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Laura Phillips

Brand Engagement – Lessons From The Music Industry Part 1

18th Nov 2014 Brand 5 minutes to read

Chris Meany PhotographyOften underrated yet vitally important in a large number of verticals, brand engagement is often overlooked at the cost of creating a larger audience of loyal, relevant users who are more likely to convert and share the love.

The music industry gives one of the best examples of this, and a number of lessons can be applied to almost any business.

Emotional Engagement

Music is all about emotional engagement and communication, but whatever your industry, you are partly reliant on this area of psychology. An audience with no emotional tie to your business will be less loyal, and your success will be severely inhibited. Evolok sum it up well:

“We have all seen that the most successful artists are those who treat their work as a business: they deliver an excellent performance, engage and maintain a dialogue with their fans and in return they receive respect, trust and more importantly, a return on their investment.”

Research suggests that as much as we fight it, emotion will usually override logic; ie. not correctly tuning your campaign to your target audience’s sentiment will cost you business. You have probably heard the term ‘people buy people, not products’. Clichés are usually clichés for a reason – they are true. If your users feel an affinity with your brand, an association, chances are they will be a loyal customer and brand advocate. If you create a disconnect, don’t bother talking to your audience, or are negative towards them, chances are they will wander off, or worse, bad mouth you publicly, damaging your brand reputation and potentially discouraging new business.

Encouraging Emotion

KISS Metrics produced an excellent infographic using Plutchik’s Emotion Wheel. From this they suggest cultivating a number of emotions in your audience to create the desired effect and keep them returning.


KISSMetrics first suggest you encourage anticipation in your user base, taking advantage of our natural curiosity and motivating us to stay engaged…

Griever Band Our Hollow Our Home Southampton Music Magazine

All of these posts are designed to propagate excitement, get us involved, and stay engaged.

You can adapt this to suit your own business, keeping existing and new users up to date and in anticipation of changes to come…

ZippiSOAP - 6


The next emotion to work with according to KISS Metrics is trust.

Users will attach value to reviews and trust indicators from almost any reliable source; 3rd party endorsements, links from authority voices, well known referrers and associations, as well as reviews coming through trusted sources such as Trust Pilot or Yelp.

A Quick and Easy Guide To Gaining Trust

Get Endorsements

Getting endorsed in print like The Wine Festival did. Marie Claire added the new Winchester Wine Festival as a ‘Must Do’ in their latest edition.

Winchester Wine Festival

Get In Front Of The Right People

Being picked up and shared by authority voices online like my interview with Skid Row’s Snake Sabo did earlier in the month can take you far. Yes, this little bit is shameless self-promotion. I make no apology as it is also a great example of what a difference getting in front of the right people can make.

This awesome site picked up my interview, basically copied and pasted the transcript, and linked to the video. This piece has over 1.1k views now, and the video has about half than many. For me, still quite new to this magazine lark, that is pretty good.

My original Skid Row video and review can be seen at RAMzine, if you fancy it.

RAMzine - 7


Bonafide reviews are worth their weight in gold. Fake reviews are a dangerous place to be. Add trusted widgets to make it possible and ASK for reviews. Seek out legitimate endorsements and promote any partnerships you may have. If your partnership is not worth promoting, it may not be worth having.

Album and gig reviews are usually less impactful on sales than those of, say, a restaurant or café.

Purchase based reviews such as online stores and physical locations they can visit are an important factor for users making purchase decisions:

Amazon - 8 Platform Tavern - 11

Album reviews and the like are still hugely important, but like a returning eCommerce customer, the user has an idea of what to expect, making conversion easier and cheaper than recruiting new business:

CTI - 9 RAMzine Create To Inspire Review

There’s loads of ways to gain endorsements and trust, but you must be proactive, they won’t just fall in your lap.

A Quick and Easy Guide To Destroying Trust

Music is a different beast in this instance, where trust is far less of an issue to the average user, where ability and persona rule, however it still has its place. Cancelling a festival last minute after days of silence and no word about refunds (initially), selling fans dodgy merch, and gaining a reputation for not showing up will quickly leave you dead in the water with even some of the most vehement of fans.

The same rule apply to most businesses. Poor communication, letting people down at the last minute, behaving unprofessionally, providing poor quality good and service; all recipes for disaster no matter what line of work you are in.

Do a bad job repeatedly and word will get out and things can escalate quicker than you’d believe:

AltFest - 12Blake Judd 13aKid Rock - 13

If you really want to go the ‘whole hog’ and destroy everything you have built, turn on your fans like Illinois based Shrapnel did earlier this year. Click the image to read the whole story but beware it’s littered with swears and will make you cringe!

Metal Sucks



Provoke joy in your readers, make them smile, share, make them part of your online ‘brand family’ – instantly increasing all the happy positives discussed earlier such as increased conversions, customer retention, and brand advocacy.

Bands use professional photos to conjure nostalgia in those who were present at gigs and desire in those were not…

Brother & Bones - 14 Emp!re Band Feed The Rhino

Try to think creatively to create a professional shoot, which carries emotions you wish to invoke – your brand message, colors, and tonality through product imagery and great associated copy. This will help cement your brand’s position to your users.

Speaking of copy, it goes without saying that your content should be unique, relevant, and carry your brand message. Joy is often found in unusual spaces, and thinking outside of the box can draw a surprising number of new users through social sharing.

There is so much more I want to talk about here, but time is up and Part 2 will arrive soon!

For more information on brand monitoring and social media management, contact us today.

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