How Musical.ly Creates Branding Buzz

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There is always room for a new app to capture the imagination of consumers and brands, even at a time when our lives are saturated with apps that inform, entertain, amuse and engage. A case in point is Musical.ly. Launched in 2014, Musical.ly has rapidly become a preferred app among teenagers as well as celebrities such as Ariana Grande and Jason DeRulo, who released a video for the song “If It Ain’t Love” on Musical.ly. And brands are figuring out how to latch on the music app’s popularity.

With Musical.ly, users (known as Musers) create 15-second videos and enrich them with sound tracks, filters, effects and speeds — sort of like Snapchat with a music focus. The app boasts more than 90 million registered users, with about 12 million new videos created each day. It has not taken long for brands to get in on the action. Here are some examples:

  • Guitar Hero Live relied on the power of crowdsourcing to launch its GHTV feature, which makes it possible to record footage from concerts and turn them into playable music. To raise awareness for GHTV, Guitar Hero crowdsourced fans lip-syncing Ed Sheeran’s “Sling.” Fans uploaded their home-made videos on Musical.ly and used #GuitarHeroTVStar for a chance to have their video featured on Musical.ly. Sports stars such as Shaquille O’Neal and Stephen Curry were enlisted to join the fun, too. More than 100,000 clips were collectively viewed more than 100 million times in 10 days — not bad visibility stats.
  • Coca-Cola hitched its wagon to Musical.ly stars by enlisting popular Musers such as Baby Ariel and Danielle Renaee to create sponsored posts. Musers who created their own videos with the hashtag #ShareACoke were entered into a competition to FaceTime with Jason Derulo (who happens to be a Coca-Cola ambassador), which generated more visibility for Coca-Cola with the Musical.ly audience.
  • A number of events, sports and entertainment-related businesses use Musical.ly to inject fun into events and original content. For instance, the National Basketball Association regularly posts content set to high-energy soundtracks, including exciting plays and goofy clips of mascots and fans generally having a good time in the stands. As noted, musicians such as Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez rely on Musical.ly to share short music clips, which have a special authenticity to their home-grown quality. Musicians work with Musical.ly to feature songs that Musers then use in home-grown lip-syncs and dances, all for the opportunity to have their posts featured — which creates a win/win for the artists and their fans, each of whom enjoy more exposure. For example, Good Morning America launched a competition for a Summer Concert, which gained 12.5 million likes.

Musical.ly works for brands because it is the perfect platform for creating viral, authentic content in the context of music. The app also lends itself to use at events, especially any event that caters to millennials. For instance, with some advance planning, a business could challenge event goers to create their own goofy lip-syncs and dances. By encouraging Musers to use predetermined hashtags, the event organizer could track their clips and award prizes for the best ones.

A business could also enlist a Muser to roam an event space during social breaks and create spontaneous videos with different guests, in a variation on user-generated content. The event host could also work with an up-and-coming artist or a more established musician to provide the featured sound track, which would inject a hipness quotient into any event. The Muser could then judge the co-created clips and feature prizes such as music giveaways from a featured artist.

Musical.ly’s appeal skews to a very defined demographic. But any brand seeking to broaden its appeal to a millennial-era audience through the power of video and music should consider Musical.ly.

We Love Live®. For a complimentary 30-minute consultation on how to build your brand and inspire an audience through events and communications, please contact Brian Duffy by calling 630.427.4235 or by emailing bduffy@onesmoothstone.com

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