Industry News | August 29, 2010

Free Music: The Path to a Consumer's Heart?

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Many quick serves are still trying to figure out the power of a Facebook fan page, but one brand thinks it’s found a way to both grow its fan base and put it to good use: by offering free music.

Bruegger’s recently launched an application on its Facebook page that gives anyone who “Likes” the brand six free songs.

Sam Rubin, cofounder of SocialGrub, a social media marketing provider that collaborated with Bruegger’s on the “Music Showcase” application, says the bagel chain did not want to follow in the footsteps of other brands that simply offered a free menu item in return for their Facebook support.

“Everybody likes music,” Rubin says. “With the popularity of iTunes, everybody can kind of associate a song being worth $1. People automatically have this connotation of, ‘They’re giving away six songs, it’s kind of like $6.’”

But Rubin says Bruegger’s was most interested in a promotion that not only drew new fans to the brand, but also kept them around. He says the brand plans to continue to offer free music through the promotion, and possibly even do more, like create a Bruegger’s compilation CD.

And with the “Music Showcase,” not only does it not severely affect Bruegger’s bottom line by not offering free Bruegger’s product, but it comes with built-in marketing support.

“The most important thing was … now we’ve got six different records from six different bands from six different labels, all actively pushing their music as well,” he says. “So they’re saying, ‘Go to Bruegger’s [Facebook page], become a fan, get the song.’”

Through “Music Showcase,” which included development support from Metablocks Inc., Bruegger’s fans can access music from indie bands like The Almost and Seabird. The bands and songs, Rubin says, were ultimately chosen by Bruegger’s after a collaboration process with the labels.

Rubin says Bruegger’s goal with the "Music Showcase" is to reach the 100,000 Facebook fan milestone. At press time, the brand had just less than 98,000 fans.

But Rubin says a large number of Facebook fans for a brand means nothing if it’s not put to good use. Companies, he says, must utilize the support and information that a large group of Facebook fans represent.

“I think people assume that just because they’ve got fans, they’re going to get revenue,” Rubin says. “I don’t think it correlates to that. I think having fans gives them the audience to engage with. More importantly, instead of saying, ‘Here’s what the soup is today,’ maybe say, ‘What’s your favorite bagel?’ or ‘What’s your favorite topping on a bagel?’

“That’s extremely powerful, because you’re saying, ‘I don’t mind giving you something, but in return for giving you something, I want to be able to communicate with you.’ That’s where the shift in social marketing is going to.”

By Sam Oches