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Knoxville’s Rhythm n’ Blooms 2015 Music Festival is over…and I’m having withdrawals. That is, withdrawals from live music, extremely talented musicians, and the energy of this fun, intimate festival…and I almost didn’t go! On April 10, 2015, my husband and I made the last minute decision to buy our tickets, hop in the car, and race into downtown Knoxville for the first night of this three-day music festival. While we couldn’t see every show, we are still buzzing about — and plotting our next opportunity to watch — some of our new, favorite bands. And, during the festival, one band in particular made a huge impression on us and, with an arsenal of talents, has become our new musical crush — that band is Cereus Bright.
Before going to Rhythm n’ Blooms, I had never listened to Cereus Bright’s music. They’re a local Knoxville, TN band, and I simply kept forgetting to check them out. I even have a picture of the frontman and lead singer, Tyler Anthony, photobombing a picture I took with The Last Bison (another favorite band). How did I keep missing their rich blend of vocals, strings, and percussion? How have I missed so many opportunities to hear their infectious music, self-described as a “special brand of folk-influenced modern rock delivered with charismatic, harmony-driven energy?” While it took some time, discovering them they way we did was meant to be, and with a strong introduction, what we experienced is a great example of building genuine, human connections — the ultimate marketing tool. Furthermore, our personal experience with Cereus Bright and Tyler Anthony (most interactions and observations were with him) provide two great examples and reminders of what to strive for when networking, marketing, and selling your product offline, because interacting with people, face-to-face, should never be forgotten.
Here’s what I mean:
#1: Be Passionate About Your Product (Even if it’s Yourself).
As my husband and I sat in The Standard and watched our first live Cereus Bright show, we fell in love with more than just their talent and songs…we fell in love with them as a band of people. It started with their captivating songs and stage presence, and then, my interest grew to focus on the genuine and pure way that Tyler Anthony (and Evan Ford) spoke and sang to the crowd. You could feel the joy in packing the venue and seeing so many fans from Knoxville, their hometown. It felt like a special moment for them, and in some way, we felt more connected to them by being there and experiencing a small fraction of their joy. As the room filled, and as the crowd cheered and sang along, their reactions seemed to become more powerful. And, while this powerful performance may be skewed by the fact that it’s a pretty validating thing to pack a large, hometown venue, I still hope and assume they play with that passion everywhere they go. This kind of pride tells a lot about the product, but also the people who make it a reality.
#2: Get To Know Your Fans / Make Your Fans Feel Important.
Later that evening, hours after Cereus Bright’s performance, we saw Tyler Anthony at another artist’s performance and decided to tell him how much we enjoyed the show, their music, etc. Plus, I really wanted to show him the picture he had photobombed, just months earlier. While I thought the picture would be a great icebreaker (because compliments aren’t enough), I found his sneaky photobomb to be pretty funny and wanted to see if he remembered it. After I showed him the picture (which he remembered!) — and my husband and I gushed with approval for their music and show — we said goodbye and walked away talking about that genuine personality that we saw on stage. It was real. While neither of us have met many musicians (or celebrities), we were both impressed by how personable and humble he was, in person. Fast forward to the next day, when Tyler Anthony is walking to a venue with a group of people. We’re on the same sidewalk, walking in the opposite direction, and as we get close, he looks up at us (mid conversation) and says, “hi guys.” WE WERE SHOCKED. I’m not trying to put anyone up on a pedestal, and I know he’s a regular guy, but seriously, he’s cool. He recognized us as fans, and then made the time to say hi to us. Bottom line, he made us feel important. And, while it’s impossible to really know all your fans, it’s not a bad idea to recognize them and, if possible, learn a few things about them — even if it’s just their faces. It’s a great way to build brand trust and excitement, as well as a lifelong customer.
Apply Genuine Marketing
From these few interactions, we are sold on Cereus Bright and can’t wait to see them play again. Most of all, we are excited to see the band grow and gain more recognition. We are rooting for them, and all it took was one passionate performance and a couple of humble, personal interactions. From this experience, it’s important to note that even the littlest things can create a remarkable experience for fans and customers.
What are you doing to create remarkable, human connections with your fans? How are you creating genuine marketing for your business? Find out what makes your fans lifelong customers and do it consistently, but most of all, be genuine about it.