I was fortunate enough to be invited to the recent U2 concert in London. This amazing band is celebrating the 30-year anniversary of the release of the Joshua Tree. An iconic band celebrating an iconic album.
I decided to go out to the stadium a few hours before the concert to check out the pre-concert experience for fans of the band.
The fan base for a major act like U2 is akin to a sports team. Forever loyal and a rich source of commercialisation across tickets, merchandise and new music.
Which makes it interesting when you think about the bands control over the customer experience. Sitting between the band (and its management) is typically a promoter and the venue itself. So the concert experience, a huge financial outlay for most fans, is largely outsourced to other parties. Not the performance itself – but the all-important pre-and post-concert experience.
For large acts like U2, significant sections of the crowd have General Admission tickets and hence are at the stadium for hours before the gig. Similarly, it takes a long time to get out of the stadium at the end of the show and onto public transport or to leave by car (fans were told to expect at least 1 and a half hours wait to exit the car park).
Given the enduring loyalty of fans like those that U2 has amassed, is there a way to ensure a better total concert experience? Here are some thoughts;
Fan Care Team
Employ a small group of people to monitor and manage the experience. Clearly brand them as representatives of the act so people know the act cares. This team can then liaise with the promoters & venue to ensure the acts customers are cared for.
Curate the whole experience
Curate the pre-and post-concert experience. People spent hours waiting to get into to U2 but there was no music. Imagine the buzz if U2 songs were playing. Perhaps rarely played classics that the hard-core fans would love. Maybe the occasional message from the band customised to the gig “Hello London. It’s the Edge here …..”.
In a post that I published last year about my Super Bowl experience (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/super-bowl-50-part-1-rob-mills about Super Bowl 50) I talked about queue strategies. Developed by Theme Parks, these strategies show a commitment to the whole event experience and makes what is typically an unpleasant time into a great part of the experience.
After the gig you typically want two things. To get out quickly and to bask in the afterglow of a great night. While it’s hard to manage roads and public transport, acts can make it more pleasant. Why not post the audio from the just completed concert and invite all attendees to log in via a password protected link provided on the ticket? So as fans wait in cars and sit on trains for the long trip home, they can re live the concert. This is also a great data capture opportunity for acts.
If acts have the mindset that they own the customer, fans will get a better experience and in turn acts will build even stronger relationships.