‘SuperBrands to SuperFans’ – Henley Business College


Henley Business College, part of Reading University, was the venue for last week’s ‘Super Brand to Super Fan’ seminar. Introduced by Helen Gammons, the Programme Director for the MBA for the Music and Creative Industries at Henley, and chaired by Rafael McDonnell from CAA (Creative Artists Agencey), the day brought together members of the music and marketing community, as well as students attending the College’s MBA course.

The premise of the seminar was that creating a ‘Superfan’ has to be the ultimate goal for all brands. The ultimate customer that is both an advocate and a key influencer.

“Many music artists are experts at developing relationships with their fans via social media.  Their reach can be a tremendous asset to a brand, but it is important to the success of such a partnership that both parties share complementary objectives and understand how best to engage fans throughout the campaign.” Rafael McDonnell

Superbrands are those whose names trip easily off the tongue: Coca Cola, Microsoft, Apple, McDonalds, Google.

Superfans are people who have an obsessive admiration for a person or brand.

The seminar was in two parts, with speakers in the morning, and question and answer panels in the afternoon.

Opened by Helen Gammons, Programme Director of Henley’s MBA for the Music and Creative Industries, it was chaired by Rafael McDonnell, from Creative Artists Agency (CAA).

Guest speakers included Olivier Robert-Murphy, Global Head of New Business at Universal Music Group; Alec Samways, CEO of Splendid Communications; Jason Legg, Head of Client Services at The Physical Network; Professor Jonathan Shalit, OBE, Chairman of ROAR Global.

After lunch we were treated to two question and answer panels, the first a Talent Manager Panel, featuring Jonathan Shalit; Dan Parker, Founder of 84 World; and Karthy Mashadi, Co-Founder and manager of Prism Music Group, and manager of ‘The Drifters’.

The second was a Super Fans Panel, featuring Travers Lee, CEO and Founder of Stereotribes; Richard Marshall, CEO and Co-Founder of Influence Digital; and Juliana Meyer, CEO of SupaPass.

The event ended with a private performance by The Drifters.

It was an incredible day, but the most significant things we came away with were:

  • 33% of those aged 18-34 were willing to try a product promoted by their idol, he put forward that major talents, operating as brands themselves, have an incredible voice in the marketplace.
  • Although the world’s most followed brands have millions of followers (Coca Cola and McDonalds for instance, have 93 million and 59 million likes on Facebook respectively), this pales into insignificance when held up against celebrities and their following, with examples being Cristiano Ronaldo’s nearly 107 million Facebook likes, Taylor Swift’s 50.5 million Instagram followers, and Katy Perry’s 76 million+ followers on Twitter.
  • With artists having access to millions of social media followers, brands are able to cut through the clutter by way of high profile ambassadors. It is a two way street, with the artist adding credibilty to the brand, and the brand adding value to the artist, whether it be monetary or status.
  • Artists have to be guarded and careful how they portray themselves on social media, and beware of reacting to commentary. It’s not *them* but their image people are responding to.
  • Unless it’s a brand that totally enhances your image, don’t do it.
  • Money isn’t necessarily the best motivation.
  • Crowdfunding is massive and is going to become even more so.

We hope to bring you more about the day at a later date.





About the author

There’s a lot of music out there - good music. At Essentially Pop our remit is that we cover music that deserves to be heard, with a particular focus on independent artists. That doesn't mean we won't cover your old favourites - rather we hope to give you some new favourites as well.

We no longer accept unpaid PR agency work. We believe the creative arts have value, and this includes writing. As always, we will write about artists who contact us - or who we contact - for free - but we can no longer work free of charge for PR agencies. We work hard, we put in a lot of hours writing, and we ask that you respect that. Contact us for our very reasonable rates.

Follow us on: Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, Myspace, Facebook, Spotify, Youtube. Drop us an email on hello@essesntiallypop.com

Leave a Reply