Communication Strategy for Artists

Communication Strategy for Artists


Communication is the means by which firms attempt to inform, persuade and remind customers – directly or indirectly – about the brands they market. In a sense, marketing communications represent the ‘voice’ of the artist and are the ways in which it can establish a dialogue and build relationships with customers. Marketing communications allow companies to link their brands to other people, places, events, brands, experiences, feelings and things. They can contribute to brand equity – by establishing the brand in long-term memory and creating a brand image – as well as drive sales and affect shareholder value. Communication is part the marketing pillar in our five pillar philosophy.

Developing effective communications consists of four phases: determining the communication objectives, identifying the target audience, designing the message and selecting the communication channels. These four phases are formed around the macro-model of marketing communications, which is shown below.


Phase 1: Determining the communication objectives

The process must start with a clear communication objective in mind. Marketers can set communication objectives at any level of the hierarchy-of-effects model. The four possible goals are category need, brand awareness, brand attitude and brand purchase intention.

Category need

This objective establishes the brand as necessary to remove or satisfy a perceived discrepancy between a current motivational state and the desired state.

Brand attitude

Evaluates the brand on its perceived ability to meet a currently relevant need, in a positively or negatively oriented way.

Brand purchase intention

Creates a self-instruction to buy the brand or to take a purchase related action.

Brand awareness

Identifies the brand within the category in sufficient detail to make a purchase.

Phase 2: Identifying the target audience

The second step in the process is identifying the target audience. Seven types of audiences are identified: potential buyers of the company’s market offerings, current users, deciders or influencers; individuals, groups, particular publics or the general public. The target audience is a critical influence on the communicator’s decisions about what to say, how, when, where, and to whom. The target audiences can be categorized by influencers, early adopter, early majority, late majority, and laggards.

Phase 3: Designing the message

Formulating the communications to achieve the desired response will require solving three problems: what to say (message strategy), how to say it (creative strategy), and who should say it (message source).

Message strategy

In determining message strategy, management searches for appeals, themes or ideas that will tie into the brand positioning and help to establish points-of-parity or points-of-difference. Buyers expect one of four types of reward from a market offering: rational, sensory, social, or ego satisfaction. Buyers might visualize these rewards from results-of-use experience, product-in-use experience or incidental-to-use experience. Crossing the four types of rewards with the three types of experience generates 12 types of messages.

Creative strategy

Communication effectiveness depends on how a message is being expressed, as well as on the content of the message itself. Creative strategies are the way marketers translate their messages into a specific communication. The two ways to do so are the informational appeal and the transformational appeal. An informational appeal elaborates on market offering quality and payment attributes or benefits. A transformational appeal develops on a non-market offering related interest or image. In the case of artists in the music industry only transformational appeals are used.

When deciding to use a transformation appeal one must pay attention to the discrepancy of messages. Discrepant messages can attract a lot of attention but may harm the brand image in doing so. One must consider the trade-off between the impact of the communication, and the effect on brand image.

Message source

A message can be initiated by the company, by a known or an unknown person. The source of the message, also known as the individual or thing that starts the communication, has an effect on the attention and recall of the receiver. Key in this is the spokesperson’s credibility, which has expertise, trustworthiness, and likeability as the main underlying factors. Expertise is the specialized knowledge the communicator possesses to back the claim. Trushworthiness is related to how objective and honest the source is perceived to be. Likeability describes the source’s attractiveness.

Phase 4: Selecting the communication channels

The communication channels used by an artist can be divided into two types: external channels and internal channels. External channels are the channels that are not controlled by the artist; it can include public relations and external forms of digital media. Internal channels are the ones controlled by the artist, he or she can build a fan base on. These channels are mostly referred to as social media. In general, there are seven types of external communication platforms, of which five apply to artists in the music industry: advertising, events & experiences, public relations, direct marketing, and word-of-mouth marketing.

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