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Elevating the Social Presence of an International Superstar

Client: Usher Raymond II
Services: Digital Strategy, Social Strategy,Creative

 

Elevating the Social Presence
of an International Superstar

A few of us were tapped to be a part of a very small in-house creative team, independent from the record label, for Usher–one of the most famous and universally loved artists in the world.

We had a year to re-establish his brand with a 7-figure budget, however, there were big factors to consider:

– A confirmed hosting spot on NBC’s “The Voice”
– A tentative album release in Q3 of 2014
– A confirmed world tour in Q4 of 2014

To fully utilize these moments in favor of the goal, cross-marketing on many platforms was required, both for his personal brand and his album promo rounds. We settled on these tasks:

– Pick 2 radio singles + concept for music videos
– Tiered social strategy for UR’s personal accounts
– Strategic digital activations 
– Album creative (art direction + branding)
– Strategic brand partnerships

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HOW WE MADE IT BRILLIANT

A rebrand crafted to define a core public image that Usher wanted to portray for himself via his music, social media, and other creative outlets.

In addition to creating brand assets, marketing collateral and full-scale design for him, we created a mix of original content + strategic social activations that would end up being pivotal in boosting his following threefold. 

to activate his presence on NBC’s “The Voice”, we worked closely with the Usher, his photographer and producers of the show to vigorously promote the season across social media by creating #TEAMUSHER, Usher’s online fanclub–which we ultimately leveraged to aid Usher’s show mentee, Josh Kaufman, in gaining votes and ears for his music. #TEAMUSHER’s engagement propelled Josh Kaufman’s show single reaching top 10 on the iTunes Top 200 Singles chart, and ultimately winning the 2014 Season of The Voice.

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AN INTERESTING INSIGHT

While observing Usher’s interactions and tonality throughout the season, we found that “light-hearted humor” and “sexual innuendo” were the core things Usher’s fans reacted to that drove social engagement.

We used this insight + Josh Kaufman’s momentum on the show for personal brand gain that would make it all worthwhile. We made a trip to Atlanta to capture additional content in an effort to continue driving awareness and engagement with Usher’s audience – especially to his newfound Instagram following. 

This resulted in shooting a series of loosely scripted, :15 videos that leveraged his recent victory, while also creating content around the NBA playoffs – both of which were trending topics in social at the time.

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THE RESULT

We curated multiple campaigns with different concepts over the course of the year to gradually increase engagement and follower base from 2.8M in June 2014 to 5.3M in February 2015.

To date, they are still some of the most highly-engaged posts that his Instagram has ever had and have set the tone for how he engages with his fans in an organic and light-hearted way.

The initial goal was a 40% increase in all social following–aggregately it was raise by over 165%. We also had some Facebook breakthroughs during his time on NBC’s “The Voice” by organically reaching a record breaking 75% of his Facebook fanbase and engaging 45% of that fanbase. A big and unexpected milestone was also achieved– Usher’s Facebook profile had the highest engagement percentage of all entertainment public figure profiles in 2014.

The re-engaged fanbase allowed him to catapult in popularity amongst a younger and more diverse fanbase and created leverage for him to secure a world tour the following year.