Alive in the moment

How music festivals help brands connect to consumers, authentically


Music festivals provide a rare opportunity for brands to engage their key target audience in a real way. Connecting with festival goers emotionally though music festivals does more than increase brand recognition – it builds brand equity.

In an earlier piece we wrote about the relationship between music and motion, with recent research concluding that our connection with music is biological, not cultural (or just cultural) and secondly, that the brain perceives music in the same way it perceives motion.

According to research music is biologically innate – transcending cultural barriers, with our brains responding to it via the same circuitry that perceives motion. With this in mind, it’s evident that music festivals provide an optimal environment for brands to engage with their target audience, specifically millennials.

If you’ve ever been to a concert or stood up with people at a national anthem, you can feel a strong common bond with the group elicited by the music.

As Dr. Thalia Wheatley, an associate professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Dartmouth College put it, “Music allows us to move to a beat as a group, creating a shared emotional experience, and this can be really powerful. If you’ve ever been to a concert or stood up with people at a national anthem, you can feel a strong common bond with the group elicited by the music.”

And this “shared emotional experience” – ripe within a live music environment, can generate euphoric feelings, as well as a sense of commonality and unification that are all powerful facilitators of action. A recent study conducted by Momentum Worldwide – a marketing agency that focusses on music-related experiences, and AEG Worldwide, found that 93% of respondents liked brands that sponsor live events, 81% reported that the ‘coolest brand’ experiences they’ve been a part of took place in a live music setting, and 80% admitted that the most effective way for brands to connect with them is through a live music setting. The common theme across these results? Live music.

While there is research that suggests millennials are easily drawn to music festivals due to their active presence, status on social media and associated reach to other socially active millennials, my thoughts are that the relationship festival goers have with music runs deeper than that. It allows them to truly lower their guard, and to touch on Dr. Wheatley’s comments again –  elicits a common bond between themselves and others present.

It also provides brands with the chance to engage with their consumers in an emotionally richer, undisruptive manner that may not be available elsewhere. This isn’t to say that every brand present at music festivals will generate committed, loyal consumers over a two-day period, but what it does enable is an environment that supports the growth of an authentic connection that ultimately fosters long term loyalty between consumers and brand.

Dale Bennetto is an account manager at The Idea Shed. Interested in the cultural and emotional connections consumers have with brands, when he’s not working you can almost always find him at a live music gig.


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