Future Entrepreneurs: Lessons from Lolla

04 Aug Future Entrepreneurs: Lessons from Lolla

“Choose not a life of imitation.” ~ Red Hot Chili Peppers


6 Social Media Lessons from Lollapalooza


The Lollapalooza music festival kicked off in Chicago as I’m editing this blog and will continue through the weekend.
Last year we celebrated the 25th anniversary of Lolla, and this year we’ll take a closer look with an entrepreneur’s eye.


1. Attitude of gratitude
Applaud. Your. Fans.
Gratitude is a great start in any field. And humility, is endearing, especially from a rock star. Last year’s 25th Anniversary headliner, the Red Hot Chili Peppers frequently thanked fans for their loyalty and for their energy. Members of the band frequently looked out to the crowd to make eye contact and mentioned how much they loved playing to old and new fans in Grant Park! Lead singer Anthony Kiedis sang right next to the interpreter signing his lyrics and then took playful pictures with her at the side of the stage. RHCP gave multiple shout-outs to all that came to Lolla and pointed out those dancing hard and singing along.


Give shout-outs to your super fans on social networks, share their photos, thank them for their participation—give them a perk or swag (a free t-shirt, book, or ticket to your next social media event). Think of something to show you appreciate them!


Let all your brand’s customers, clients, and newcomers know you appreciate them by thanking them for retweets and shout outs (in healthy moderation, of course).


2. Something for everyone.


Lolla offers a wide range of music—formerly-known as alternative, techno, rock, kids’ music, punk played and EDM—all paired with a variety of cuisines, with everything from VIP catered buffets, to signature Chicago deep-dish pizza, to lobster corn dogs.


Apply this breadth of offerings to your social media campaigns. If your company is in communications and you’ve only been catering to current pros, why not try targeting millennials entering the field? Do research to find out whether there’s a group that’s interested in your business that you hadn’t considered reaching out to—if you don’t, your competition probably will.


3. Be flexible.


Lollapalooza is one of the biggest music festivals in America, and it wasn’t meant to last beyond its first year in 1991. And now that it has, co-founder Jane’s Addiction’s Perry Farrell, says it may finally be time for him to move on.


Lollapalooza has grown from a one-and-done six-week traveling festival into a multimillion-dollar franchise over a quarter-century.
It was conceived as a Jane’s Addiction farewell tour that also included other underground bands and artists such as Living Colour, Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Rollins Band, Nine Inch Nails, the Butthole Surfers and Ice-T. It was a risky move that turned into a profitable tour. When it finished, Farrell was ready to press the “delete” button, but “the record industry loves success. They wait for something to hit, they go to the hilltops. They go right to next year — hey, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam want to do it (in 1992). I didn’t have much else to do that year, I knew I was going to put Jane’s down for a time, and I figured why not? I was up for another party,” (quotes from Chicago Tribune).


Learn about the topics the fans of your brand talk about. Include current topics and look for new trends.


4. Play fan favorites.


Most bands know that no matter how many times they’ve had to play their hit song—the one they’ve been playing since the mid-’90s—people will always want to hear it live. Chili Peppers played tracks from their new CD, but also ramped up numerous songs for those fans who have been around “for 25 years.”


Your brand can show appreciation by “playing fan favorites.” Learn what people want from your brand.
Do they love polls or travel photos? (I just posted my photos from Lolla as TBT. My followers love music as I do, so there have been many retweets and comments. Thank you, and feel free to check them out yourself! I’d love to see your concert and travel photos as well!)


Were your followers all over a special contest you did recently?
Find out what they liked by reviewing comments or consider conducting a vote. Then do something similar, but with a twist, of course—we don’t come to a show to hear the song exactly the way it sounds on the studio track.


5. Capturing the moment is as important as the moment itself


There were some stellar moments at Lollapalooza 2016: Jane’s Addiction reunion, X Ambassadors sing-along and Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine, Radiohead, and a surprise appearance by Chase the Rapper…among countless others.


There are three steps that the majority of Lolla guests followed when watching for these unforgettable moments:
1. Enjoy the moment.
2. Capture the moment on their smartphones.
3. Share the moment with their social networks.


That may seem obvious, but it illustrates the fact that the experience has evolved.
A recent study showed that over 75% of people who attend live events are sharing content from the venue through their social networks; and one can assume that this percentage was closer to the 90’s among the Influencers, bloggers and avid fans.


The idea of sharing content at an event is nothing new, however, the reasons we do it are. Before, people took photos and videos to capture truly unforgettable moments that they could cherish later on. Now, content sharing has become more of a reflex; a compulsory box that people have to check off if they are attending an event.


Some brands have been quick to understand this. The smart ones created initiatives which play off people’s ‘need’ to capture content.
The current social atmosphere has created what can be described as an impetus for consumers to capture and share content from the events that they’re attending.


6. Stand out.


Over the last two years there have been a lot of giant mouse-heads, flower crowns, EDM-wear and lots of RHCP tats at Lolla.
I’m not insisting that your brand should adopt giant mouse heads, or do tattoos, but I do believe there’s a lesson here. Build your brand so it’s something that creates enthusiasm in your community. Ask fans to create fun logos, T-shirts, etc. Use social media to exhibit your brand’s distinctive personality. This can range from tangible items such as shirts and promotional items to creating an air of playfulness that people come to expect through your Twitter account or Instagram gallery.
I use photos of my book “Secrets to Shine Through the Noise” in interesting places, like castles, concerts and cool places to sail; I also made #ShineThroughtheNoise bracelets for chapter readings, loyal social media fans and new jewelry fans. I’ll be creating a new bracelet with our friend and A-list partner @RockYourMessage, for our one-year book anniversary coming up in September. Stay tuned, I’ll be giving several away as prizes here too. Check @RockYourMessage out on Twitter and Instagram for excellent inspiration (plus, every jewelry purchase helps kids in group homes.)


Thanks to our readers and we welcome your comments below.
Have a wonderful week!


Cheers and fair winds,


Akasha Garnier


Akasha Garnier for The Wishwall
Author, Brand Expert, Filmmaker
Read more from Future Entrepreneurs: http://thewishwall.org/future-entrepreneurs.

  • Bella Melocco
    Posted at 22:15h, 14 August Reply

    Cool way to look at music and business. Innovative ideas!

  • George Bingle
    Posted at 12:09h, 16 August Reply

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Laura Twopeny
    Posted at 17:04h, 16 August Reply

    OMG I missed Lollapalooza music festival Anyhow, I it is really an in depth analysis from entrepreneur’s viewpoint. Good stuff!!

  • Melisa Horton
    Posted at 20:13h, 16 August Reply

    Very well written article Akasha Garnier!! Keep on sharing such valuable stuff.

  • Donald B. Dodrill
    Posted at 20:53h, 17 August Reply

    Your critical review about Lollapalooza music festival is eye opening for those who want to be successful in the same industry. I am really impressed.

  • Sandra Dove
    Posted at 22:57h, 17 August Reply

    Though Modern brands are aware of latest social media management tricks. If employed correctly, social media strategy can result into massive success of a business. I fully support your stance about the vital importance of social networks for any brand.

  • Roosevelt Barrett
    Posted at 14:05h, 19 August Reply

    Case study of Lollapalooza is highly recommended to those young entrepreneurs who are ready to use social media for promotion of their businesses. All 6 points have been discussed in detail. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.

  • Akasha Garnier
    Posted at 19:32h, 06 September Reply

    Thanks much for taking the time to read and comment on this! I appreciate it. I love the blend of inspiration and business music brings, so we will have a couple follow up articles in the next few weeks. Cheers!

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