Emma Courtney

A brand and marketing strategist across the public, private and not for profit sectors, Emma combines a dynamic approach and practical appreciation of the marketplace to ensure she adds value to your project from day one.

Prior to setting up her own consultancy practice Emma was Head of Marketing, Audience Development and Research at ABL Cultural Consulting. She was responsible for a dynamic team of sixteen staff, an exceptional associate network and led the company in achieving its Investors in People Award.

At ABL Emma worked across a prestigious and diverse cultural portfolio supplying audience development plans, marketing and brand, organisational development, fundraising and development strategies. This work incorporated complex stakeholder and public research methodologies. Emma also provided training to enhance impact and effectiveness. Sustainability and maximising return on investment underpins all of her client solutions. 

Previously Head of Marketing at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, Emma was responsible for the strategic marketing and audience development of Northern Ireland’s only full time professional producing theatre during its £17million capital campaign. Emma initiated and implemented the first multi media strategy for the Lyric and her responsibilities in this busy department included Public Relations, Fundraising, Sponsorship and Event Management.

Prior to taking up her post at the Lyric, Emma worked for leading Public Relations company Weber Shandwick Worldwide where stakeholder engagement through creative research, facilitation and evaluation techniques underpinned all projects. She also delivered effective media relations and compelling brand campaigns to communicate key messages, raise profile, increase and diversify revenue streams. Emma worked across a variety of client accounts and was part of the award winning change management team who re-branded the Royal Ulster Constabulary to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Memberships and Interests

Emma is a Chartered Marketer and approved consultant of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations. She is also a member of nalgao, The Market Research Society, The Museums Association, The Association for Heritage Interpretation, The Arts Marketing Association and was one of the founding members of Audiences Northern Ireland with the Lyric Theatre. 

Emma regularly speaks and trains on the subjects of Cultural and Creative Industries Marketing & Audience Development and is currently writing a book targeted to aspirational marketing professionals within the cultural sector. She is a Lead Advisor on the Cultural Leadership Progamme and sits on the board of Border Crossings theatre company.

Emma also enjoys walking her Great Dane and Basset Hound, singing jazz, theatre, attending exhibitions, horse riding, shoes, writing and reading poetry.


Emma holds a BA Honours in Philosophy and English from Queens University Belfast. She also holds the Chartered Institute of Marketing Post Graduate Professional Diploma and a range of post grad diploma standard modules from the Chartered Institute of Management. Emma is an accredited Coach in Coaching Skills for Leadership, through Performance Coach Training Ltd / The Cultural Leadership Programme.

Emma was recently listed on the Observer Courvoisier Future 500 as ‘one to watch’ and is a member of the Courvoisier Network.