Monday, June 21, 2010
How To Revitalize An Aging Brand. (The Return of the Hoodoo Gurus.)
I’ve been a fan of the Australian rock band the Hoodoo Gurus since the 1980’s, when they were college radio favorites with hits like Bittersweet, Come Anytime and What’s My Scene. The group’s sound has been described as everything from power pop to garage punk to surf rock, and has aged well—at least if you consult the number of plays the Gurus get on my iPod.
The band has been under the radar in the US for a decade or more—but a few weeks ago, the Gurus put out their first new music release in several years. Titled Purity of Essence, it’s better than anything they’ve done since their heyday—a tuneful, hard rocking set that I’ll be playing loud on my way to the beach this summer. (Recommended download: I Hope You’re Happy.)
The good vibes got me thinking: How do you revitalize and market an aging brand? In this case, how would you bring to life an aging rock band that has been out of sight & out of mind for years? Should the brand image be repackaged for a younger market? Can it be done without putting a lot of money behind the effort?
Here’s my quick take on what the Hoodoo Gurus, or any mature brand, can do to make a go of it in today’s market.
*Capitalize on name recognition – Is a rebranding needed? Not here, as the Gurus name has enough cache to bring back happy memories to fans of a certain age. In rock and roll, nostalgia still rules, as evidenced by the fact geezer bands from Rush to Crosby Stills & Nash are still successfully touring. By comparison, the Gurus, now in their late-40’s, are relatively young.
*Revitalize the product – The group could have rested on past laurels with a “greatest hits” release, but instead has opted for a brand refresh—a new CD that puts a fresh new spin on their sound. This increases the chance of winning new fans as well as rekindling the interest of older ones.
*Connect with thought leaders – While the new release has received good reviews from mostly obscure music blogs (save a glowing review in allmusic.com), they need to connect with the leaders in the space. This includes Rolling Stone and Pitchfork, and of course the leading rock radio outlets including XM and Sirius. Push, push, push, to get the new CD reviewed—and played—wherever possible.
*Use social media to get the word out – Social media represents the best way to reconnect with a now scattered fan base. While the band has set up Facebook and MySpace pages, it looks like there could be more interaction from band members, especially regarding fan posts that reference old videos and shows. Make the conversation a dialogue, not just a monologue.
*Take the show on the road – There’s nothing like a live product demonstration, especially when it comes to rock-and-roll. So I recommend the Gurus dust off their passports and hit the road for a tour. If they’re anywhere near Philly or NYC, you’ll find me not far from the stage.
This post originally appeared on Loyalty Truth on June 11, 2010, and is by Tom Rapsas, a seasoned Creative Director and Loyalty Marketing guru. You can follow him on Twitter here: @TomRapsas