The Crunch: Live music events are, by nature, engaging experiences that offer brands a platform for personal interaction with their target audiences. But many brands lack the knowledge and resources to successfully market themselves in the music space. Live Nation, an American entertainment company that manages top artists, venues, and festivals across the globe, brings its industry knowledge and assets to brand partnerships to create customized event experiences that engage their audiences. From pre-event digital media buildup to post-event data and feedback, Live Nation’s Media and Sponsorship Team helps brands authentically connect with consumers through live entertainment.
Music has come to play an essential role in the everyday lives of millennials and Generation X, a trend that’s fueled the momentum of concerts and weeklong multi-artist music festivals.
The prominence of music entertainment makes it a key channel through which retail brands can reach their audiences, but conventional marketing methods no longer reflect the seamless integration consumers and artists now expect. Today’s consumers are moving beyond transactional relationships with brands and want fun experiences and personal engagement through channels that match their interests.
“When I first started in the industry, most brands didn’t focus so much on the experience,” said Maureen Ford, President of National Sales for Live Nation, the world’s largest live entertainment company. “They might attach themselves to the actual venue — put up a banner on site and maybe have a booth or do some sampling — but there really wasn’t any synergy between the artist and themselves.”
To connect with consumers through events, brands must first connect with them as fans.To accomplish that, brands need help to develop the right approach, especially when their image doesn’t resonate with their target audience’s preferred social medium.
For German liqueur brand Jagermeister, there was a disconnect between the brand’s association with hard rock metal and the musical tastes of the millennial demographic the iconic herbal liqueur wanted to reach. Jagermeister approached the Live Nation Media and Sponsorship Team for guidance on how to introduce their brand to a new generation. Based on their knowledge and research into millennial trends, Live Nation suggested creating an experience for EDM festivals, dance music events where 77% of the fans are in the 18- to-34-year-old demographic.
After familiarizing itself with the brand, Live Nation helped Jagermeister create Haus 56. The interactive treehouse showcased the brand’s history, using cocktails and crafts to educate music fans about the liqueur’s 56 botanical ingredients, and engaging them with woodland creature guides, face painting, and photo booths. Across the course of six festivals, 64,000 target fans interacted with Jagermeister’s brand, spending a total of 3,000 hours in Haus 56.
“We didn’t make it just a Jagermeister brand experience,” Maureen pointed out. “We had the insight of what’s important to fans at that type of event, so we merged that research, and the two came together — the brand and the fans. It took what’s important to those fans and integrated it into Jager’s brand essence to add meaning to that consumer.”
As media and entertainment continue to shape how consumers interact with products and services, Live Nation shows companies like Jagermeister how to link their brands to audience experiences to create meaningful, lasting connections.
A Live Events Company with Access, Scale, and Industry Knowledge
Beyond its skill to integrate current trends into event marketing, Live Nation’s insider status and large-scale operations provide brands with the resources to effectively reach their target audiences.
Live Nation Entertainment assets include 150 amphitheaters and popular venues, Ticketmaster ticketing services, and numerous websites and digital media channels. It also manages over 350 individual artists and organizes 26,000 events every year, including more than 90 of the most popular concerts and music festivals in 40 countries around the globe.
“We have many brand programs that artists ask to be part of, which is something that never happened 30 years ago,” Maureen said.“Today, artist’s recognize the benefits of working with a brand and see the potential to create a great fan benefit, deepening their connection. Many also see these kinds of partnerships as a way to maximize their digital marketing exposure.”
As a result of those artist relationships, Live Nation can offer brands unparalleled access to fans and followers, a connection that comes into play when brands approach its Media and Sponsorship division for marketing solutions.
Live Nation’s connections to high-profile artists Metallica, Beck, Sting, and the Chainsmokers enabled Citibank to put together a customer-exclusive Sound Vault event that resonated with the audience and made waves across social media.
Rooted in the entertainment industry since the 1990s, Live Nation knows both music trends and fans well and has gathered a wealth of market data.
“We have a lot of great millennial research, so we’re able to provide brands insight into the audience and what the fans are looking for,” Maureen said.
Creating Customized Experiences to Meet a Brand’s Marketing Goals
Live Nation’s Media and Sponsorship division includes a marketing solutions team — the creative experts — and sales staff who work together with brands to develop a campaign that accomplishes their goals with a fan-first approach.
“We want to make sure what we’re creating for this brand feels authentic,” Maureen said. “We look for team members that understand the music business, first and foremost, and what that means to the music fans.”
The brands that come to Live Nation include both those affiliated with the music space and brands looking to inaugurate a music strategy. With experienced brands, the team dives right into the specific programs it has to offer, but, with newcomers, it first lays the groundwork. “We shine in those situations where we’re able to work with them from the beginning and educate them, then brainstorm what makes sense in that space,” Maureen said.
In the past, many brands approached Live Nation armed with an agenda for its events, but, sensing the shift in consumer trends, they’re now coming to Live Nation with questions. “I’ve never had more brands ask us before we’ve even had a conversation, ‘What permits us to be in this space? We really want to work on that’.”
Before Live Nation advises brands, it learns more about them to cater solutions to their company culture and marketing goals. “We spend a lot of time in immersion, understanding the brand ethos — their communication, their relationships, their fan bases, and where they’re trying to go with their messaging,” she said.
When Live Nation worked with Jagermeister on Haus 56, it sent a whole team to Germany to learn more about the brand and how it was engendered. “They were so immersed in the brand that we were able to take that brand essence and make it come to life in a way it never had before,” Maureen said.
Brands that approach Live Nation don’t just have different cultures and agendas, but vary in sizes and budgets. Live Nation has the expertise and resources to create custom integrations that meet small and large brands at every stage of growth, even if takes a little time and creativity to find the right solution.
Leveraging Digital Media to Maximize Engagement Before, During, and After an Event
For many millennials, building and sharing anticipation to an upcoming music festival is just as integral to the experience as the festival itself. And good experiences are far from over when fans pack up and go home. Instead, fan experience has a long afterlife as the event is relived through vibrant photos, videos, and social media.
Knowing the importance of all these phases to building out an experience and sustaining a brand’s audience, Live Nation has the technology to market and collect data before, during, and after a customized event. “Because we’re right in the center of the experience, we have more insights and more control over the actual touchpoints the brand has onsite,” Maureen noted.
Branded content on Live Nation’s websites and mobile app build anticipation for an event, and help draw and engage audiences, while special promotions and sweepstakes fuel excitement and a sense of exclusivity. In the buildup to Jagermeister’s Haus 56, Live Nation helped the company run travel and VIP-pass sweepstakes that elicited 67,000 entries.
At the events themselves, Live Nation has the on-site technology for resilient guest wifi, thanks to their partnership with technology giant, Cisco, over 30 venues are equipped with “Fan-Fi.” The wifi enables fans to stay connected and post photos and video to their social media, even though they are surrounded by thousands of other fans doing the same thing.
The wifi also enables Live Nation to glean more insights and enhance the communication between the brand and the fan. For example, sending push notifications about sponsored activities. And, although RFID bracelets are typically used for admission security, Live Nation broadens their use to convenient features and analytics.
“With Citibank, we did cashless payment for fans who registered their bracelets,” Maureen said. “We can collect data about fans who used them, and that gives us research that can be used post-event. We can even use the bracelets to track how long they’ve been in an activation. So, we took something very utilitarian, and we’re innovating what else it can do — what other conversations can the fan have because they’re integrated into that.”
With a download rate of nearly 80% at events, the Live Nation app is another tool used to create a suite of brand integrations for fans while they’re on-site, whether that’s a place to engage socially, record their journey, listen to music, or order brand merchandise. Live Nation allows brands to then leverage data about in-app activity and purchases at the event so they can continue those customer conversations when they’re off-site.
Post-event, Live Nation keeps engagement going through digital media, allowing fans to re-live the experience through social channels and live streaming while gathering data and feedback. After Citibank’s Sound Vault event, analysis revealed the extent of its digital reach thanks to Live Nation: The financial company tracked a 75% increase in Twitter engagement, a 540% increase on Facebook, and a 184% improvement on Instagram.
“We build out those assets so brands can have an always-on platform in the music space instead of just one promotion or one festival. The fantastic platforms we’re working with really understand that journey,” Maureen said.
Pushing for Deep Consumer Insights and Music Marketing Education
While Live Nation is deeply embedded in the music industry, the sponsorship division continues to seek ways to more efficiently gather insight on consumers and fans to improve its data and brand partnerships. More in-depth market research and the fan perspective have become key focus areas for the company over the last few years, and it has recently started experimenting with live measurement testing at some locations.
“Everything we do in this space leads us to something else we hadn’t thought of,” Maureen said. “We’re able to test and learn how things work and why we integrate the brand in it.”
By analyzing feedback, Live Nation continues to gain a deeper understanding of what music fans look for at events.
That provides brands with new insights on how to best integrate into live music experiences — such as addressing fans’ practical needs during multi-day events — in ways that are authentic and well-received. “Any of those things on-site that provides a service music fans might not otherwise have are really appreciated, and we get incredible feedback from that,” Maureen said.
Live Nation helped Jagermeister create a unique interactive space that reached a new demographic and secured first-rate talent so Citibank could host a member-exclusive music event — seamless marketing strategies that produced viral effects.
As brands look to music and live entertainment as platforms for reaching consumers, Live Nation has the knowledge, resources, and personalized approach to help them succeed.