Swing Into Marketing: Creative Campaigns, Original Strategies, and All That Jazz

It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing

Today we are drawing upon the wisdom of JAZZ.

Considered the first American art form, jazz originated in New Orleans, Louisiana, among African-American communities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It then gave the roar to the roaring 20s and birthed R’n’B and rock’n’roll. With no big marketing strategy or advertising campaign behind it, jazz organically spread to the remotest corners of the world. 

In this article, we explore how jazz can help you improvise your way to creating content that will connect you to like-minded people, spark meaningful “jam” sessions, and attract others through your street cred and originality. Follow the music below and you’ll have your marketing strategy swinging in no time!

I. Sing and Swing For Inspiration

In jazz we respond to ideas and visions in our head. We do that by letting go of everything and losing ourselves in the music. If you focus on the sound, it moves through you and clears distractions from your mind. Treat jazz as a mindfulness exercise — anchor yourself in the musical here and now to give creativity a chance to thrive.

It makes no difference if it’s sweet or hot, just give that rhythm everything you’ve got.

Duke Ellington

Successful marketing campaigns require inventive solutions that help us stand out in the crowd. But we also need proper conditions for all this originality to come to us. Apart from taking a walk to clear your head, we encourage you to put on some jazz music and let your mind wander.

With a bit of time and space you can sing and swing your way to inspiration. Imagine you’re in a second line parade — dance with the Muse, and let the rhythm spark new ad campaign ideas. Sing your favorite jazz song and the lyrics might just write one or two Instagram captions for you. In the arts and heritage sector, we need to put our trust in the subject matter and become one with what we want to promote to invite more relevant solutions into our strategies.

II. Learn to Improvise

Jazz is spontaneous, one of its core hallmarks being improvisation. That’s when the best musical sequences are born – in total freedom of expression. The spirit of this genre wants to soar and that’s what art is all about, isn’t it? No boundaries, no rules, no holds barred.

If we learn to improvise in our marketing efforts, who knows what novel ideas, interesting angles, and different approaches might arise to create our unique selling points? Follow what naturally comes out of you. Don’t be afraid to get personal in your content. Experiment with exaptation on your blog (like we’re doing now!), or try switching up your work routine to make room for serendipity. Improvising will make your content and marketing more you.

We can google the specifics about jazz theory the same way we can google solid marketing information, yet art cannot be categorized or labeled. Sometimes we need to stop trying to define everything, or follow a protocol all the time. Freestyling is a marketing strategy too.

III. Unite Your Audience In Jamming

Jazz is a mixture of African-American and European-American traditions, and a combination of ragtime and blues. It’s a blend of various instruments, sounds, chords, vocals, harmonies, and musical responses. With its polyrhythms and swing, jazz is anything and everything you need it to be, with inclusivity at its core. This music genre literally invites all voices to the stage.

Jam sessions are invaluable for both jazz and human connection. As marketers, we always look for ways to actively engage our audience in our endeavors, and jazz teaches us how to do so. Everything about our professional bios, tweets, newsletters, or zoom gatherings should feel inviting to those we want to attract and connect with. In our online and offline communities, we are all different instruments in the same band, learning to adapt and communicate with one another.

Jamming means reaching out to kindred spirits. It unites seemingly unrelated voices into a coherent body of work. Through jamming with others you can make your business inviting to everyone. Plus, even though we ultimately aim to form the smallest viable audience within our niche, diversity breeds newness and innovation.

IV. Start A Jazzy Conversation

Jazz is a creative collaboration. When a person performs a jazz solo, they make a musical statement that organically invites someone else to respond. All of a sudden, that piece of music becomes a dialogue. Even when we’re not sure how to move to the music, jazz is about responding to the energy coming out of the trumpets, piano keys, or Ella Fitzgerald’s vocals. It’s all about connection and communication between people who are experiencing the same form of magic.

It’s also similar to building relationships with other people in your industry and your audience. How close are you to other creatives or people who share the same values and interests? Invite them into your groove. Or think about finding a new jamming partner at your next networking event. When you strum the first note and initiate a conversation, you become a part of a bigger band. Or at the very least, you’re joining the enthusiastic second liners who enjoy the music as much as you do.

V. Take It To The Streets

Music cannot be experienced in its full glory on a sheet of paper. Jazz was born on the streets of New Orleans, out and about, with possibilities waiting around every corner of the Crescent City. This kind of capital F freedom is the very definition of thinking outside the box. Art is in us but art is also out there, where you’ve never been, created by people you have yet to meet.

Take your marketing strategies to the streets. Even if that means literally. Grab a piece of chalk and advertise your business on the pavement. Jazz says, why not? So much of what we think of in marketing has been done before – we need something that sets us apart. What if your colorful ad on the sidewalk catches the eye of the right person? All of a sudden you might be jamming with a whole new audience.

We can also take our business to the streets by attending networking or industry events, advertising in a local newspaper, or posting about what we do on social media. Jazz might’ve not needed much marketing for it to spread globally but if we put in the effort to promote ourselves, we maximize our chances of success on a bigger scale.

It Don’t Mean a Thing, If It Ain’t Got That Swing 

Jazz is saying what you want the way you want. We are often told to pick a niche, however, the way we see it, your content and marketing efforts create your niche, your brand, and your story. The catchy swing of jazz teaches us how to take risks, express ourselves, and connect with others — all valuable pillars of effective marketing. Now, it’s your turn to start jamming, improvising, and swinging.

Celeste and Kinga, the two content creators behind CBA Content, are always open to connecting with new people, be it on social media, over coffee or on the phone. While we specialize in writing content for arts and cultural heritage organizations, we love learning about other fields and collaborating across industries (when it makes sense). Get in touch with us here and let’s have a chat!

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