Brands, bands and social media savvy


I was lucky enough to be invited to the brand-e conference ‘Brands, Bands and Social Media Savvy’, hosted at the IAB last week. Music and the social web have always enjoyed a strong and healthy relationship with each other (music is ‘social’ by nature), and with record sales on the decline, and music sharing platforms increasing in popularity, it makes sense that brands and bands will increasingly look at ways to marry their marketing efforts.

Some insightful commentary came from Jakob Lusensky (CEO of Heartbeats International) who explored the changing role of marketing. He pertinently pointed to the fact that the four Ps of traditional marketing – price, product, promotion and placement – are now being replaced with the four Es; emotions, experiences, engagement and exclusivity. This new model he defines as “The DNA of community branding”. This was supported by findings from Nokia’s Global Youth Exploration Study, highlighting the fact that young audiences are both “hungry for experiences” and “expect just rewards for their attentions”, presented by the panel’s opening speaker, Thinktanks’s Nick Roberts. He went on to reveal that, in return, young audiences are prepared to repay brands with “loyalty, advocacy and purchase.”

The formula is simple: you have to provide something of value to your audience in order to get value in return.

But what this means is a shift not only away from the traditional model of marketing, but also the traditional forms of measurement. A question we come up against time and time again as social practitioners; how do you measure the value of engagement? According to Simon Daglish, VP Commercial Director at MySpace, you need to “go beyond the click” and start instead to see success as “putting your brand at the heart of the experience.” You need to get creative with your brand.

Which leads me onto another formula… as defined by Fred Bolza from Sony Music UK. Creative marketing, he points out, is the product of two crucial inputs: insight into your audience and basic, human instinct (or to quote his muso reference: the “this is gonna be a hit!” factor). And I couldn’t agree more. You can’t offer something of true value until you understand the person you are trying to reach. While conversely, you have to layer this with an understanding that there will always be an element of uncertainty with any creative marketing experience. You have to be willing to take a risk with your brand and “let go”. Scary stuff for some, but the basis of stellar audience engagement practice for others. One such example was the Kasabian Football Hero case study Bolza presented:

And to summarise in an oh-so-social fashion, I leave you with one of my tweets from the event:

Overiding message seems to be If content offers value to people, it will reciprocate with value to both the brand and band #social_music