Grassroots Marketing: Straight No Chaser

The first thing the guys from Straight No Chaser said on stage last night at their Detroit concert was to encourage the packed Masonic Temple crowd to take photos and videos of the concert and post them widely on social media.

What a refreshing change from most musical acts!

Perhaps because the a cappella group Straight No Chaser won fame and a record deal by a YouTube post that went viral in 2012, the 10 guys who first formed a singing group at Indiana University in 1996 encourage sharing and grassroots, word-of-mouth marketing as a way of growing their fan base.

I love it. Not only are they an amazingly talented group of singers who creatively riff on popular tunes, representing the 40-something stage of life exceptionally well, they are brilliant businessmen.

They even mentioned on stage how much they appreciate grassroots marketing as a way to build their fan base and spread the word about this unique and unusual singing group.

We saw them last night, a Chanukah gift from my brother’s family for my family, and we fell in love. Even my youngest was bobbing along to the beat.

I’ve taken video of my kids dancing before at a party, and when I go to share the video on Facebook, it’s flagged and taken down because of the popular recorded songs played by the DJ in the background. Here is a band who not only doesn’t mind, they encourage recording of their concerts and sharing – in the style of the Grateful Dead all those years ago – making their openness and sense of community sharing attractive and alluring for audience members.

Simply put, we are part of the effort to build the band. And that makes the listeners, the fans, important. Not just because they like the show but because each and every person in that audience is valued as having a crucial part in the growth and success of the band.

That makes the performers everyday guys, average Joes. After all, they talk about their wives and kids, the debate within the band as to whether a Frozen medley is tired or popular (the 5 guys with kids won – they sang it to great applause).

Any group that welcomes in their fans as some of their own can’t help but win over any audience. It’s a brilliant approach to marketing – commiserating together as equals, a we’re-all-in-this-together attitude, a sense of community around the brand.

Every business can do this – whether big or small. And they should.

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