Consider a pair of socks. Let’s say it’s a highly popular brand of socks. It sells well, it’s marketed well, and not a lot changes from year to year. Maybe an upgrade in packaging; maybe improvements to functionality or comfort; new colours and styles; perhaps a branding revamp once in a while if demand tapers in favour of a competitor. But in the marketable lifecycle of a pair of socks, it’s a mostly predictable, non-volatile and sedate process. Why?
A pair of socks can’t send offensive tweets
A pair of socks won’t go out of fashion overnight. A pair of socks won’t get photographed kayaking naked with Katy Perry. A pair of socks won’t have a nervous breakdown in front of thousands of shell-shocked fans. The paparazzi, the media, social media; none of them care about socks. As a result, marketing such a normal, well-behaved and inoffensive product is, in the grand scheme of things, a breeze. Manufacturers, distributors, retailers and advertising agencies can all relax knowing they will never wake to find their socks embroiled in a viral sex scandal or the victim of some sudden new trend. Not so your average entertainer.
How to market to a moving target
The entertainment product is a moving target; forever altering its own appeal via actions or inactions or shifting trends and popularity. Entertainment consumers are a moving target; ever fickle, ever evolving according to what’s in or out today and always worried about missing out on what’s hot. That’s the dilemma entertainment marketers face. Musicians, entertainers and celebrities have a habit of rocking their promotional boat and tipping half their fan base over the side. How do we get these people back? How do we continually reach new audiences, new markets and new fans and still remain relevant as the goal posts move yet again?
Entertain us or else
That’s what it comes down to these days. And, to be honest, we in the entertainment industry have been marketing entertainers since marketing was invented. Admittedly we’ve always had interesting products to sell, but we still had to make them stand out; we still had to sell tickets or albums to people on a budget. We’ve had to find new audiences creatively; we’ve had to ensure our campaigns create that FOMO that people look for. We’ve also had to be agile to change tack when things move and shift the way they do.
It’s about innovation and reinvention
So much marketing, be it traditional or digital, is based on what consumers thought last year. You can’t afford to do that now, not in an age of short attention spans and even shorter brand loyalties. Even that meek and mild pair of socks needs to keep its image fresh and find ways to stay relevant.
Capital M for Marketing
And that’s how we work at the M Agency. As entertainment marketers, we’ve become innovators and design thinkers in the ‘what’s happening now.’ We don’t base our strategies on what an entertainment brand represented last year, or even three months ago; chances are with makeovers, shifting trends and meltdowns, it doesn’t even resemble that brand now. So we refresh and revive and enliven according to what we have in front of us and what we see coming. That makes for exciting marketing; fresh, alive and entertaining in itself.
So what can you learn from the marketing of entertainment?
No matter what type of products you market, never lose sight of what your brand represents today. Never stop asking if your market still loves you. Look for ways to evolve to remain relevant and desirable. And never let your brand drift into obscurity.
About Emma Triggs
Emma has created campaigns for some of the world’s biggest entertainment and leisure brands over the last 25 years and is currently Agency Principal at The M Agency.
Emma’s advertising career started in global agencies Ogilvy & Mather, DDB Needham and Young & Rubicam. Emma worked in the Finance and FMCG categories, managing campaigns for brands within the American Express, Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive portfolios.
In 1994 Emma chose to go client-side and to pursue her passion for entertainment. She joined Sony Music Entertainment where she became the Director of Advertising. During her time there, Emma was a key member of the Sony Integration Team where she worked closely with Sony Computer Entertainment for the launch of Playstation, and with Sony Pictures and Sony Consumer Electronics.
Looking at agencies from the client’s view, Emma realised that there was a need for a specialist entertainment marketing and advertising agency. So, in 1999 Emma founded The M Agency (formerly M Advertising), a full-service agency specialising in entertainment, arts and lifestyle. The agency works on over 500 campaigns a year in Australasia and maintains offices in Sydney and Melbourne.