Behind the Scenes: Service Experience in Traditional Performing Arts Groups in Indonesia

Behind the Scenes: Service Experience in Traditional Performing Arts Groups in Indonesia

Adilla Anggraeni (Binus Business School, Bina Nusantara University, Jakarta, Indonesia) and Adilla Amelia (School of Design, Bina Nusantara University, Jakarta, Indonesia)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/IJACDT.2017070105
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Delivering a satisfactory experience to the customers is an inseparable part of a service organization. This article investigates how two different groups of wayang orang (human wayang), a form of traditional art in Indonesia deliver service experiences to the audiences. Qualitative methods consisted of in-depth interviews and open-ended survey were utilized as the data collection method. The findings suggest that service experiences were delivered through the combination of various art elements in the performance, and some of the elements are considered to be more important than the others. Several barriers have also been identified as the barriers that inhibit consumption of this traditional art. Bharata and Swargaloka performing art groups were utilized as the context of this research. This article contributes to limited studies on traditional arts within the arts marketing domain, especially with regards to art experience delivery and art consumption.
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The rapid change in the marketplace of the heritage business means that heritage organizations need to change their way of interacting with customers (Minkiewicz, Evans & Bridson, 2014). As a heritage performing arts group delivering traditional art performances, wayang orang (literally ‘human puppet’) performance groups are facing fierce competition from modern types of entertainment such as cinema, and music concerts (Colbert, 2003 in d’Astous, Colbert, & Fornier, 2007). This calls for a new approach for these performing arts groups to be better marketed and to refine their offerings to their audiences.

The wayang orang or human puppet(s) is a form of Javanese theatrical performance whose stories are derived from the Mahabharata and Ramayana. As the type of art has been developed for several centuries in Indonesia, the performance itself has received considerable changes in terms of the storyline, costumes, and language, adjusting to local cultures and local tastes. Wayang performance, especially wayang kulit (shadow puppet) is often held during special events such as village purification (called bersih desa, literally means cleansing the village), personal purification, and other life event celebrations such as weddings and circumcision (Sedana and Foley, 2016).

Despite recent surges of interest in arts marketing, very little progress has been made with regards to the accepted construct of marketing for arts organizations (Fillis, 2002). In general, art organizations seem to strive for mostly artistic excellence, innovation and peer recognition (Lee, 2005) and are not particularly commercial success-driven, and this has created tensions which makes the arts such a challenging environment for the practice of marketing (Butler, 2000). In relation to consumption of arts and cultural goods, D’Angelo, Furia, Crociata, & Castagna, 2010) have noted that an accumulation of knowledge and experience in their audience members will have an impact on their future consumption of arts. This further necessitates the need to investigate how performing arts organizations can enable their audiences to have enjoyable art consumption experiences.

Marketing practice acknowledges that producers of products or services should be able to gain information of consumers’ needs and then create products intended to fulfil those needs; whereas, today’s marketing experts acknowledge the need to broaden this original perspective (Kerrigan, 2014). The understanding of marketing tends to be a narrow one with little involvement in wider marketing strategy issues (Conway & Whitelock, 2007). In addition to that, the understanding is also mixed with a narrow definition of business competition and a lack of knowledge about customers (Dibb & Simkin, 1993; Copley & Robson, 1997).

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