Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Final Smash!

The biggest video game release of the year, Nintendo’s eagerly awaited Smash Bros., is finally coming to stores in just a few short weeks. As a fan of Smash Bros., I await the next installment with as much excitement as I do the next Weird Al album, because I know these releases are few and far between. I’d like to draw your attention to one particular element of Smash Bros., which could be a vital strategy to promote your a cappella group.

To better understand the game, first you should visit their website: http://www.smashbros.com/us/

You’ll see a huge list of new and old characters that you can choose from, and every new character, known as a newcomer, has their own introduction video and special poster. Nintendo, in order to generate huge buzz and keep interest alive, releases a newcomer video every so often, and each video release is timed perfectly with a national event for maximum exposure. The moment a newcomer is introduced, every geeky website, video game website, and toy website makes the release a major headline.

This marketing strategy, the equivalent to dangling a carrot in front of a hungry rabbit, is one of the most reliable, and effective ways of generating buzz, and a cappella groups such as Street Corner Symphony, Musae, and Pentatonix, have used the teaser method successfully. But what if your group is not as buzz-worthy as Pentatonix? How can you utilize the same method of marketing when your fan base doesn’t match the staggering numbers of more popular pro groups?

Here are some ways to borrow the Smash Bros. model to increase your fan base:

1) Introduce your characters

Like Smash Bros., it wasn’t the prospect of the overall game that first intrigued fans...it was the release of major characters. Your group may not have the fan base to make each member memorable, but in my opinion, that’s your own fault. What if, each week, you released a “get to know you” video, dedicated to one of your members? That would increase your video output two-fold, give you a chance to highlight some of your recordings as background music, and expand your creativity. Every group does a webpage about who each member is. BORING! No one does a “get to know you” video of the week. Why not start now?

2) Think Outside of the Box…WAY outside the box.

One of the big things Smash Bros. has going for it is the inclusion of non-Nintendo characters, some of whom fans would never think they’d see in a Nintendo first-party game. This upcoming version of Smash Bros. has two major characters, Pac-Man and Mega Man, as playable characters. Now, you could have a four-way fight between the four biggest gaming mascots of all time: Pac-Man vs. Mega Man vs. Mario vs. Sonic.

Try to answer this question, and when you come up with the answer, do it immediately: What is the one thing every a cappella fan really wants, but doesn’t have yet?

3) Stream live

A cappella groups are famous for their Youtube posts, but how many groups stream live concerts and make a big deal out of it? Very few, if any. Nintendo has been making big waves lately with their live stream announcements, in the model of Apple, where they announce new platform games, as well as a new tidbit about Smash Bros. What if your group streamed live?

4) Duels

Here I go again…the Riff-off. People, Smash Bros. is famous because it is a fighting game. People love conflict, they love winners and losers, they love to see epic battles of good versus evil. In a cappella, that’s called a riff-off. No one has done it yet…

Marc Silverberg

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