Marketing insights from a dreadlock, barefoot busker.

By C&T

I was down in Queenstown a while ago when I stumbled across an unlikely marketing genius.

As I walked along the boardwalk, I passed an ensemble of buskers touting their musical skills to meandering tourists. However, one busker really stood out to me from the rest of the pack. His music was pretty good, not substantially better than the others, but he had a gaggle of tourists gathered around him. Not only were these tourists enjoying his music, but they were also dropping notes into his suitcase and buying his CDs (and really, who buys CDs these days?).

I was intrigued, so I ventured a little nearer.

He wasn’t exactly putting a lot of effort into his appearance. Sporting dirty bare feet, a haphazard nest of dreadlocks and a graffiti-covered, partly dismantled piano with wheelbarrow wheels attached.

This chap wasn’t Elton John, but as it turned out, he knew a thing or two about advertising.

On closer inspection, I realised he wasn’t just a busker, but a storyteller, pr and social media expert.

As I looked down on part of his dismantled piano I read “This piano came from the dump. I have restored, repaired, and retuned it in an ongoing, self-inflicted piano tuning apprenticeship. Thanks for listening! PS: All of the music I’m playing was composed by me, on this piano which now lives in my van.”, he also had pictures of the PR he had achieved, a website, his Spotify profile, how to join his newsletter and a prompt on how to tag and share him on social media.

This man was a gifted busker and marketer.

What he had done was created an advantage by attaching a unique story to what he was selling. A story that added much more meaning and depth to his music compared to his competition.

While other buskers were knocking out unmemorable tunes, this guy was giving his audience much more. He was giving them a story that they could take back to their home. A story that they would think of every time they listened to his music.

It was such a simple, but clear example of what brands need to do when they are fighting for attention against similar competitors.

Never underestimate the effectiveness of great storytelling.

You can check out this unassuming musician and marketer here: