lectures. We contacted some of them a few months in advance via email, and then they organized it for us. These events let us really experience that as long as we put forth the effort, Master has already paved the way for everything.

5. Try to let others understand and accept our method of action as much as possible
When we went to meetings originally, the first thing we did was open our bags and pull out materials to introduce Shen Yun. We then found out that this method wasn’t that great. If we first listened to what they had to say before taking out our brochures, then the effect might have been better. Because scheduling appointments is very time consuming, we only schedule appointments with relatively important departments. Before a meeting, we would do some research on the company and their personnel and come up with a plan. The effect was better this way.

For some smaller companies or organizations, appointments were unnecessary, and leaving a brochure was enough. At first when we tried introducing Shen Yun to the receptionist at the front desk, sometimes the people weren’t friendly. We later realized that people thought we were salespeople, and they had the receptionist purposely sending salespeople away, and they didn’t have time to listen to what you had to say. We later told them right away that we’re a non-profit organization and asked them to please put a few of these traditional Chinese dance brochures in their lounge. When they realized it was such a small task and saw the beauty of the brochure, they became very excited. We would talk a little more if the opportunity permitted.

We also distributed brochures at the theater. Because theater audiences tend to notice people’s appearance, we chose a few practitioners who met that standard and were informed about American societal etiquette to distribute the brochures. In the process of distributing the brochures, we paid close attention to politeness. We silently distributed brochures in the halls after each show. Because the Shen Yun broadcasting materials are very beautifully printed, they’re taken mostly by the people in the front. The people in the back take the brochures one by one. Considering the fact that Shen Yun is better than a first-class show, we were very attentive to our class standards. Sometimes being overly enthusiastic was actually bad (for example running after someone to give them a brochure or being too flamboyant). Because we were very careful in preserving Shen Yun’s image, we were very low key and polite. As a result, the theater workers were all very supportive and understanding of us. In the process, we realized that the path is very narrow. One slight mistake may be counterproductive.

All in all, we must be concerned with productivity and quality when we do things. If another city has a good method, we must think about why that method works. If we just emulate the surface, the effect might not be that good.

6. We must persevere when faced with difficulties and think of ways to resolve them
In the process of selling tickets, there are still some difficulties. Sometimes there’s a lot of stress in our everyday jobs. Only with consistent Fa study, sending forth righteous thoughts, and doing the exercises can we persist to the end. Some things are difficult in the beginning, but if we can maintain righteous thoughts and put in a lot of effort, it might become easier. For example, when our print media sponsoring just began, we weren’t able to get a good price by talking to the sales department. However, we got the advertisement once we talked to the marketing manager. Master has already paved the way for us. As long as we overcome human difficulties and use our hearts to walk the path straight, we will do well.

If the above experience has anything inappropriate, I hope practitioners will kindly point it out.

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/node/111599

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