Get a rapper on your latest ‘single’ to widen your audience

I was listening to a radio interview recently when it struck me that us IC’ers could learn a thing or two from the world of music collaborations.

The first thing that grabbed my attention was the competition for ‘air-time’. Every artist wants their song to be heard and so it is in our workplaces too. The HR department wants to push employer brand, at the same time Marketing have their latest ‘single’ out (maybe, a new product or promotion) and simultaneously we have Health & Safety delivering their monthly brief.

The audience surely cannot cope with all of these messages. And they don’t have to. Rock fans will choose guitars and drums, blocking out that ‘dance rubbish’ whilst our safety colleagues are more engaged by reading ‘weather alerts’ than new product launch stories (to make a mass generalisation).

This situation is fine, for a short while. Each audience sees its name in lights, month in, month out. But surely the process gets old. We’re obsessed with our favourite band’s latest album – but if they kept re-releasing that would we continue to buy it?

Bands that fail are the ones that fail to evolve with the times. Much like business processes. If we don’t keep people engaged and excited, our monthly newsletter is likely to go the same way as your old Steps albums!

The artists who succeed are those that evolve and keep their message relevant to the changing needs of their audience. The artists who prosper though are those who widen their audiences.

Take Jay-Z. A rapper who quite rightly sat at the top of the Hip-Hop genre in the late 90’s/early 00’s. In 2004, despite success in his own field, he teamed up with Linkin Park (a rock metal band) to produce Collision Course, an album that bridged genres and audiences. It worked, selling more than 5 million copies worldwide. He followed this up by headlining Glastonbury and with future collaborations alongside Coldplay and R Kelly. By using a relevant partner in another genre Jay-Z was able to get his message heard by a wider audience and continues to do so.

I've got 99 problems - but getting my message heard ain't one

I’ve got 99 problems – but getting my message heard ain’t one

This made me reflect. How often do we IC’ers try to win over ‘hard to reach’ or disengaged audiences alone and to no avail. Maybe we can take a leaf out of Jay-Z’s book and build partnerships with key influencers in other departments to act as our ‘stage’ to a wider audience. Heavy bass optional!


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