Building an online following for IN-DEPENDANCE Gallery before it's official opening

IBASHO Gallery, known for Japanese photography, launched IN-DEPENDANCE to broaden its horizon. They aimed to build an engaged online following to kickstart their first exhibition.

Online communication plan
Build trust through email
Engage through social media
June 2024

The problem

Since 2015, IBASHO Gallery is internationally known for its focus on Japanese photography. Over the years, Martijn and Annemarie, the people behind IBASHO, discovered many artists whose work resonated with their vision but had no connection to Japan. So they decided to open a second gallery in Antwerp, IN-DEPENDANCE, which aligns with their artistic ethos while being free from the artistic and geographical constraint of Japan.

They recognised the need for a robust and transparent digital communication strategy. With limited in-house digital expertise and the demands of running IBASHO and attending art fairs, they turned to ORYS for help.

The mission

The key challenges were a lack of budget for digital advertising and the need to maintain a connection with IBASHO while distinguishing IN-DEPENDANCE as a sister gallery. We identified the target audience for IN-DEPENDANCE to find the best platforms for engagement and brand awareness, choosing email marketing and Instagram.

These channels allowed us to tap into IBASHO's audience and also establish the galleries as separate entities from the beginning. We crafted a three-stage communication plan: stage one from March 24 to the soft opening in May, stage two from May to September, and stage three from September onwards.


Email subscribers
Email open rate
Instagram followers
Visitors during the soft opening

The outcome

This case study, written in June 2024, focuses on the results of stage one during the soft opening in May 2024.

We created an IN-DEPENDANCE email list and creates IBASHO email campaigns to encourage subscriptions. New subscribers received welcome emails explaining IN-DEPENDANCE, its connection to IBASHO, and future plans.

On Instagram, we created content based on three pillars and collaborated with IBASHO, using clear calls to action. In stage two, from May to September, our goal is to reduce dependency on IBASHO and build external traction, establishing a strong following for IN-DEPENDANCE by the official opening in September.

Kind words

Our website runs with Art Logic. Finn keeps this in mind when working out how to make our website user friendly. Explaining every step of the way so that I don't feel left out.

Martijn Van Pieterson

Looking for help in growing an engaged email audience or Instagram following? Let's start a conversation.

A photograph of Finn