Social Listening featured image - How Fender Used Machine Learning And Social Listening Through Social Media For Success

In the past, all the smartest brands making use of social media have relied on tools that help with social listening to analyse and assess their audience and brand image brands such as have adopted this approach for a long time, however, as time has moved on, that is not enough anymore and as well as actually measuring these metrics, companies want to understand the why behind them.

Fender, the musical instrument manufacturer, are a perfect working example of this shift. Without a doubt, one of the greatest guitar brands in the world and close rivals to the other giants of the guitar world – Gibson, Fender has been revolutionising music and its culture since the 40’s and are not only one of the world’s biggest musical instrument manufacturers, but also marketers and distributors too.

Keenly aware of the need to listen to their audience utilise social media most effectively the company has been revolutionising how it uses this format.

The company has been using cutting edge tools for analysing social media, that is constructed from AI and incredibly powerful machine learning technologies. These allow companies, in this case Fender, to explore the finer points of their consumer’s purchase intent and sentiment and discover new audience trends and affinities as they start to surface and evolve.

At the SMWLA event last year, the Social Media Strategy head of Fender, Stephanie Nordstrom gave a talk all about how the company are using these tools to keep Fender in pole position. The tools they have been working with were designed and created by highly renowned social media analytics Crimson Hexagon.

Along with her team and the brand analytics tools devised by Crimson Hexagon, they have been pushing deeper to better understand exactly who their current audience is, how it can target new audiences, monitoring for any foreseeable dangers and developing new marketing campaigns for new lines and products.

According to Nordstorm, as is true of many companies, one of the key aspects of their marketing efforts is the company’s social media channels. As well as marketing the company they also help to build the community between them and their audience and helps to the brand’s story.

Fender’s social media accounts therefore, are more than just a direct sales tool, but are also to increase brand awareness to improve the infinity customers have with the brand, building loyalty in the company and leading conversations and overall establishing and developing a positive sentiment among people.

When they started following these monitoring and listening strategies they were able to discover what the audience felt and wanted and change tactics as appropriate.

With Nordstorm and her social media team using Crimson Hexagon tools, they were able to achieve an additional 1 million more fans for Fender’s social media accounts during the previous year.

Social Listening Helping To Reach Previously Untapped Audiences

Fender have always predominately had a strong core following of older guitar players who are mostly male and who know Fender inside and out. The company and Nordstorm wanted to try and reach out to young female acoustic guitar players and therefore, made use of Crimson Hexagon to find out exactly what was being said about buying guitars by younger females on social media.

Fender made an interesting discovery. Fender were under the misconception that younger females were only interested in playing acoustic guitars. However, social listening showed that they are actually also interested in electric guitars too. As a result of these findings, Fender developed more marketing campaigns aimed at women.

Monitoring Any Foreseeable Dangers

Dangers can also be monitored effectively using social listening. For instance, when the Republican National Convention used the Fender trademark guitar design for its logo, the manufacturer was justifiably worried that their fans would react negatively to their guitar being used by a political party.

Fender after all are a non-partisan and while the logo was altered slightly so it wasn’t a complete match to Fender’s trademark, the company was still worried.

So they used social listening to find out exactly what their fans would think and say about this. Fans were actually upset at RNC for using that logo, but not with Fender themselves. As a result of these findings, they decided to leave the situation to settle on its own and didn’t make a comment or statement 

Developing New Marketing Campaigns For New Product Lines

Fender have also used machine learning and social listening when it comes to developing new marketing campaigns for new product lines. When the time arrived for the company to release the Flea signature bass guitar, Fender expanded and increased their campaign and helped spread it through all their social media channels using social learning.

Just before the bass guitar was officially launched, the social media team assessed all conversations about Flea that were trending as a way of determining the best kind of marketing campaign to launch the new instrument to their audience.

Research revealed that RHCP and Flea fans liked his unique and quirky individuality and personality. This is what motivated Fender to introduce the #MyFleaStyle competition and marketing campaign.

It wasn’t just before running a campaign that Fender used the Crimson Hexagon tools, as they used them during the contest too to help track people who entered the competition and to find out how people reacted to the marketing campaign.

As is obvious from the above, the reason Fender are so successful is thanks to their ability to assess what their customers want and clean them properly. Although the above is a complete learning example, four important points are raised by it:

  • Make full use of online listening to learn more about your audience
  • Follow through on opportunities to reach out to new and different people to expand their audience market
  • Assess and observe conversations that their audience were participating in
  • Brainstorm and develop new marketing campaigns using online tools from Crimson Hexagon.

Other musical instrument manufacturing brands could take a leaf out of Fender’s book and use a similar approach to its social media.

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