Brand Personality and those who effectively utilize it
When generating online content, perhaps the most important things to consider are the desires and sensibilities of your audience. Brand Personality, or the personified quality of your brand name, is especially important in this regard as it acts as the mediator between you and your customer. In other words, the 'personality' your brand displays, through your content, will dictate how a customer will feel towards your product. As such, it is extremely important for any generator of online content to KNOW THE AUDIENCE they are writing for, and to tailor-fit web content for that audience.
It is true that examples of companies who effectively utilize audience-targeting-content abound across the internet. However, I feel that the companies who target their audiences most effectively are not companies at all, but bands or musical groups. Yet, the not-so-musically-inclined need not despair; for these groups, and their strategies, only serve as examples. The reasoning for choosing to examine musical groups is three-fold:
1)- They truly utilize brand personality to utmost (whether or not they are aware of their skill in this practice).
2)-The goals/aims of bands are easily translated to those of bigger companies (those with products other than music).
2)- These groups do not safeguard their marketing techniques, they lay their strategies bare and open for examination (such as the one that follows).
The two groups up for examination are the L.A. based garage-punk outfit known as FIDLAR, and the nearly infamous rap group, Odd Future, also based out of L.A. A quick glance at either FIDLAR's or Odd Future's Tumblr pages will illustrate the first lesson that each of these groups provide: the importance of a steady stream of content. Each of these groups are constantly putting out content; pictures, videos, advertisements for shows and upcoming releases. They even put an occasional song or two up for free download. This promise of constant updates, of fresh new content, keeps the audiences of these groups coming back to the site. Furthermore, each band has a myriad of other online forums for their audience to go to. In a recent interview with SF weekly, FIDLAR stated that they use
"YouTube, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook...pretty much every Internet forum we can. We'll write a song, record it, and put a video to it in the same night. The next day we'll email it to a bunch of blogs and whoever runs it first will get the exclusive".
With the availability and accessibility of the internet, FIDLAR is able to generate and disseminate content daily. It is no accident that the band has been able to profit off of their DIY philosophy. The content of each page, whether it's on YouTube or Tumblr, doesn't widely differ. In fact, what does differ with each forum has less to do with the band and more to do with their audience; by displaying content across a number of forums the group is able to broadcast content to a variety of web users who may use a variety of online forums.
FIDLAR provides some relevant examples, but the rap collective, Odd Future, have mastered the art of the inexpensive, self-propelled, self-contained online marketing campaign. In fact, they have been so successful, with doing seemingly so little, that they have sparked discussion as to whether they are what they purport themselves to be (young kids with a fearlessly do-it-yourself approach to online music marketing) or the calculated invention of some record label marketing mastermind. Christian Clancy, the former head of marketing at Interscope records and the group's current manager, has offered information regarding the group's marketing strategies in an interview he did with Al Lindstrom.com in April of 2011:"These kids[Odd Future] are smarter than the music being sold to them...because of that you stand to learn a lot from them. So, because they have been raised on the Internet, the way they market themselves, the way they handle themselves, you'll hear people say, 'why don't they do this'...kind of the old mentality of how you push. They've mastered the ability to build the pull".
Clancy's concise description of the group's strategies neatly touches on each important aspect (brand personality, importance of content generation, variation of web forums, etc.) of these groups' marketing techniques. All these strategies are based upon the fact that both groups, FIDLAR and Odd Future, intimately know their audience, simply because, as Clancy put, "they have been raised on the internet", i.e. they used to be (and in many ways still are) part of the audience they are branding themselves for: Young, rambunctious, party-hungry, internet-savvy, DIY music fans.
Of course, these EXACT marketing strategies can not be appropriated or adjusted to fit any brand or product (for the simple fact that music is a sought-after commodity). These groups have succeeded because they know their own audience, and they market to their audience in the same way they want to be marketed to. What should be taken away from this article is the yearning passion that each group displays for their brand/product(music) and the persistence with which they disseminate content. If other companies approached online marketing with the same tenacity as these groups, their individual success would mirror that of these groups.
What have we learned?
- The importance of a steady stream of fresh new content. Provide constant updates, new information, content that is downloadable or free.
- Use as many different online forums as possible. The wider variance of online forums that are utilized, the wider one's audience will become.
- KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE- It is not only crucial to understand the desires and sensibilities of your audience, you must also understand the way in which your audience consumes content-i.e. they type of online forum they use and the expectations they have when using the web and accessing content.
- Think about how you use the internet, how you search for content, how you respond to brand personality, etc. The old adage of "treat people how you want to be treated" is applicable here. Instead, market to people in the same way that you would like to be marketed to.
- Finally, utilize each of the aforementioned points in order to tailor fit your content and user experience to precisely convey your brand's personality. Remember, an effective brand personality is the ultimate goal.