What Advertisers Can Learn From Bands

Seven days into SXSW and I can’t see straight (I promise it has absolutely nothing to do with the abundance of free alcohol). I am exhausted. So tired that during the concert this evening, instead of having the wherewithal to focus on the show in front of me, all I could think about was how the show related to work in some way. I think musicians can teach us tons about what we do every day. Here are just a few:

1. Bad stage presence can kill a show.

Just like a mopey singer staring at his shoes or unbearably awkward guitarist can take away from the viewing experience of a show, not being on your A-game in a presentation can, as we say in the comedy business, kill the room. Enthusiasm is important, but not too much because it gets easy for it to feel fake or desperate. Believe in what you’re doing, and beyond that, believe that the person you’re presenting to will do the same.

2. New stuff is great, but don’t forget the classics.

Everyone loves being the first to hear a new track from a new album, but everyone also gets huffy when more than half of a show is made up of new material. While on the other end, if you’re a band who has been touring on the same album for over a year, people start getting restless for new material. Advertising is the same way – everyone always wants to see the new stuff (digital, experiential, etc.), but they also want to know you can still play the songs they’ve always loved (TV, print). It’s all about knowing your audience and finding the balance.

3. Make it worth the wait.

The longer people have to wait to see you, the better your show should be, because once the investment is higher, so are the expectations. So make sure if there are lines, or a big lead time before your set starts that you’re prepared for that. In advertising, that means if you’re running a teaser campaign, make the reveal worth the teasers. If you’ve got a really awesome web thing (first, optimize, obviously), but second, make it cool enough that people don’t mind a bit of load time.

Alright. Two more days before SXSW2012 calls it quits. Let’s do this thing.

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