Over-Exposure – Cutting Through The Noise Of Advertising

If you read our last post, you’ve now got a pretty good understanding of the value that music and business can bring to each other, and the history of that relationship. Now let’s talk about the future. As discussed, the numbers tell us music is the best way for brands to engage millennials, which is, ultimately, a good thing for everyone involved. But what are the factors at play here? What makes a live event, especially a concert, an effective breeding ground for brand loyalty? Let’s start by putting these events in context.

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We’re Mad As Hell & We’re Not Gonna Take It Anymore

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Advertising has gone crazy. Global media spend regularly tops $500,000,000,000, and it’s only increasing, as plenty of holdout companies catch up to the digital age. We as consumers are exposed to over 5,000 brands per day, of which, at best, around 150 make it past our eyeballs, and 12 hit the holy grail of engagement. That’s a 0.24% success rate, jumping up to around 3% if you look specifically at advertising, instead of general branding. Every space visible to the public has become fair game. Email, digital signage, YouTube ads – you name it, someone somewhere is selling it.

And therein lies the problem – while some companies embrace the more civilised (and effective) inbound techniques that invite consumers into a conversation, plenty of brands are still stuck in the shouting match that is push marketing. Push is a tone-deaf approach, based on an unwillingness or an inability to fathom that the world has moved on. This invasion of public space prompted Banksy, paraphrasing Sean Tejaratchi, to proclaim “The most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you.”

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Don’t Burn Out, Burn Even

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People are tired of being condescended to, shouted at, treated as walking wallets. This is especially true of millennials, probably the most media savvy generation in history – to channel Bane, “You merely adopted media saturation. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn’t see an ad blocker until I was already a man”.  In this environment, it takes something remarkable to be part of that 0.24%. When any service or product under the sun can be copied and repackaged, what you offer isn’t enough any more – it’s how you offer it that counts.

Apple weren’t the first mp3 player or smartphone manufacturer, Facebook wasn’t the first social network, and Google wasn’t the first search engine. All have great products, but so did Creative, Myspace and Yahoo. What these three market leaders do have in common is a strong and consistent brand identity, one that cuts through the noise of their competitors, and speaks to consumers. What’s more, they all embrace elements of pull marketing, especially Steve Jobs – the evangelism of Apple consumers, and the lines outside their stores on release days, are testament to the success of his rock star strategy. Brands aren’t just useful anymore; now they can be cool.

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Throw Away Your Television

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So in this media saturated world, what makes a brand remarkable? The simplest answer is to do something different.  Most brands prefer to stick to tried and true methodologies like TV, even when they’re over-tried and less-than-true. TV advertising is a dinosaur, a dying medium brands and agencies prop up because that’s how it’s always been done. Never mind that 84% of people want to skip the ads – if everyone else is doing it, you need to as well, or you’ll get drowned out of the conversation, right?

As Frank Underwood loves to say, “If you don’t like how the table is set, turn over the table.” Brands like Google don’t advertise often, because they don’t need to. But they understand the value of disruption – that’s why YouTube partnered with the last ever One Direction tour (full disclosure: Rapture brokered that agreement). Unlike TV, there’s no over-saturation at concerts, so brands don’t need to shout to be heard. And unlike TV, a concert is a live, real-time experience, with no fast-forward button.

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Most importantly, unlike TV, fans understand event partners aren’t supporting some generic network: they’re directly supporting the music fans love, and their brand and content have been personally okayed by the band or management. Forget alignment, that’s a big fat artist’s stamp of approval, and potentially the first rung on the ladder to full endorsement. Remarkable by environment, cool by association, event partnerships offer brands one of the most valuable opportunities around – being a crucial part of a consumer’s happiest memories. Now who wouldn’t want that?