This week I thought I would put my money where my mouth is and write about something I have developed with Martyn Davies of Six Two Productions. Anyone reading this column knows that an ongoing bugbear of mine has been an obsession marketeers have with gimmickry and the fact that often marketing campaigns seem to be more about jumping on the latest bandwagon (Pinterest, anyone?) than creating something that genuinely deepens the connection between artist and fan.
I realise this is leaving me open to accusations of abuse of position, in the sense that I’m using With Teeth to write about my own product effectively, but the point here is not self-aggrandisement as much as demonstrating something I think *does* create a stronger connection between artist and fan without descending into gimmickry for the sake of it.
So, let me present The Tour Scrapbook.
The elevator pitch goes something like this: on a band’s tour, every gig is given a unique hashtag. Then, when fans create media all they need to do is tweet that media with the hashtag in question, and the content will be added into the virtual scrapbook for that specific gig. Fans can then visit the scrapbook page on the artist’s website and view all the media posted from their gig – and all other gigs on the tour.
So, the fan experience is as follows:
1. Fan lands on website scrapbook page – in this case for The Jezabels:
2. Fan then clicks on any city where they are then given the info page for that gig; when, where, date and crucially the hashtag to use:
3. Once the gig has happened, fans can then click on the Twitter icon to see all tweets from the night:
4. In addition though, if they click the “photo & video” icon, they can then browse a rich-media feed where all content is embedded and viewable:
As you can see, Twitpics, Flickr sets, YouTube videos and innumerable other media sources all translate to rich media embeds, meaning people can view the pictures without needing to click on links. You can also click-and-drag the map to view any country, though the map itself will focus on wherever the tour currently is in the world.
To me, this concept had various key benefits. Firstly, it brings focus to something already happening at gigs – i.e. fans taking photos, videos and even audio recordings on their phones – and brings that onto the artist’s website. Secondly, it created an ongoing point of engagement for fans to enjoy the tour. If they were at the gig, they’d be looking at that date to enjoy what everyone posted. If they weren’t at the gig, they’d be looking to see what they missed.
Connecting the live experience with an artist’s online activity has always been tough, often focussing on mobile initiatives like SMS offers or Bluetooth downloads, so I certainly believe that this provides an extra way to make that link. I won’t deny though, that it also requires the band and their crew to be 100% into it in order for it to work. This is a product for bands and requires marketing as such: promote it on the tour and you’ll see good engagement. Fail to mention it and it will die a death as people won’t know about it to contribute.
In the case of The Jezabels, they have been fantastic. Posters have been made up that left a blank space for them to write in each night’s hashtag. These are then put up by the bar, the merch stand and even the toilets – anyplace where people are not focussing on the performance. They also tweet each night’s hashtag. They’re even taking part, posting up their own snaps too.
Right now the band are only at the beginning of what will be a fairly lengthy world tour. Hence this is something I hope will continue to deliver value over quite some time (6+ months, in their case – though it could be longer for other artists). It can also be re-used as new tours happen.
Check out the live version here. Comments welcome below. Expect to see the Tour Scrapbook on other artists websites soon.