Graphic courtesy of Zully
I have been a fan, to any degree, of only one celebrity – David Archuleta ( except maybe for one Vincent Van Gogh – but that’s another story). Most of my interest in people from the performing arts can be described as ‘occasional’ at best and certainly never to the extent that I have been engaged in with David. Therefore the commitment that I have invested, both mind and spirit, in following David’s career since his idol days is both astonishing as well as gratifying. I find myself heart-deep in most of David’s daily existence – musically speaking and I have experienced first-hand the passion and ardor that fans feel for him. It’s a connection at the deepest level for many of us.
Little wonder than that fans have so much to say about the direction his career ought to head to. We worry and fret like mother hens going back and forth in our debates on the whys and wherefores of David’s career path. Stratospheric success seem to be always just round the corner but still frustratingly and bafflingly out of reach. So what would we do if we were given the chance to manage his career choices?
Imagine you are part of the Artists & Repertoire (A&R) management team assigned the task of marketing and promoting the commercial and artistic development of David Archuleta to the masses of music consumers. Where would you start? How would you go about devising a ‘marketing plan’ for David? Who would be your target audiences? What would be your ‘corporate vision’ ? What sort of image would you attach to the ‘product’ David Archuleta and how would you ‘package’ him?
Is it even appropriate to think of David as a product because technically in A&R parlance he is a ‘talent’. It is perhaps a less demeaning term but the connotation of a crass commercial commodity is inescapable. And like all such commodities he’s to be ‘packaged’, ‘marketed’, promoted’ and ‘consumed’. By thinking of David purely as a product we can begin to apply some of the principles that govern the marketing of such. We may cringe at the idea of David being reduced to a mere product but if you look at it from a business perspective ( and record labels are in the business of making money and not, as some may believe, on some noble, art-farty quest to encourage creativity) he is an asset with commercial value that needs an effective marketing vision to succeed to his fullest potential.
One of the foremost component of modern marketing is ‘Brand Loyalty’. A strong brand engenders intense emotional connections with it’s customers. The recognition factor is high and the ties that binds both brand and consumers together are, though nebulous and intangible, supremely faithful and positive. So how do we brand David?
According to the marketing gurus there are basically 6 ways to build a brand. Namely:
1) Make sure your brand has high exposure and visibility which incorporates new channels of distribution and easy purchase options.
2) Create a clear, decisive message about your brand that reaches your target audiences.
3) This means you must be clear about who your audience is as knowledge can be transformed into familiarity with your brand.
4) Understanding your target audience and their idiosyncrasies means more efficient advertising and promotion efforts.
5) Position your brand through differentiation in terms of pricing, packaging, offers, design and any other strategies that enable your brand to stand apart form the others and finally
6) Extend the reach of your brand through association with other products and services thus riding on their coattails to success.
David’s new single ‘Something Bout Love’ seems to be no where near the success of ‘Crush’ seeing that it debuted with only 21,000 downloads compared to over 180,000 for ‘Crush’. Based on the 6 principles above, how effective has Jive been in promoting the song and marketing David as an artist?
Can we, his fans, do any better?