Is your brand ambassador a shill or an advocate?
This much is true. The sun will rise tomorrow, taxes will be due on April 15th and the music industry will always be littered with endorsement ads. From retailers to the pages of magazines the players of tomorrow are under a constant barrage of artist endorsement. But is your brand really saying anything with these ambassador relationships?
I have no shame in admitting that the youth of today are way smarter than I was when I started playing music. I was a sucker for the gear my favorite artists were pimping in the magazines. The players of tomorrow, however, are way more informed than my generation ever was and they’re a lot less susceptible to the influence of traditional product endorsement. What the kids need is a story. What you need to tell that story is more than just a rock ‘n’ roll face. You need a true brand advocate.
Are you making the most of your endorsee relationships?
There are lots of weapons in your marketing kit and engaging artist endorsements can be among the most powerful if used properly. Here are a few tips to convert your signature players into true brand ambassadors:
Say Something, Anything.
Slapping an endorsed player on your ads says only one thing, “This artist uses our gear.” Your brand is a lot bigger than that, and you need to answer the question, “why does X artist love our brand?” What your artists do best is tell stories for a living. Work with them to craft an authentic story—not a sales pitch—about what your brand means to them and find a way that communicates it effectively.
Fans Make Credible Ambassadors.
Odds are that if you simply handed your artist gear in the hopes that he would represent your brand, just because you gave him free stuff, it’s going to be a lackluster relationship. These kinds of artist relationships lead to some pretty disingenuous or forced endorsements. Younger, informed audiences see right past that kind of tactic.
If your artist was a fan of your brand before you came knocking, you’re in a good place. Players are passionate about their gear. They know exactly why they love it, exactly how it works, and they love telling other players why it’s such a great product. Make the most of your ambassador’s passion, and capitalize on every mechanism that helps you get that story out. Think beyond quotes. We know they “can’t go on stage or into the studio without it.” Tell us why.
More Than Just An Ad.
I can appreciate how hard it is to tell a story in a one-page ad. When it comes down to it, traditional marketing will only get you as far as one single benefit. Here are just a few ways you can go deeper and amplify:
- Rig Photos: Your artist is an influencer and likely has a lot of followers on social media. Have them showcase photos of their rig, with your product front and center.
- How-to Videos: Information is gold in the social universe, and the majority of players probably can’t get your product dialed in just right. Work with your ambassador to create videos that demo the capabilities of the product, and show how they use it to achieve their signature sound.
- Lessons: If information is gold, music lessons are platinum. Use your ambassador’s talent to create an educational series sponsored by your brand and credibility will follow.
- Q&A: If your product is complex, try hosting a WebEx or Twitter session that lets fans dig deeper into how your ambassador uses your equipment, and offer tips on how your audience can best use it to craft their own sound.
Pulling your sales, R&D and marketing teams together to build a list of all the ways you can leverage your ambassadors to tell your brand story is just one way you can build authentic and meaningful relationships with your current and future players.