Prosumerism and webmarketing at the museum: Rijksstudio’s case history

Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam had shared on the net HD images of all its artwork, has created a social network and it has asked the users to produce their own virtual galleries. Moreover it invited the users to a contest for the creation of a gadget based on museum’s artworks. This is a nice case of prosumerism.

“Prosumer” is a word that unifies the “producer” with the “consumer”. In marketing field is used when a simple consumer becomes a real producer, like it were a firm. Usually prosumerism regards media content to share in Internet such as photos, videos, tales, but sometimes it ends up creating new products.

The phenomenon of prosumerism is in close relation with webmarketing and a lot of activities we talked about in the past are real prosumerism activities: the visitors playlist sharing in Spotify, ducks pictures, Facebook contest

But a museum has gone far beyond, making prosumerism a strategic objective.

Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam transformed a section of its website in a real social network: the Rijksstudio. It made available on the net all his heritage with HD images and invited the users to choose their favorite artworks and create their personalized virtual gallery.

The museum also created Mastermatcher, a strange instrument that finds in the collection the artworks that could please the user. It asks some questions such as: “Holidays! Where would you go?” or “In another life you were…?” and in relation to the answers it finds which artworks could please the user.

But there is more than this. You can “like” the artworks and the galleries of others users, leave comments or share in Facebook. If you like an artwork in particular you can order a reproduction on poster or canvas, and this is possible for all the artworks in the museum, not only for superstar artworks that you find in the bookshop

However the real prosumerism is in the project Rijksstudio Award. It is a contest for a new product idea created for Rijksstudio users. The museum invites to utilize the images of the artworks in order to create a gadget for the museum’s bookshop.

The winner of the Rijksstudio Award will be the best design created using Rijksstudio, i.e. one that is inspired by the Rijksmuseum’s collection.

The user will create the gadget and will upload a description and a picture of it in his Rijksstudio. In April a jury will choose which gadget deserves to be produced and sold in the bookshop.

In my opinion this is an extremely interesting initiative because it allows users to interact and collaborate whit the institution. The visitor feels himself closer to the museum and is retained, so this initiative could be the first step to turn visitors into “museum brand ambassadors”.

Rijksmuseum is one of the most innovative museums in using 2.0 and 3.0 web. Its initiatives opens up the possibility of a new kind of interaction between museum and visitors. It listens and converses with its visitors, allows visitors to discourse with each other and it stimulates creativity widespread. Also these helo putting the museum in a more visitor-oriented perspective.

This initiative is not affordable for all the museums but it explores possibilities of museums growth in many hot areas of marketing: prosumerism, digital engagement, social media marketing and digital community management.