There are a number of lessons about PR and social media that you can learn watching Blaqbonez. From a PR perspective, he is the dream artist. He is a walking, breathing anthology of ideas; he has a clear understanding of self and how he would like to be perceived, and more than anything, he possesses a unique (and that’s putting it lightly) way of staying in the news.
(We have Google alerts set up on his name. Trust us, the updates don’t stop!)
From a distance, it can look like an ad-libbed mesh of impulsive nutty ideas. But working closely with Blaq, one thing immediately becomes clear: There is always a method to his madness. Always!
From an insider’s perspective, here are some key PR/social media lessons we’ve learned working with Blaqbonez:
Play to your strengths/develop your own unique voice
Blaqbonez is naturally funny. Anybody who has been close enough to him has an anecdote or two about his humorous off-the-cuff retorts, madcap behaviour, and jovial personality. He walks into a room and the energy changes. That’s just Blaq! But that might not be you. When crafting your creative messaging, activations and various methods of fan engagement, ensure that it feels real to you. It’s more sustainable that way.
Build around a central idea and be consistent with it
No matter how many videos, characters or ancillary antics Blaq ties into his campaigns, they usually lead back to a core message/concept. Think: “I’m the Best Rapper in Africa” or his #StreamHaba campaign or how Shut Up had the video of the year. Blaqbonez uses every show, event, radio or television appearance to reinforce and amplify a core message. The benefit of this? It sticks in people’s heads longer.
Study and be flexible!
Music, like any industry, has its own dynamics and unique template for success. It is a revolving door of trends and innovations that surge or wane remarkably by the day, hour, minute. Where does Blaq come into this? He is a student of the game; a self-confessed obsessive when it comes to music and trends. A savant who spends hours studying the charts in relation to who said what, what marketing idea sparked a climb in rankings, or where this or that artist is this week. If there’s a new medium through which artists can connect seamlessly with their fans, rest assured that Blaq is on it, and he’s selling himself there – never standing still.
Working with Blaq, one of the worst things you can do is present him with a half-baked idea expecting him to take it at face value. It won’t work. He’s too well informed.
We say all this to say: do not develop strategies or ideas in a vacuum. Create, but also keep the standards of your particular industry in mind. Don’t copy! Remix! There’s no such thing as a new idea anyway.
Build a core and interact with them regularly!
Some artists can get away with being reclusive and feeding their core every now and again. Blaqbonez doesn’t take that chance. He is constantly on social media interacting with fans, retweeting their comments, liking their posts, and ‘giving back’: he spontaneously did a slew of remixes for lesser-known artists, after asking them to send him their songs on Twitter. The result of his never-ending interactions? A core fanbase that feels especially connected to him.
Know when to pivot!
We’ll sum it up like this: Madcap antics are only as effective for as long as they remain engaging. When you sense the tide shifting, re-strategize or move on altogether.