The Edinburgh Fringe is noisy. No, not the plaintiff wheezy whine of the devil’s bellows. I’m overwhelmed by the nauseous pollution; the brash posters littering the streets. Gaudy graphics constructed to hypnotise one’s peripheral vision.
Loud marketing. Dumb ubiquity. Hopeless strategy to attract an audience. On the last count, walking a 400 yard stretch (imperial measurement as decreed by Mr Rees-Mogg), there were over 280 posters without a single standout. Festival marketing requires a big idea. To perform isn’t enough. A gig has to stand out. Folk need to be talking about your show. Think topicality. Using social media is far more effective. To engage the niche however, a big idea is even more important.
I had no formal training when I first rocked up at the Fringe. I didn’t look for guidance in any manuals. I quickly understood the power of captivating stories driving word of mouth. This drove audience into venues. The masses needed the show to live inside their head.
If a show is to survive in this noisy, hyperbolic universe it has to draw people in and make them want to spread the word. Captivating Narratives = Compelling Stories. Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact. It’s worth considering the herd, your audience, your customers and advocates. When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion. They want to connect.
Everyone loves sharing. They want to participate. Because without participating they have nothing interesting or fun to share. A poster and a street hustler engaged to persuade a punter to buy a ticket is not fit for purpose. Strip back your promotion and think of a simple idea that captures the WOM. Without this, the loan you took out is likely to take years to pay back.
If you are still debating why no one is writing about your show, I leave you dear reader with this thought: “Don’t hate the media; become the media” (Jello Biafra).