With A Little Help From Your Friends

There is one thing that every new brand needs to get cut-through in any marketplace. Good friends. These are friends that already have cut-through. Friends that hold great influence over their followers. And friends whose mere association will do wonders for your brand. A concept which Broadway star Audra McDonald truly understands.

Audra McDonald

Audra McDonald has come all the way from the United States to wow Australian audiences this week. But she isn’t just sticking to the well-known classics which she is renowned for singing. She is, of course, singing many of these classics but they are interspersed with some lesser known numbers from new up-and-coming performers.

In between many of the American Musical Theatre song book favourites from Annie Get Your Gun, Porgy & Bess, A Little Night Music, Cabaret and The Sound of Music, Audra McDonald turned to the more recent American musical composers for inspiration. Featuring songs from Adam Gwon, Marcy Heisler, Zina Goldrich and (our very own) Kate Miller-Heidke, she is doing more than simply raising awareness amongst her devoted audience. Because she holds such a position of influence over her audience – who are in awe of her impressive talents – performing those songs also adds a stamp of approval.

And this stamp of approval will inspire action from her followers!

Due to this influential position, a large segment of her audience will follow this ‘recommendation’ and check out these new up-and-comers themselves creating a new audience for their work as a result of this brand association.

But this kind of association isn’t uncommon in the theatre – it just often goes the other way. Take the latest production of Cats for an example. Delta Goodrem holds huge influence over her hands, and her much celebrated performance in this revival not only enhances the audience’s experience but puts a stamp of approval on the show for her non-musical fans. They will heed her ‘recommendation’ (through her involvement) and do some research on the show . . . hopefully leading to increased ticket purchases and the start of a long future of ticket purchasing for this form of entertainment.

Brand associations are as powerful as they are instant. They are the modern version of a recommendation. But they are also risky as someone is resting their powerful brand reputation on this association. If their audience don’t enjoy the associated artist/performance/experience then both brands are damaged, which is why you can trust it because these brand associations aren’t entered into lightly!

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