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An Influencer Marketing Case Study: Coachella Music Festival

Coachella Music Festival 2017

With one of the largest outdoor music festivals recently held in Coachella Valley, California, most people are paying attention to the parade of celebrities and the newest found fashion trends. But, what everyone’s missing is how this festival, which started almost 2 decades ago, attracts this large audience, let alone this large audience of celebrities in one place!

To freshen your memories, Coachella is one of the largest outdoor concerts in North America, it attracts close to a 150,000  visitors each weekend that the festival runs (2 in total). With music in the combined genre of indie-BPM and pop stars alike (if you consider Kendrick Lamar and Beyoncé that), this music festival is top of the list for concert-goers.

The unique thing about Coachella music festival is that it’s much more than an a-lister concert and the fans. Celebrities such as Katy Perry, Mark Wahlberg and many others run their own events separate from the festival in the Palm Springs/Coachella Valley area throughout the event. This past year, Katy Perry launched a new shoe line during the festival at her own private invite-only event.Katy Perry Coachella In an easter-clad, brunch themed party,she didn’t just pick the location for purposes of its great atmosphere and high traffic. It’s reported that 55% of concert goers make a purchase after seeing a brand at an event (source). And for the event to be Coachella, that number can only climb.

So, how does influencer marketing play a part in all of this?

You may be asking yourself, well why would this festival need influencer marketing if they have no problem at all attracting a-list celebrities on their own? Aside from the use case above of Katy Perry’s successful footwear launch party, other celebrities take it to the Springs to party on other brands dime. In 2017, brands such as H&M, Lacoste, Playboy and Belvedere took it to Palm Springs to have celebrities endorse their parties (because you know, wherever they are, your brand is perfectly placed in the background). You can actually see the full list of celebrity-clad and brand-endorsing parties here.

                 Kendall and Kylie Jenner Coachella PartyRevole Coachella Party Chiara Ferragni 2017

Aside from the events that take place piggybacking off this popular festival, there are the  small-scale (but still highly talented) DJ’s and artists themselves - who are selected based on their social influence. The CEO and head “manager” of the event talks a lot about his experience over the years how he’s grown it to be as recognizable and highly-sought after as it is today. In his recent interview with the New Yorker Magazine, he describes what he looks for when it comes to selecting these artists based on their influencer ‘score’.

In simplified form, DJs that have wide audience reach and engagement (on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, etc.) are added to the list each year to add to an ever-evolving lineup of not just mainstream artists but small-scale bands & performers as well. Why? The CEO says it himself, he wants to grow the art of music, the festival is already a success. He wants to expand people's taste in common genres with up and coming DJs and artists. In doing so, he’s creating an urgency and ‘cool-factor’ for attendees to hear the first of up and coming artists. We wouldn’t be surprised if a good part of the VIP tents are music producers and talent agents!

Let’s break it down

Influencer marketing isn’t a one way street. Events can actually help grow the reach of celebrities and micro-influencers just as much as celebrities and micro-influencers can help grow events reach and awareness! Coachella is simply a solid example of both of these happening all at once.


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