By Innocent Kawooya | Mohamed Kimbugwe | Editor: Consolate Kyarikunda
The word Campaigns is synonymous with politics but we are not talking about politics here, much as we may quote political examples. We are talking about music campaigns; the deliberate effort by an artist to spread out and reach their fans at all levels.
Let’s kick off with basic examples. Corporate companies and businesses world over engage in campaigns that are aimed at reaching out to their clientele, we’ve seen companies like MTN engaging in countrywide drives that have turned them into super brands.
If that can work for companies, it can work for artists. Deliberately reaching out to the fans creates tangibility and eliminates the element of “ghost” artists that fans just hear on radio or see on television. Campaigns create an element of closeness and chemistry between an artist and their fans.
Another basic example is that of presidential campaigns, Candidates would have easily decided to create campaign teams and finance them to converse support for them, yet candidates go out there to almost every part of the country and get in touch with the people.
It is no wonder that some candidates don’t win but go ahead to attain cult status. There are presidential candidates that have never won the presidency but are addressed as President in certain circles. That’s the kind of chemistry that getting in touch with people creates.
Artists must therefore go to the grassroots and get in touch with people. If one is nominated for an award, they can drive their campaign around that nomination, conduct countrywide tours and rally fans around the cause of voting them, whenever they perform.
An award is prestigious and not even money can buy it. It is a gift that an artist earns from their fans and comes with loads of respect and boasting rights. Artists who rally campaigns around nominations and awards end up becoming bigger brands than their counterparts who don’t care.
The culture of remote brands must cease and artists must get in touch with the fans. Take an example of an artist like Big Eye! This young man may be considered averagely gifted, yet his fame grows by the day.
Big eye is the type of artist that has maintained constant touch with fans country over. He will perform in different parts of the country, from the North to the East, the West to West Nile and the Central.
A quick look at the numbers Big Eye gets in any part of the country and you’ll be absolutely shocked. That is entirely simply because he has turned it into a deliberate culture to traverse the country and win the hearts of many.
Yet on the other hand, there are “big” names in the Ugandan music industry that would not even dare to perform fifty miles outside Kampala or outside any major Ugandan town, yet such brands consider themselves big.
If you can’t attract a big audience in any part of the country, then you are just a remote artist that never shines beyond Radio and television as well as a major concert a year in Kampala, Mukono and Entebbe.
Yet when you come to think of it, there are more fans in the rest of the country than just Kampala, Entebbe and Mukono and until an artist can claim authority in any part of this country, then they can’t claim to be a super brand.
Shockingly though, there are so many Ugandan musicians who have practically failed to understand the importance of a nomination or an award and how important that can be in building a music campaign.
Best practices in politics and business and music have proved that musicians who embark on campaigns are usually bigger brands. It is no wonder that in the first wolrd, any musician who considers themselves a big brand strives to conduct a country tour at least once a year.
Away from the money, these tours are campaigns aimed at getting closer to the fans, creating chemistry and eliminating the already mentioned ghost artist culture. It would be very easy for an American artist to hold just two or three overly hyped and expensive concerts in Los Angeles and they would still be in business.
However, these artists will move to every state, not just for the money, but as a campaign. How many Ugandan musicians have ever thought of launching an album with a concert in every major town of this country?
How many more have ever thought of taking a nomination campaign of a won award with concerts in every major town of this country, with the primary aim of getting in touch with fans and creating a loyal following with an interpersonal feel?
Truth is, you can’t remain a ghost artist and become a super brand at the same time. You can’t be a remote artist and create enough chemistry with fans in every part of the country. Get your working shoes on and embrace campaign if you want a super brand status.