NEW YORK/SYDNEY: The Metropolitan Museum of New York was unfazed by controversy around its rebrand as it sought to engage a younger audience, a former marketer at the organisation has revealed.

"We had research that indicated (the logo) wasn't recognised by that many people. We knew we needed to update and make a change to that," said Cynthia Round, who served as the Met's SVP/Marketing and External Relations from 2013 until mid-2016, at the recent ADMA Global Forum in Sydney.

The logo change was a central part of the rebrand, but was criticised by a number cultural observers. (For more, read Warc's report: Inside The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Re-Brand and Customer Experience Makeover.)

The Met's rebrand was driven by concern around declining attendance at other cultural institutions and the need to appeal to a new generation of museum goers.

A study conducted by The National Endowment for the Arts found that just one-in-five Americans visits a museum every year, down from one-in-four a decade earlier. The Met's new look needed to increase reach and relevance, while appealing to an audience that extended beyond the cultural and art elite.

"We wanted people from all walks of life to be there and to not feel intimidated. To be able to walk in, and to enjoy, and have a great experience. The most important driver was really this idea of being more open," said Round.

The formal and legal name of the institution is The Metropolitan Museum of Art, but most people know the museum by its nickname, The Met. Round sought to embrace the more modern, fun representation.

Data then came into play and what stood out was that Friday nights were the least attended nights at the museum. Also reflected in the data was an increase in local visitors on these evenings.

"We introduced Met Fridays as the idea of New York's night out, only we didn't have enough of a budget to advertise it so we just did it on social media and to our list," said Round, who left the organisation at the end of June.

"It really started driving a great deal of attendance. We've seen Friday nights go up by 14%."

Data sourced from Warc