When it comes to music marketing, millennial fans are poised to be a brand’s best friends. Not only are millennials the most brand-loyal generation, they want to engage with brands in the music space, according to research from music marketing agency Momentum Worldwide. Indeed, the survey found that 89 percent like brands that sponsor a live music experience and 80 percent buy from brands that sponsor a live music experience.
But attaching your name to any live music isn’t necessarily the way to win a millennial audience. We spoke with Glenn Minerley, Clio Music juror and Momentum Worldwide’s VP and group account director for music and entertainment about the smartest ways to connect with millennials. Here are five tips:
1. Bring Them the Live Experiences They Want
Millennials are the generation of the #humblebrag. Given how much they want to show the world each of their unique, envy-inducing activities, providing millennials opportunities to attend live music events is marketing gold.
“The millennial audience is looking at events and experiences as social currency,” said Minerley. “This generation is overwhelmingly more likely to spend money on events and experiences” than on tangible things, which creates opportunity for brands.
Minerley spoke of a recent activation with Verizon leading up to the Super Bowl in which Momentum and Verizon were able to “surprise and delight” fans with tickets to special Super Bowl concerts by listening to what they were talking about on social media. “We delivered a value proposition to the customer and delivered that social currency to them,” said Minerley.
2. Be Mobile
You may have the most compelling content, but if it’s not on the platforms millennials frequent most they’re not going to see it.
“The number one rule is: you have to fish where the fish are,” Minerley said.
The key is creating short, easily digestible content, whether it’s on platforms for Shazam or Vice, or in the form of videos, playlists, or Snap Stories. “The majority of content should remain snackable, but if you do have longer format content, you have to tease it with snackable content on mobile and draw them in.”
Minerley pointed to American Express’ UNSTAGED as a prime example. The streaming concert series partners world-class artists with iconic filmmakers to create unforgettable, live-streamed shows. Prior to the shows, American Express promotes them on social media through short vignettes with the musicians and filmmakers — interviews, behind-the-scenes clips, backstage tours — to help fans further connect with the artists.
Minerley said this use of snackable promos is a standout in the industry, as most brands create great content, but don’t use media effectively to promote it.
3. Be Social
This is table stakes for marketers in any industry. But social influencers and “super fans” with real passion about an artist can bring real marketing muscle to a brand campaign.
During the 2016 Super Bowl concert series, for example, Momentum and Verizon used social listening tools to identify 600 Skrillex super fans and inform them of an undisclosed Skrillex concert. The brand gave them about 10 tickets each, and the super fans then created their own ticket giveaway contests among their followers.
So how does this benefit Verizon? “They got word out there about the Skrillex show,” said Minerley. “Once fans start to tune in, they’re tuning into our Verizon broadcast, and that’s when we get the attribution we want.”
4. Offer Exclusive Content
A big reason why Millennials’ expectations in music entertainment differ from other generations is that social media has connected and facilitated direct relationships between fans and artists. That means today’s fans want increased access to musicians, according to Minerley.
Access can include everything from once-in-a-lifetime experiences, like meeting an artist, to providing digital content, including videos, interviews and other content that provides new artist perspectives. It’s about “breaking down the fourth wall,” added Minerley. “Any access you can give fans to their artists makes you a hero.”
5. Be Yourself
“[Authenticity] is the number one thing I discuss with my clients,” Minerley said. “It starts with taking a step back and understanding the brand’s role in music.”
He had a few more words of wisdom for brands in this space, stressing that although many brands want to speak in the language of millennials, they should avoid trying to be too cool. “The kids see right through it,” Minerley said. “Just deliver the access, and you’ll be cool as a result.”
With the countless ways to engage audiences, it’s an opportune moment for brands to join the conversation. “In the past when you did music activations, there was a limit on what your reach could be. But now, there’s plenty of ways to get involved. It’s a great time for brands to work in the music space.”
The Clio Music Awards, in partnership with Billboard, underscores the visceral power of music to connect consumers and brands. Clio Music, presented by Citi, was highlighted at the 56th annual Clio Awards in 2015, with host Melissa Etheridge and performances by X Ambassadors and Salt-N-Pepa.
Entries for the 2016 Clio Music Awards are now open. The First deadline for submissions is April 22. For more information, please call 212.683.4300 or visit cliomusicawards.com.