In Texas high school football, there is an old saying—–“You have to Dance with the Girl You Come With”. What this means is that you leverage the resources that you have. Everyone has resources. The scale of social media allows people of limited means to become pre-eminent brands. I’ve been observing a brand in music that is creating a brand by leveraging the tools that social media has given her. In an old media age, this brand would have no chance to compete. In New Media, this brand is becoming a very significant brand.
I have been observing this brand’s album strategy. In times past, albums were a critical part of a brand’s success. An artist had to keep coming out with successful albums to create and maintain their brand. In our new media age, successful albums are not a game-changer in creating a successful brand.
An album is a major investment for a music company. If an album is released and it fails, this creates major problems for a brand and its company. Because of the investment involved, a brand cannot have an album failure and remain a marketable brand. Last December a very well known and successful brand released an album that sold poorly. This brand is now is jeopardy of being dropped by her label.
This is why it is interesting to watch K and her album strategy. Recently, several well known brands have released albums. The market is now clogged. In times past, this would have created a disaster for K. K is repositioning her brand in the R & B space. In times past, a successful album and tour would have been a necessity in creating a successful brand. In a social media age; K can be creative, selective, and flexible. She can create a strong brand on her own terms.
Instead of an entire album, K has decided to release single songs through particular hosting sites, including her own website and her own Facebook Page, and retail outlets that burn single CDs for a fee. Creating a brand this way, K now has many touch points for her music. In a study done by McKinsey, it was discovered that a modern brand is created through multiple touch points. These multiple touch points allow K to create friendships with her customers.
Friendships between brand and customer are how modern brands are created. The creative use of “singles” creates a revenue stream for K. People are more open to spending $.99 for a song that they really like rather than $18.50 for a lot of songs that they don’t know about. K can now leverage her brand by friends sharing with friends through social media platforms. Social Media allows K to observe just what songs to put on her album. On the song hosting sites, K can place a lot material that she has been working on in her studio. She can now track just what material is popular and what isn’t. When the time does come for K to release her album, the material on it will be material that her friends really want to listen to.
Instead of a large tour, K has decided to appear at popular dance clubs in major cities. This is an interesting strategy. This strategy creates enormous brand for her. Tours are about perception. The music business is in a tough, economic climate. If an artist tours at large venues, if those venues are not sold out, or if dates have to be cancelled because of poor sales, this hurts a singer’s brand.
Conversely, if a singer, especially a singer with a big brand such as K, goes to a packed club, this will increase her brand. The choice of clubs gives K many touch points with her fans. She can mingle with them, take photos, and dance with them. In each of the large cities that K has decided to target for club tours, she also goes to the popular radio stations for interviews to create buzz. The interviews are a brand builder because K is very articulate. The interviews create a strong touch point for her brand. K is even going to schools to speak and sing. K has embraced her position as a role model. By going to these clubs and speaking about issues facing young people, K not only builds a strong brand with kids, but also with parents. Parents listen to and buy music. This is another brand builder. Each one of those tough points is magnified because the fans are posting, tweeting, and texting as the events are taking place. This creates enormous branding scale for K that she wouldn’t be able to get if she just went on a tour. Reed’s Law is critical in understanding how modern brand is created. A beginning network of 2 quickly becomes a network of 1,092.