Connecting with Fans and Customers by Offering A Little More

Last Friday, I learned about about a Brooklyn band, Riot !n Paris, that is creating personalized songs about people’s social media profiles. Hand in hand with thinking about relevant precursors to Riot !n Paris’ project, two of which I’ve highlighted below, I thought about Mike Masnick of Techdirt’s  sustained (and per usual, logical) battle-cry of how musicians can make it financially by re-prioritizing their relationships with their fans. Mike’s formula is ridiculously simple and applies across any sales, marketing or other transactional relationship.

  • Connect with Fans (CwF) + Reason to Buy (RtB) = The Business Model

With ever-shrinking attention spans, now more than ever, brands need to connect with their customers in ways that endear rather than annoy as escaping marketing efforts is just a click, swipe or glance away as plenty of other distractions will gladly fill the place of unwanted communications.

While creating a uniquely customized product or service isn’t fully possible on the grand scale, creating that connection with customers, whether through personalization, great customer service, incorporating customer feedback into new products or services, or something else, is an essential element to getting customers to think in terms of value, rather than price and convenience alone. The Reason to Buy unaccompanied isn’t enough to move the relationship past one of a transactional nature. The connection is key.

As for Riot !n Paris’ experiment, it’s a creative, if not wholly original one that generates buzz and establishes a deeper connection with their fans.

On the topic of personalized music, my favorite example is that of Merton, the improv piano man of Chatroulette fame. If you’ve yet to see the Ben Folds-esque Merton in action, do yourself a favor and watch the video below. Essentially, the hooded mysterious musician came up with on-the-fly lyrics and songs based on his interactions with users via that mixed bag of strange interactions with strangers that was/(is?) Chatroulette.

Interestingly, Merton went on to partner with T-Mobile to welcome travelers home to Gatwick airport. On another brand-related note, Riot‘s customized songs also make me think of what Microsoft’s Windows Phone team (a Waggener Edstrom client) did at SxSW last year when they had a rapper incorporate live tweets into a song. Here’s the video for that one as well. Far from Merton-level brilliance but an interesting experiment nonetheless.

I’ll be eager to see how brands continue to tackle the opportunity to connect with Generation Y…errr… I mean Generation C and beyond.

(Hat tip to Joffrey Choukroun from WE’s Paris Office for pointing me to the Riot !n Paris project. Image: Sticker Giant)

About mattwhiting

Seattle-based social media and digital communications consultant for Waggener Edstrom Worldwide. Also types words about music for SEA live MUSIC.
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