Appealing To Kids And Adults: Marketing Lessons From Boy Bands

One-DirectionWhen you take a look at the music scene today, you can’t help but notice the preeminence of boy bands. Groups like One Direction and The Wanted are making their mark on the music scene, and not just with teen girls. No, boy bands have successfully harnessed a range of marketing tools that have helped them appeal to tweens, teens, and adults. Boy bands can offer up these simple advertising rules to marketers, because when it comes to doing marketing right, there is no age limit.

Be Client Centered

One of the things that boy bands do best is being cool while acting cute. This trick of the trade works to make listeners – particularly young girls – comfortable, allowing them to form a connection without being intimidated. This is a way of putting the customer at the center of everything. Boy bands don’t need to pour energy into impressing their listeners when they can draw them in by playing up the charm and friendliness. The takeaway for marketers: focusing on caring for your clients, rather than impressing them. Client centered work allows businesses to build a strong, loyal base that returns to them repeatedly for great customer service.

Embrace Social Media

Boy bands today are all over social media. Whether it’s Facebook updates, Twitter posts, or a bevy of Instagram pictures, fans always know what their favorite bands are up to. Even if the posts are mundane, embracing social media helps customers build a personalized relationship with a band or company. A picture of Harry Styles’s breakfast may seem silly, but fans appreciate this approach. Businesses would do well to embrace multiple new media platforms: Instagram pictures of new products that come in, tweet about that funny thing your coworker said, or build a Facebook fan page where clients can keep up with you. The current landscape demands an engagement with social media, something any boy band can tell you.

Diversify Your Brand

Diversifying is a step that many companies have trouble with, but that boy bands have a definite hold on. When we say diversify, we don’t mean throw everything against the wall and see what sticks. Rather, a diversified brand should offer variants on a similar theme. Boy bands are experts at this: one is the athlete, one is the academic type, another is the flirty heartthrob – but all of them still fit a consistent image. One Direction doesn’t look as though a bunch of random boys were thrown together, but rather they all offer different personality types within the same innocent brand of cute. This is what marketers should aim to do. Find ways to expand what you’re good at within that theme; going too far from your image isn’t diversifying your brand, but rather changing focus. Stay focused, but understand the subtlety of variation.

Reinvent the Classics

There are some things that never get old, and it seems like boy bands just might be one of them. After all, New Kids on the Block is touring again, and there seems to be endless joy in finding new variants on old favorites like the Backstreet Boys and N’Sync. Marketers should always keep in mind those old trends and think about what promise they hold in a modern market. Customers love a little nostalgia, and reinventing the classics allows for just that.

What other trends do you see coming around again? How do we keep nostalgia from becoming just out of date?

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Bird

Bird Pilatsky is a PhD student in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Emory University. A graduate of Smith College, with a B.A. in English and the Study of Women and Gender. She works as an archivist and research assistant with particular interests in LGBT issues, disability studies, and literature. Bird also works as a summer camp counselor. She has worked as an art & layout editor, runs an active blog, and enjoys reading, running, and rollerskating.

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