Even if you’re not a music fan, odds are you know who Taylor Swift and Drake are. These icons are everywhere we turn — we hear their music in the grocery store, see their faces on our screens, and know people in our lives who are diehard fans. Do you think this level of ubiquity is the result of a few catchy tunes and some dumb luck? If so, you couldn’t be more mistaken.
Their popularity comes from powerful celebrity marketing as much as it does anything else. Your business can leverage some of the same pop star techniques to build celebrity-level fan bases in your area.
Before you can do that, though, you need to dig deep and understand the ways celebrities use their notoriety to build excitement and drive more listeners to their music. We may not all have teams of experts and an unlimited budget to spread our celebrity far and wide, but we can all benefit from the tactics used by some of the savviest marketing teams in the world. Here are just a couple of the ways that the world’s most popular figures use their reach and fame to grow ever bigger.
Drake and Understanding the System
This year, Drake’s new album, “Scorpion,” shot to the top of the charts immediately, shattering records along the way. It was his eighth album to go No. 1, a nearly unprecedented level of longevity and dominance. Much of Drake’s unstoppable dominance is due to the fact that he understands the nature of the streaming economy better than most.
With the advent of Spotify and Apple Music, the music industry had to devise a new way to calculate album sales. Starting in 2014, 1,500 streams of a single song counted as an album sale. Because of this, canny artists realized it was beneficial to fill their albums with as many songs as possible to goose their numbers. Drake, whose last two albums have both been extremely long, is the master of this craft.
Many music industry pundits have remarked that the new system is hurting creativity and encouraging artists to stuff their albums to the brim with little regard for quality control. But the fact of the matter is that Drake and other artists aren’t doing anything a smart marketer wouldn’t. They understand how the system works, and rather than wasting time railing against it, they are using it to their advantage.
You should think the same way. When you learn that engagement with digital marketing is limited, add a print newsletter to your arsenal. If there’s a powerful tastemaker in your area, consider striking up a partnership with them. It may not result in Drake-and-Spotify levels of penetration, but it will surely make you a celebrity in your neck of the woods.
Taylor Swift and Building Hype
The buildup to Taylor Swift’s most recent album, “Reputation,” was a great lesson is creating anticipation. Instead of simply announcing a release date, Swift and her team created a multistep plan calculated to generate maximum excitement.
“Reputation” hit shelves on Nov. 10 of 2017, but the marketing campaign began months before. The first salvo was the rerelease of Swift’s back catalog to streaming services. The idea was that by getting people listening to Taylor’s old music, they’d be even more excited about new releases. From there, Taylor cautiously and cryptically hinted at the forthcoming new album, creating a breadcrumb trail that brought her fans to a fever pitch.
In addition to these widespread marketing efforts, Swift and her team dropped exclusive pieces of content for her biggest and most dedicated fans. One of these even gave megafans first crack at coveted concert tickets. No, the fans didn’t get a discount, but simply giving them an early shot at tickets was enough to make them feel special. If only we could all be so lucky.
Selectively doling out information is a great way to build anticipation without revealing too much. After all, nobody is going to come watch you speak if they can get a transcript of your talk before the event happens. If you have an event, even if it’s not a marquee album release, it’s a good idea to follow the Swiftian model of building and sustaining hype.
How to Be a Celebrity
Look, your business is not going to be as popular as Drake, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a page from his marketing handbook. Celebrities are some of the best brand builders around, as their overwhelming popularity can attest. It’s only smart to look to them for a model on how to do it for your own business.
To discover a simple way to develop celebrity and build your brand, request your complimentary copy of our book, “The Ultimate Guide to Newsletters”.