Play It Again

April 17, 2017


Five things brands can learn from anniversary concerts

By now we know that nostalgic Millennials are practically starving for anything that makes them remember their personal days of old – a quick Buzzfeed search can easily lead to hours of looking at things that “only 90s kids will remember.”

I recently reveled in a little nostalgia of my own at the So What?! music festival. The show, in its 10th year running, celebrated artist’s works of the same age. A lot may have changed since 2007, but these bands were playing their 10-year-old albums front-to-back and the crowd was going wild.

In the midst of the music-listening and the people-watching, I couldn’t help but think of a few things that we could take away from such a throwback-themed affair.

Stick To the Hits

You’ve got a lifetime to create new content and experiment, but there’s something to be said for giving your audience what you already know they love and want more of.

We think a good mix is 70/20/10:

  • 70 percent of a brand’s content should be a known home run – something that your team knows is going to do well on a channel, because similar work has done well before.
  • 20 percent will be calculated exploration – content that feels new and that your team can assume will work, based on analytics and other social science.
  • 10 percent will be completely off the wall. It may sound crazy, and it may be a shot in the dark, but take a risk, put it out there, and see if it works.

Stories Change by Vantage Point

Some live music fans feel like the only way to experience a performance is right up against the barricade at the front of the stage. Others prefer to be smack in the middle of the pit, moshing with the best of them. Others among us prefer a little more space at the back of the crowd, where we can take in the whole scene with just one glance. The same moment in time may look totally different viewer-to-viewer, based on where they are in the crowd.

Social users are no different. It’s just a matter of preference. Make sure to meet your fans where they are and make it a good show for every audience member.

Old Content Makes New Fans

Among those in the crowd at So What, it was clear that many of us were already fans of the bands playing and the songs they had performed 10 years ago, but there was also a noticeable amount of attendees who did not look old enough to have enjoyed the jams back when they were newly-released singles.

It makes sense that great work would live beyond its years, though this is not an easy thing to accomplish in today’s age of ephemeral content and fleeting attention spans. Brands like Wendy’s have recently found success from a community management strategy that has since gone viral. Well after the internet first caught onto the sassy responses, Twitter users continue to reach out to the fast food chain begging to be trolled by the brand. Just because something was executed some time ago does not mean it isn’t new to someone.

Misery Loves Company

Today’s Millennials are nothing if not willing to laugh at themselves, the way they grew up and the things they used to love. Watching fully-grown adult humans at the festival shout lyrics like “why did I come home because I hate it here” and “without you I’ll be miserable at best” was more than a little comedic, but nothing says “bonding experience” like reliving your favorite emotional songs in a less emotional stage of life.

Shared experiences, including those like live music and concerts, are essential when brands are looking to take fans from engaged users to brand advocates. Benefit Cosmetics is a beautiful example of a brand offering unique and exclusive experiences, taking their most influential makeup artists on vacations and giving their famous friends the opportunity to bond with brand representatives and with each other. While influencer programs are an investment, the beautiful content that is created and served to millions of social followers is, arguably, worth it.

Celebrate Milestones

As if anyone needs an excuse to party. It is important to let your fans experience the moments that are important to your brand and give them the opportunity to celebrate with you. When it comes to birthdays, anniversaries and other major milestones, consider your most engaged audience and how they may want to share in the moment. Bonus points if it’s Saved by the Bell-themed.