How a Show Benefits From Being Shareable

Once a show or event becomes “cool,” tickets get easier to sell. As marketers of live entertainment, we know this instinctively. Celebrities courtside at a team’s games or long lines of well-dressed, attractive people outside a venue show the world that somebody thinks these events are special in that slightly magical way that makes them more than just good entertainment value for the money.

In fact, once a show becomes “cool,” the value equation changes a lot. Instead of price conscious, potential buyers go a little nuts, paying just about anything to get in.

But what does it mean for something to be cool? This piece in Pacific Standard summarizes the recent findings on product coolness done by social scientists for the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies. Here’s what they discovered:

Products were cool because they were attractive, innovative, but also because it “helped the user assert his/her uniqueness or subcultural identity.” In other words, if the product was useful, looked good and was new, that wasn’t typically enough. It also had to have some value in helping that person establish their identity as part of a group.

In other words, iPhones are cool partly because it shows that you are an iPhone person, not simply because of the balance of usefulness and cost.

That’s why knowing and serving your audience of fans and supporters is so important. You can’t go halfway with this, or you end up with a “solid” show that has no social value. You can say it’s a great show and the prices are fair and the venue is nice, but to get a breakout result (in other words, to become “cool”), it has to has social currency.

Easier said than done, of course, but if your organization has control over its content, you can work on it and get better at it. Eventually, you should be able to crack the code on cool!

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