The CM.com-owned mobile app experts, Appmiral, recently partnered with an internationally renowned classical orchestra and ensemble, the Brussels Philharmonic, to launch a new mobile app for both its concertgoers and fans.
Called "BXL Phil", the app went live in December 2020, and was the first of its kind not only in Belgium but across the classical music industry, enabling a better experience for concert attendees and with a goal to make the music more accessible to a wider audience.
Digital transformation was the motivator of the app launch. Brussels Philharmonic wanted to own its own channel as a next-level, future-proof solution to push the brand out, offer its current fans more engaging content, and to reach younger generations of music enthusiasts. It also had plans to publish event program brochures in digital form on the app platform as opposed to print, even before the pandemic, being one of the first classic ensembles to do so. This pioneering feature proved especially useful during times of social distancing.
“As venues and concert halls began filling up again with fans post-pandemic, it was the perfect moment for the ensemble to accelerate its digital transformation and rethink the visitor experience before, during, and after the actual events taking place,” says Véronique Bossaert, Director Marketing & Communications at Brussels Philharmonic.
To get the ball rolling in achieving its goals, Brussels Philharmonic began the hunt for a provider who could fulfill its ambitions by building an app. After discussing the needs with a bigger web agency and having meetings to decide whether it should use an existing platform or build its own, it was clear CM.com’s Appmiral was the perfect solution.
“It didn’t matter if it was sports, festivals, rock, classical, Appmiral’s solution was flexible and modular, meaning we could tailor it to our needs and cover a whole range of experiences,” says Bossaert.
The launch of the app has opened so many opportunities for Brussels Philharmonic, helping to bring its music closer and make it more accessible to its ticket buyers, fans, and listeners.
“We can now connect with a much wider audience, in a low-barrier and 100% free digital way.” says Bossaert. “Our teams have been extending our digital offering by creating videos, playlists, and podcasts on channels like Spotify and distributing them through the app.”
She added: “For every concert from now on, we'll be making practical information, clips, lyrics, and biographies available. Anything you could normally read in the old-school 'printed' booklets has now been upgraded to a much more eco-friendly, mobile-first version.
The beauty of this is that all that information comes together in one place: right in the pocket of the fans. The app, which is promoted on the official website and also before a show, has helped achieve the ensemble's goals of reaching a wider, younger audience through a series of podcasts called 'bucket list', where musicians themselves speak about the music and work they like most. Even for the youngest audiences there's something included. By embedding DIY experiences, games, and workshops they start the exploration of the world of classical music at a young age.
In the case of the Brussels Philharmonic, the event experience is not just about the music during the concert. The experience for the visitors starts when they get into the car to drive there, or even before when they plan their route, until afterwards when they are leaving the venue.
The app is used as an informative tool to boost the entire event-goer’s experience, giving them personalised traffic updates via push notifications when the car park is congested, for example. This engagement isn’t only provided during and immediately before and after the event, but year-round.
There’s additional value in the app’s ability to gather data of visitors in real-time, something that wouldn’t have been possible when only communicating offline.
“Working with CM.com and Appmiral has been wonderful,” says Bossaert.
“We’re very happy because the Appmiral team has been very responsive, quick, and constructive in all the things that we wanted and imagined. By listening to the needs of visitors to keep improving their product across different industries, they made some crazy things happen - like integrating real-time program notes for the concerts into the app. The flexibility of their platform allowed us to easily add existing web-based content and customer journeys. Besides that, they challenged our list of requirements and helped us prioritise this.”
Robin van den Bergh, managing director at Appmiral, adds: “Creating this application was the perfect extension on our strategy to make our festival and event apps more valuable throughout the year. We couldn't be prouder on establishing this long-term partnership with such an important name in the industry.”
For CM.com's Appmiral, the initial assignment was to embed a 'similar experience' like how we approach large festivals. However, for Brussels Philharmonic, the app has quickly developed into this new and fully owned channel that can provide fans, attendees, and enthusiasts with more contextual information, faster - turning their concert visits into real experiences.
And it doesn’t end there. Brussels Philharmonic plans to develop the app even further, including rethinking how it presents information to make it even more intuitive, engaging and usable.
The ensemble is also looking to make use of an upcoming geo-fencing feature, which would allow it to better reach people within certain areas and with more regionally relevant information, allowing more efficient communication and recommendations. It would also communicate new concerts throughout the year, instead of twice a year to a big group, all at once.
“In the upcoming years, Brussels Philharmonic is looking to accelerate its digital transformation on all touch points in its customer journeys. This added data would help to further enhance the app experience, bringing recommendations based on people's likes and actions for more targeted marketing,” says Bossaert.
“This would be next level, and it’s where we’re going to go in the future.”
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