Freedom and respect cement girl-band bond

Marketing to youth has got to be the most fun you can have in this business with your clothes on. As well as being the only sector that demands unorthodox, off-the-wall ideas, youth marketing requires a deep understanding of what makes tweens and teens tick. To that end, Strategy gave four (real) plugged-in youth marketing consultants fantasy briefs and asked them to strut their stuff; following is the proposed strategy for a new girl-band.

Marketing to youth has got to be the most fun you can have in this business with your clothes on. As well as being the only sector that demands unorthodox, off-the-wall ideas, youth marketing requires a deep understanding of what makes tweens and teens tick. To that end, Strategy gave four (real) plugged-in youth marketing consultants fantasy briefs and asked them to strut their stuff; following is the proposed strategy for a new girl-band.

The brief

To: Pascale LeBlanc, founder, Youthopia Communications

From: Amy Harmony,

CEO, The Harmony Group

Hi Pascale,

It’s taken a lot of work, but the girls are just about ready to hit the road. As we discussed, I don’t have piles of cash to spend on this, but I’m sure there’s room for a girl band as cool as this one in Canada if we’re really shrewd at the grassroots level. I think we need a bit of a backstory or positioning first, and then any tips you can give us on stirring up buzz would be great.

The strategy

The first step is to develop a name, attitude and philosophy for the band that will underpin all of the marketing communications.

I would suggest a set of strong themes revolving around positive self-image, self-reliance and spirituality. This will form the platform for a pop music band consisting of three Toronto-based young women between the ages of 15 and 18 called Syrinx Magick (after the ancient Greek goddess of the arts).

Syrinx Magick girls believe in and stand for freedom, positive self-expression and happiness. They have the ability to relate to and communicate tweens’ desires and concerns in a language that even adults will understand.

In the battle for market share, street tactics will be used to reinforce and complement print, radio and Internet advertising. Combining one-on-one contact with multimedia efforts, interactive strategies and industry partnerships will develop recognition for the Syrinx Magick culture.

A one-month online teaser campaign will introduce the Syrinx Magick brand name to the Toronto media and target audiences in the June to July timeframe. This campaign will initially establish the brand image via a Web site featuring chats, an ‘e-mail a friend’ feature, and an opportunity to buy merchandise such as Syrinx Magick jewelry and personal journals online. An e-newsletter will include features on the group, their music, videos, gig dates and general music industry information.

The Web site will also feature a downloadable mp3 file of the first single to help create a buzz through instant messaging. Asking fans to register before downloading would help to create a solid mailing list. We would also offer free Syrinx Magick e-mail accounts. All e-mail sent through this server will include an active link to the band’s site.

The best moments of the live summer shows will be downloaded to the site on a weekly basis to increase Web traffic while drawing audiences to live performances. Complementing the Web site will be a mini-CD which will be distributed by a team of cute, young males called the Syrinx Magick Street Team. The CDs will be a key promotional vehicle, featuring the first single along with video segments, bios, tour dates, contest info, Web links, skins and a screensaver.

The focus of the street campaign will be a white, articulated promotional vehicle (a real vehicle!) that doubles as a stage for live, outdoor performances. Called the Syrinx Magick Bus, it will feature the band’s logo, a musical muse symbol. Prior to each show, wild postings and local radio promotions will help create excitement and generate media interest.

The band will give free, live performances in July and August across Ontario and the rest of Canada using the top of their bus as a stage at city events, schoolyards and youth hangouts.

Tween girls will be invited to make the bus theirs: A partnership with Polaroid’s I-Zone camera will allow girls to have their pictures taken with the band, and the snaps will be plastered all over the bus.

Additional promotional tactics will introduce a contest to engage the young audience and connect them with the band. The Tour with Syrinx Magick contest will reinforce the tone of the campaign by working with local radio to publicize both concerts and contest. Radio stations will let fans know that they can enter through the Web or by filling out ballots at a live concert. The prize will be the chance to live like a pop star on a three-day tour with the band.

Targeted sponsorship and partnership opportunities will encourage media stunts that generate consumer awareness. Traditional photo opps, visits to local and national radio stations and music store appearances will be employed.

Long-term relationships with partners will be key to maintaining momentum during the fall and winter season. The band and its street team will move indoors to maintain and increase brand product awareness in key venues such as music and clothing retailers, cinemas, cafés and malls.

To sustain awareness and growth, Syrinx Magick will need to maintain contact with its audience by surprising fans with little treats when they least expect them. Accessibility will be vital, so that both core and new fans can continue to interact with band members, especially via e-mail and live Internet chat. The band will reply to all e-mails.

Together, these elements formulate an action plan that respects the brand strategy by keeping tween girls continually informed and entertained. This focus on young women interacting with each other and the Syrinx Magick band culture is central to generating a bonded sense of ownership among fans. This bond ensures a consistent brand definition with the target audience, and will positively influence music purchasing decisions.

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Pascale LeBlanc is the founder of Youthopia Communications, a Toronto-based marketing strategy firm providing creative energy for youth brands. For a live performance, contact Youthopia at info@youthopia.com or call (416) 545-0367.