Music events can be transformative. Aside from music’s emotive power, they unite unlikely individuals and foster a sense of community. This unity is at the heart of the Bragg Jam Festival. As marketing co-chair, Stephanie Howard helps to create an event that is diverse and inclusive. Joining in 2015, Howard viewed the festival an opportunity to address a community concern.
“One of the things that people complain about it that there is nothing to do,” Howard said. “I’m just not that type of person. I love to solve problems, so this was a way of addressing that complaint, of doing something about it.”
The Importance of Planning
Despite being an annual event, planning for Bragg Jam is year-round. Howard and the rest of the board review strengths and weaknesses of previous years, identifying opportunities. Members attend music events nationwide to discover new artists and trends. They forge partnerships and gain significant market insights. Although these discoveries are important, Howard emphasizes the need to stay on mission.
“You have to take a step back and figure out your endgame,” Howard said. “You can focus on things that don’t matter. You have to decide if you want your event to be multifaceted or if you want to spend all your money on the biggest headliner. You also have to make sure that what you do, you do continuously. What makes or breaks any campaign is consistency.”
The Process of Marketing Music Events
A key part of maintaining consistency is clear branding across various channels. This includes online content, traditional media, and promotional items such as hand fans and t-shirts. With each approach, the message must align with the brand. This requires a high level of collaboration.
“[Leila and I] discuss what we want to create a year ahead,” Howard said. ” We then divide and conquer marketing for the entire festival…it’s a long process, but it’s a fun process too.”
Branded events and partnerships are also integral to the marketing process. Bragg Jam’s Second Sunday provides free, family-friendly entertainment while promoting the festival’s artists.
“If it’s not a mainstream name, people are like, who’s that?” Howard said. “So it becomes how do I get people interested in someone they haven’t heard of? You make it less about if you recognize who it is and more about good music.”
To this end, Bragg Jam has created ways to learn about its artists and its history. The Creek hosts a weekly Bragg Jam Radio Hour, which discusses all things Bragg Jam including artists. The festival also has a Spotify playlist that includes the songs of this year’s performers.
“You have to make it easy for people to make their decision,” Howard said. “With a music festival, you want to make everything easily accessible.”
A Cure For Boredom
Despite the challenges, Howard enjoys what she does. For her, Bragg Jam Festival is a celebration of diversity, where differences are embraced and commonalities discovered. At the very least, it’s a departure from the ordinary.
“You get stuck listening to artists that are a part of your life soundtrack,” Howard said. “Come listen to someone new, come and give them a shot. Experience it and see what its like. What else are you going to do that weekend?”
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