Orchestrating the Toronto Symphony Experience

In March, I was approached by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) to help create a digital strategy and supporting roadmap.  The organization had recently made significant leadership changes and the new head of marketing and sales shared his ambitious mission: “We’re transforming a 93-year old start-up”.  It was music to my ears (last pun, I swear).


Over these past few months I have had the privilege of working closely with the TSO.  It is truly an amazing institution that provides innovative arts leadership, rich musical education, inspiring community outreach, and—of course—a world-class orchestra.  The following is a glimpse into some of this work, specifically around customer experience mapping.


The digital strategy for the TSO needed to achieve a number of goals including increasing revenue from ticket sales, increasing contributions from donations, increasing TSO brand equity, and increasing overall marketing efficiency.  Customer experience mapping became a key tool for us to analyze opportunities through a more customer-centric lens.  The model itself was created based on customer research and stakeholder interviews and includes a journey that spans before, during, and after a TSO performance.  

The customer experience map allowed us to identify a number of areas where the TSO could use digital channels to create additional value.

Reducing Points of Friction:

  • Providing helpful guidance to less confident patrons trying to choose a performance
  • Allowing people to purchase tickets immediately, on the move, across any channel
  • Making new patrons feel more comfortable in the hall through cultural wayfinding

Amplifying Moments of Delight:

  • Fuelling excitement for an upcoming performance with interesting background information
  • Facilitating the collective sharing of the event experience through social media channels
  • Deepening engagement with patrons with relevant ongoing news, perspective, and music


These opportunities and many more were analyzed, prioritized, and included in a digital strategy roadmap that the TSO will be activating over the next 2 years.   I for one look forward to experiencing them myself.


A special thank you to the TSO for granting permission for me to share this work and to my frequent collaborator Rob Tilley for his brilliant accompaniment (sorry, couldn’t resist).