Digital media and platforms are disruptive. Probably no vertical knows this better than the music industry. But maybe the days of diminishing sales revenue for the music industry are behind us. (Maybe not.) Earlier this week, The New York Times reported year to year sales had increased 0.3 percent. And while you may think that is negligible, it is noteworthy that this is the first increase in music sales since 1999.
Taking this cue, James McQuivey, a Forrester Consumer Product Strategy Analyst, provided some great lessons learned at the hands of the music industry that all brands should consider with regards to managing digital disruption. You should read his entire article and get further explanation, but here are suggestions he listed:
• Disrupt yourself before someone else can.
• Build a digital customer relationship.
• Care more about convenience than quality.
• Anticipate a reduction in revenue on a per transaction basis.
There is definitely some great advice there, but if you want to see a real life example of taking these recommendations and putting them into action, consider Amanda Palmer. Amanda is a punk-cabaret performer and she spoke at TED 2013 this week.
Ms. Palmer’s presentation was titled “The Art of Asking.” She highlighted how she stopped selling music for a sticker price and simply asked people to fund her art. The result – $1.2 million raised.
Now granted, not everyone can raise that much money, but there is a strong message here for brands … have a great product; spend time engaging with your target market; and be truly genuine with your audience and build trust.
Palmer is extremely active on Twitter. She has engaged with people via social channels and has connected with people to provide a place to sleep, asked to practice on an available piano, and other face-to-face favors and meetings.
So when it came time to making money, Amanda had a trusted audience. I the love part in her presentation when she talks about the media asking her “The music business is tanking and you encourage piracy. How do you make all these people pay for music?” Amanda answers, “I didn’t make them, I asked them.” You see when you build close relationships with your audience; they come to your support when you ask them for it. If you are simply prostituting your offering, forget it. Funny enough Palmer tells a story where someone came up to her after a show and gave her a $10 bill and said, “I’m so sorry, I burned your CD from a friend, and I want to give you this money.” That’s an example of a relationship that didn’t even need “the ask.”
Audience development and emotional branding is extremely powerful in the new disruptive digital world. I am not saying brands should just let people pay what they want for their product/service, but if you have a deep relationship with your audience, you can ask them to help on your behalf. You can ask them to share your brand with their friends for example.
Another great quote from Ms. Palmer’s presentation is when she opens her arms wide and says “I trust you this much. Should I? Show me.” This was in reference to her stripping naked and letting people sign her body. I do not suggest you do this (maybe, it could be fun ), but this is a great metaphor. Can your brand strip down naked for its audience and will they show you supreme respect and admiration? She then goes on to say “Celebrity is about a lot of people viewing you from a distance. But the Internet and the content that we are freely able to share on it are taking us back. It is about a few people loving you up close and those few people being enough.” And if you are a brand, you only need a few people to get a movement to build.
So marketers, take the last word from renegade Amanda Palmer about the importance of social engagement …“when you connect with them, people want to help you.”
Are you truly building brand connections?
Make It Happen,