Nikhil Soni
Guest Article

Harmonising branding and performance: Leveraging marketing strategies to amplify concert impact

Brand building and marketing can elevate concert experiences, maximising reach, fostering audience connection, and amplifying impact.

In the realm of concert experiences, few have achieved the iconic status of Taylor Swift's Eras tour. With millions in virtual queues, crashing ticketing servers, and billions of pounds in revenues, the tour has set mind-boggling benchmarks. While Taylor's music and on-stage presence, along with the scintillating productions, are talk-worthy, the tour's success is also a result of comprehensive branding and marketing efforts that have captivated audiences worldwide.

This article attempts to explore how brand building and marketing can play a significant role in elevating concert experiences, maximising reach, fostering audience connection, and amplifying impact.

Concert marketers devising marketing strategies must tackle the constantly evolving consumer preferences and digital platforms landscape. Marketers could navigate such a challenge if there were a guiding framework they could use to design their strategies with a high probability of success. In this article, we explore one such framework.

This proprietary framework is grounded in ease of understanding, implementation, and measurement. We begin by working on a content strategy integrated with cohesive storytelling, which is then deployed through distribution channels and amplified through advertising and impactful collaborations to achieve an end goal such as creating awareness, building engagement, or selling concert tickets or merchandise.

Now, let us study each of these components in detail.

Content

Crafting a compelling content strategy is foundational to engaging audiences and communities. A content strategy is a combination of three components.

Identity

Tailoring content to reflect the essence of the music and artist being showcased is paramount. This can vary widely from a rock band to a classical virtuoso. Marketers must canvas their content with distinct personality, attributes, and tones derived from the central identity. A good example here would be Nucleya, a popular Indian DJ, who uses his Instagram handle to showcase his energetic style, reflecting his musical identity.

Formats

The bottom line here is experimentation. From Instagram stories to YouTube shorts, experiments allow marketers to study each format’s effectiveness and optimise content plans. By analysing key metrics such as reach, impressions, engagement, and clicks, marketers can continuously refine their approach and maximise their content’s impact. A great case study to understand this is Indian music composer and singer Prateek Kuhad’s YouTube channel.

Funnelling

Finally, all content needs to fit into the proverbial marketing funnel of awareness, engagement, and conversion. Marketers must be able to position their content elements across this funnel. Each piece of content should have a clear goal, such as making people aware of the concert, engaging them with interesting details, or convincing them to buy tickets.

That would help marketers determine specific goals for each content piece and align them with consumer journeys in a highly effective manner.

Storytelling

Storytelling is the glue that binds disparate content elements into a cohesive narrative. Marketers building a content strategy must understand how effective storytelling works and should be able to weave a compelling tale that resonates with audiences. Resources such as Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller and Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath offer valuable insights into effective storytelling techniques.

Distribution

Identifying the most effective distribution channels is essential for maximising reach and engagement. Concert marketers must strategically leverage platforms that offer geographical and cultural relevance to their target demographic.

Digital

Platforms like Instagram and YouTube offer unparalleled opportunities for engaging with music enthusiasts and growing communities. Marketers should identify the channels that offer the best cultural connection with intended audiences and build distribution on those channels.

One can leverage a social media management tool like SproutSocial or a social analytics platform like Social Blade to identify their ideal channels, analyse distribution data, and optimise campaigns around core metrics.

Non-digital

According to Dentsu’s Digital Advertising Report 2024, Indian advertisers spent approximately Rs 22,644 crores, i.e., 24.3% of their 2023 advertising spends, on print, radio, OOH, and cinema. Considering the staggering numbers, marketers must not overlook the potential of such non-digital mediums. However, since these mediums operate at the intersection of distribution and advertising, we shall talk about them in the next section.

Advertising

Effective advertising serves as a catalyst for expanding audience reach, reinforcing brand awareness, and driving ticket sales. Marketers must be able to navigate the complexities of the advertising landscape.

Digital advertising

Digital advertising, or performance marketing, mainly encompasses paid social and digital media campaigns. While potentially highly effective, performance campaigns work only when marketers are proficient in key underlying aspects, such as setting up ad campaigns, defining audience targeting, testing multiple ad creative and copy options, and optimising campaigns on various parameters to achieve desired results without overspending.

One could learn these skills from numerous modestly priced yet well-structured Udemy courses.

Traditional advertising

Traditional advertising, or television, print, radio, and OOH, still work extremely effectively in certain demographics and markets, such as semi-urban centres or tier 2 and 3 cities. In our experience, radio and ambient advertising, such as brand kiosks in high-footfall locations, are highly effective mainly due to the inherent localisation they offer.

Also, it is the very lack of this localisation that renders expensive mediums like TV and print ineffective in most cases. However, traditional channels, when deployed strategically, can complement digital efforts and enhance overall brand visibility.

Collaborations

Collaborations with influencers, brands, and media outlets are a great way to amplify visibility and drive commercial success. Numerous artist management firms and music labels have used such collaborations to build massive concert experiences in the past. Concert organisers can explore strategic partnerships that align with their objectives and also resonate with their target audience.

Influencer integration

Leveraging influencer marketing can significantly extend the reach and impact of a campaign. However, it is critical to identify influencers whose demographics and interests align with the event’s target audience. One can leverage popular influencer marketing and intelligence platforms like HypeAuditor or CreatorIQ for building and executing successful influencer campaigns.

Brand sponsorships

Strategic partnerships with brands offer opportunities for mutual benefit, with sponsors providing financial support in exchange for brand presence within marketing collateral and venue branding. Partner brands also help in extending the core communication to their own audiences, giving additional thrust to the marketer’s efforts.

As I mentioned in the beginning, it is now all about bringing these individual components together as the framework demands. Focused content creation and powerful storytelling, deployed through strategic distribution, advertising innovation, and collaborative partnerships, will help most concert organisers and marketers achieve their end goals.

In conclusion, branding and marketing initiatives represent a solid opportunity for amplifying the reach and impact of concert experiences. A guiding framework like the one suggested above can make the job slightly easier, if not completely straightforward.

(Our guest author is Nikhil Soni, Group Manager, Shiv Nadar Foundation and HCL)

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