(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily of LeadSquared)
Loved, hated, accused, hyped, but never ignored. Honey Singh is everywhere – in the movies, clubs, on the radio, or blaring from the car stereos. In an already saturated Bollywood music industry where new pop singers arrive frequently and vanish even faster, this undisputed superstar holds his ground firmly.
What keeps him going? Sure, he is talented. But, even more so, he has an audience understanding of a seasoned marketer. Critics might write off his talent as a musician, but no one can write off his success. Here are a few tactics that worked for him, which would also make excellent small business marketing strategies, if done right.
Focuses only on his audience
He still disguises himself to sit among the youth to find the next idea for his song.
First, he knows who his target audience is. Second, he doesn’t disappoint them. Clubs, fashion, alcohol, parties is what his fans seem to relate with, and that’s what he delivers. Be it a music album, films or concerts, he is always in sync with his audience. And he does it consistently, which makes him so popular.
And, he didn’t just assume his audience’s preferences either. He has written songs on themes like Shaheed Bhagat Singh, substance deaddiction, and the likes, but they never got the attention his other songs did. So, he stuck to what works. “People would listen to what they like.”
When he entered the music scene, there weren’t many Punjabi pop artists on the charts. The clubs and parties would buzz with American Hip Hop and EDM. Well, they still do, but no party seems to end without Honey Singh. He found his niche. And, ever since, hasn’t done anything that drives him away from it. Result – he delivers hits, one after the other.
Used social media ingeniously
It all started with a YouTube video.
After struggling to find work for 8 months, he released a controversial track in 2009 on YouTube, which became extremely popular among the youngsters. It was already a known voice before he even entered the market. Since that song, he hasn’t looked back. Today, he is the highest paid music artist in Bollywood (paid ₹ 70 lakhs for an upcoming film Mastaan). On social media he has:
- Over 11 Million followers across Twitter and Facebook
- Nearly 310 Million Combined views on His YouTube videos.
- Over and above 250000 Combined YouTube subscribers.
- Honey Singh’s “Brown Rang” was acclaimed the most-watched YouTube Video of 2012 in India.
Small business marketers need to first identify the channels their audience frequent, and then concentrate on distributing content there. Anywhere else, and you would just be sending postcards to a ghost-town.
He is fresh and attracts attention
He may not have the best voice, but he is unique. If we look at history, the artists who have been commercial successful, have one thing in common – they sound uncommon. Elvis, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Eminem or Rihanna – they don’t sound like anyone else. The world welcomes the new and that’s what Honey Singh is. Eventually someone fresh and unique will take the center stage to wipe him out YoYo too, but till then, party yuhi chaalegi.
High quality videos, young models, upbeat music and flashy lyrics combined give him a powerful pull of attraction. He draws his share of criticism too, but it seems to add up to his popularity. He says, “Notoriety gets all the attention. Everyone is constantly observing the errant kids to see what they will do next.” Even the ones who don’t understand his lyrics are also found dancing to his tunes. EDM artist Skrillex gave Honey Singh a shout-out in a recent interview stating his wish to collaborate with him. To emphasize his popularity:
- People of 27 different languages are listening to His music.
- Highest paid singer in the South Asian film industry, Bollywood.
When you translate this to marketing terms, you would see hundred clones of one trend that took over some time ago, but they go unnoticed. When you see this in your customer segment, try something new – anything that breaks away from the status quo.
Coming back to our original discussion – fan following of 11 million on social media, highest paid in the industry and a market built and owned by him – isn’t this what a small business marketer dreams to achieve for their brand one day?
Good and bad things are said about Honey Singh. I am neither supporting him nor criticizing him. I just see an artist, who really knows his audience, and from whom we can learn a thing or two about marketing.