Pesky artists messing up their brands

Artists are encouraged to tweet and post on their own, rather than having someone do it for them, Snowden said. “We have to be careful that everything stays in their voice,” he said. This presents challenges because recording artists are “imperfect marketers” and don’t always understand the impact their posts will have.

Marketing an artist as a brand is also different than marketing a product, Snowden said. “Our brands are people. They get upset, they get angry, they feel neglected. It’s different than, you know–Dr. Pepper is not a person.”

The emphasis on personal marketing also means matching social media campaigns to the style of the artist, so they publish what comes naturally to them, Snowden said. When his team first sat down to coach Rob Thomas, lead singer for Matchbox 20, he initially rejected all their selections. But once they found out that he did a lot of texting to friends and family, they were able to sell him on Twitter as being like “texting to all your fans.” Initially skeptical, Thomas wound up tweeting 70 times the first day and building a huge following (more than 250,000 followers as of today).

Sutter said one of her challenges is that artists won’t necessarily cooperate in including the tracking code she would like to see in every post. However, Snowden’s team has been clever about getting artists like Bruno Mars to use smartphone apps that include that code automatically. “Bruno doesn’t know it’s there, but I do,” she said.

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