I'm back from two days at Rock Werchter, one of Europe's biggest summer festivals. I came back with more than a sore back, blistered feet and the feeling that a russian second world war tank has just driven over my body. I also came back with two of the most valuable lessons about why women buy into brands.
Lesson number one "BE REAL" came in the form of The Gossip - a US band lead by front singer Beth Ditto.
Beth, unapologetic, in-your-face and rauncheously female, played a rocking set to a crowd of thousands of women who clearly loved every single voluptuous inch of her. There were no diva allures about Beth. She jumped down to talk to the crowd in the middle of the set; climbed (rather ungraciously) back onto the podium, sang from the bottom of her heart, played on a fan's trumpet, gave it back to him and thanked him!
What did Beth give her fans that we as marketeers can learn from?
- What you see is what you get. No bullsh*t, no false promises, no promises she doesn't deliver on. Au contraire...she exceeded our expectations by delivering what we expected and more, and being respectful to her audience.
Lesson number two "SURPRISE US AND SHOW US YOU CARE" was delivered by Dutch Diva Anouk.
Anouk took a crowd of almost eighty thousand people by complete surprise when, in the middle of one of her biggest hits, her little 4 year old boy (wearing ear-mufflers and sporting a red plastic guitar) appeared shyly on the side of the stage. And what did she do? She stopped singing, and told her band to stop playing. She then walked over to her son, bent over and asked him if he wanted to play a song with her. Holding the mike to his guitar, she accompanied him, in the smallest, most fragile mother's voice, as he strummed halting, incoherent notes on his plastic red guitar. After almost 3 minutes of this (and a crowd going absolutely wild) she resumed her song. I don't think there was one single person in that whole crowd who minded that interruption one single bit. And it didn't end there. Throughout her performance, her three sons kept running across the stage, huddled in ear-muffs and warm fleece jackers. Every now and again, she stooped to pick up one of them, planted a quick kiss and resumed her set.
What a woman...Clearly she wanted her children with her while she was away from home. What she gave us though, without realizing, were 3 reasons to like her even more.
To Beth, and Anouk I dedicate this post. And thank them: for being real, for being so likably human, for wanting to connect, when they could have settled for giving a just another performance.
And in this lies the lesson all marketeers should heed: marketing is long past the point of being a song-and-a-dance performance. Heed your consumer...they want more. Actually, they want all of you. And that is where the future of successful marketing lies: forming real connections, respecting your consumer, being real and giving back. That is what consumers really buy in to.