Increasing engagement for the future of San Francisco Ballet through a new online experience

Founded in 1933, San Francisco Ballet is the oldest professional ballet company in America. Led by Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer, Helgi Tomasson, San Francisco Ballet operates one of the country’s most prestigious schools of ballet, accompanied by its world-renowned orchestra.

The new online experience engages its audience through multiple touchpoints with the intention to clarify the company’s story, provide inspiration through dance, and attract a broader audience through education. It gives audiences the freedom to explore and appreciate ballet through multiple lenses, while extending the same elegance you would find in a performance to some of the more operational tasks such as ticket purchase or donation.

Large arts organizations like San Francisco Ballet often run into challenges many large companies face: diverse priorities and siloed teams, which can result in the misalignment of the benefits of an online experience. A large part of the success in this project was empowering the organization to work more collaboratively and efficiently, helping them understand that the new website serves as a tool for all of the teams across the organization.

Education and storytelling served as the primary drivers, laying the groundwork for the project, couched in the “changing season” as the overarching design theme. Due to Ballet’s repertory, off, and holiday seasons, Method approached the design to flexibly adapt to the features of each distinct time period. The navigation stems from the content of each page instead of an actual navigational dropdown menu, enabling related content to live within the pages, while providing quick access to other sections within the site.

The site launched September 21st, 2016.

Revenue increased +18.5% within the 1st year after launch

Overall conversion rate (purchase) 420% on mobile in six weeks

Overall conversion rate up 29% on all devices

One of the outcomes we didn’t expect, was that through this process we would reexamine the very fundamental way that we communicate about ourselves. Through our work with Method, we were reminded to put our brand forward, and to elevate the institutional values. This was a huge gift for us, and something that really hit to the core of who we are and how we work.

Thomas Weitz, Senior Manager, Digital Marketing, San Francisco Ballet


Digital transformation

Our work for the San Francisco Ballet exemplifies how to solve the problems associated with long-standing institutions eager to modernize. Interaction with patrons and attendees has changed, and therefore forms of engagement must change. Digital platforms make it easier to create and sustain relationships with varying audiences.

Have conversations early

Empowering any organization to work more collaboratively and efficiently as part of the design process helps them understand that any new digital product serves as a tool for teams organization wide. We bridged the gap for the multiple teams at the San Francisco Ballet between design theory and reality.

Method doesn’t lead by saying 'we’re going to do the most innovative thing you’ve ever seen. We’re going to blow your minds with innovation.' Instead, what Method does is create an atmosphere where innovation can arise every day.

Thomas Weitz, Senior Manager, Digital Marketing, San Francisco Ballet