How Fans Sustain Bands (and Brands)

Rock ‘n’ roll stardom, much like any other business, is built on brand loyalty. Why does the One Hit Wonder fade into obscurity? Because people like the initial product/song, but do not care enough for the brand to come back for more. Whatever interest might have driven the momentary success, subsequent songs do not create a strong connection between listeners and the band. Consequently, airplay decreases, album sales dwindle, and concert attendance drops. If musicians cannot build brand loyalty and repeat business, it does not matter how talented or dedicated they are. Eventually, their band will fizzle out. A solid fan base makes all the difference.To build a fan base, it isn’t enough that people like you and what you do. People don’t drive across three states in a station wagon with eight friends for something that they just like. A fan is someone devoted; someone who not only enjoys your work, but cares deeply about it. It has value; it adds meaning and pleasure to her life. A fan’s enthusiasm goes well beyond occasionally buying your product off the shelf or mentioning you at a party. A fan understands what your work is about (maybe even better than you), knows your band inside and out, and loves telling other people about you. He wants to share his enthusiasm, encourage other people to check you out, and help promote your success.Why? Because the more opportunities you get, the more of your product will be out there for him to enjoy. If you are truly good at fan relations, promoting you makes him feel a part of something, and he will celebrate your growth as if it were his own.It’s true for music, it’s true for business, and it’s true for your homeowner’s association. The people who believe passionately in Brand You are the people who are going to refer you. They invest their money in your products or services. They stay informed about your activities. They help you get elected and win awards. They are the people who post pictures of you on their social media sites, tweet and post updates on what you’re doing, carry copies of your business card in their bags, and generally get your message out to the world. Not only do you need them to survive, it is through them that you thrive.

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