When the pandemic shuttered live music, legacy guitar brand Fender needed to adapt quickly to the new world of online performances, with musicians jamming out and recording from their homes. Enter TikTok!
TikTok is known for its creator-driven platform and easy-to-use editing tools - and it was clear that for Fender to launch and sustain its presence on the app, partnering with influencers and artists would significantly help propel Fender into their consumers’ FYP (for you page) and leveraging native app features and tools to bring videos to life.
With over 160M #Fender video views and 6B #guitar video views toward the end of 2021, the entertainment app was primed for Fender to reach and engage Gen Z music fans, guitar players and new players in new and unexpected ways.
In October 2021, Fender with the support of Praytell, launched its TikTok channel, achieving a record-breaking milestone in 6 months: 1 million followers. The brand’s primary objective was to establish and sustain a Fender-owned TikTok channel by building brand affinity among its primary audiences – new and existing guitar players.
Fender’s TikTok success did not happen serendipitously. Before diving head first into TikTok, Praytell partnered with Fender to:
Conduct thorough social listening to understand the types of conversations and shares around guitar playing on the app
Gather platform user insights to understand the existing landscape
Facilitate a competitor audit to understand how other brands were tapping into TikTok.
TikTok’s authentic approach to content - passion over polish - flipped the script for the music industry, creating viral music hits and launching musician’s careers seemingly overnight. Through this research, Praytell and Fender determined its target audiences were seeking brands they trust and entertainment on the platform.
To make a name for Fender on TikTok, Praytell developed a robust strategic approach, led with creative brand storytelling and told through the unique perspectives of various artists and influencers actively on the app, and dedicated community management. Fender’s strategy consisted of the following:
Stay channel-first by keeping trends, hashtags, creative direction, and sounds top-of-mind
Proactive and reactive community management for deeper engagement
Optimize through measurement and in-app analytics to constantly evolve content strategy
Tap into existing Guitar Community conversations to grow followers
Expand the brand’s reach with existing and new artist and influencer partnerships
Post frequently and consistently for top FYP presence
To tug at the guitar strings of Gen Z TikTokers, Fender launched its channel with three storytelling pillar focuses: product, education and lifestyle. Each content calendar (month), Praytell collaborated with Fender to execute the following owned, earned and paid tactics:
Owned content creation, showcasing new product launches, guitar riffs and product demos, custom Fender shop creations, and tapping into trending moments, ensuring the content remained authentic to platform user behaviors and offered tips and educational opportunities (TikTok is an extension and complementary to Fender’s ‘new player’ app, Fender Play)
Artist and influencer partnership content series, leveraging up and coming musicians like Blu DeTiger and Hannah Dasher, classic guitarists like Laila Masumi and a range of music loving Gen Z influencers from Adam Wright to Ebony Loren to share their riffs, best advice for new players and more
Community management, fostering a positive dialogue with brand loyalists and bringing new fans into the music world
Paid media content amplification, partnering with the brand’s other agencies to amplify organic content that was gaining momentum
Content measurement, analyzing performance data and transforming insights into actionable next steps whether new partnerships, trending content ideas, removal of under performing content series
Public relations, collaborating with Fender’s PR team to elevate its TikTok channel journey, brand priorities and key milestones through earned media coverage from publications like Forbes, Guitar World, Ad Age, Guitar.com, MusicRadar and more
Within the first week on the platform, Fender’s TikTok grew to nearly 20K followers. In the first six months from launch (September 2021), Fender’s channel hit 1 MILLION followers, 134M video views, and an average engagement rate of 3.88%. Within 11 months of the Agency’s work with Fender, Fender’s channel hit approximately 1.3 million followers, received a total of 194M video views, and had an average engagement rate of over 4%. As of September 2022, Fender continues to see an uptick in follower growth and channel engagement, securing over 1.7M followers, garnering over 8M engagements, and has received 956.9M views of the #Fender hashtag, which is approximately a 500% increase in branded hashtag views from launch.
The top performing content series included “Fender Sessions” featuring Artists jamming out on their guitars and “One Month, One Minute,” featuring musicians and influencers learning to play guitar over the span of one month, cut down into a 1-minute videos, showcasing their progression.
Praytell and Fender evaluated its TikTok posts on a per post level, analyzing results weekly, monthly and quarterly to identify macro trends and shifts to its content strategy and executions. The pair regularly evaluated its channel, voice and tone, partnerships and community chatter to inform pivots to Fender’s overall app presence and effectiveness in meeting its objectives. Throughout Praytell and Fender's partnership, we successfully grew Fender's TikTok presence to a place where new and skilled guitar players could come to learn and have an entertaining experience.