7 things brand managers can learn from buskers
Every Summer our city streets come alive with entertainers and performers of every kind. From the obligatory stationary man, a myriad of musicians to the unicycling escapologists with their acts of daring do! Each one vying for our attention and loose change.
Busking, of course, is a very difficult way to make money that’s why I’ve always admired those who do it. Performers put themselves out there, prepared to live or die (metaphorically) on their ability to entertain.
I work with clients every day to devise ways in which they can build their brands and I see parallels with the approach street performers take to growing their audience.
Like brands, these acts perform in a competitive environment. They define success by the number of paying customers they can convert and people only spend money with them if they receive value in return.
So here’s 7 things I believe brand managers can learn from buskers…
1. Know your audience
Street performers accept that most people will walk past. This is not (necessarily) a reflection on the quality of their act but the fact that it’s just not for everyone.
Their audience is the people who stop. Buskers don’t waste their time chasing those who don’t while offering to perform something else.
2. Get their attention
City streets are busy places. That’s why the best acts do something great or different (or even better both!) while the mediocre go home hungry.
3. Keep their interest
Once engaged a performer’s job is to keep an audience’s interest through to the end of their act. Using emotional stories or performances with humour, intrigue or danger to draw them in.
4. Turn them into advocates
On the street, a cheering crowd always attracts more people.
5. Deliver value
The acts must deliver their value proposition. Meaning audiences must be entertained if they are going to part with their hard-earned cash.
6. Make sure you close the sale
Once the act is over the smart performers ask for payment before the audience disperse.
7. Go where the people are
Competition for the best pitches is fierce. But securing a good spot alone does not guarantee success (see lesson 1.).
Successful street performers like successful brands are both bold and fearless. They know who their audiences are and make it their aim to surprise and delight them. Then do it all over again.