In a recent post, Paul Rohrbach wrote about U2 and the success of the band’s ticket sales allowing them to expand the summer tour. It is no surprise that U2 made the right decision in announcing its Joshua Tree tour and returning to their roots with the bands unforgettable 1987 album. The roaring ticket sales —1.1 million tickets in less than a day in America and sold out shows in Europe have prompted the group to add more shows to the summer tour. The band will also make their first American festival debut headlining Bonnaroo in June.
Many consider The Joshua Tree as one of the best albums of all time hit No.1 on the charts in over 20 countries and sold over 25 million copies and counting. The Joshua Tree is the album that gave U2 its name and face of the band brand. As they resurface the album, that Bono said he was as happy with the record as humanly possible, the political and social issues it draws attention to be as important now as they were thirty years ago.
The success of the album and ticket sales for the summer tour has been a direct reflection of the group’s marketing techniques. How did they do it? Here are two key takeaways that I think we all can get from U2’s marketing strategies:
Know Your Brand
From the very start, U2 knew who they were and after the release of The Joshua Tree so did the rest of the world. Thirty years later, the group still has the same sound, goals, and markets to meet the needs of their consumers, to please their fans. Celebrating the unforgettable album, the U2 team is promoting the tour with video campaigns and social media hashtags like #U2TheJoshuaTree2017 sparking conversation in online newsrooms for consumers to discuss the album. Additionally, U2 has received a lot of media coverage regarding the band decision to postpone its new album because of the controversial election and focus on its first album instead.
Take Risks with Your Brand
Fans of the Irish rock band have not always been satisfied with their choices. As part of Apple’s iPhone 6 launch in September of 2014, Apple paid U2 $100 million the right to download their newest album Songs of Innocence to iTunes members all over the world and was a ‘commercial flop’ as Paul Rohrbach from Pasta puts it and many fans were irritated with the band’s decision. Many media experts consider this marketing technique negatively and the band received bad publicity and considerable backlash from this decision. However, this is something that they tried, realized didn’t work and moving forward the band promised to return to their traditional ways on their next tour.
U2’s tours have a history of success but what makes the band, the marketing, and the success of the summer tour so memorable are how long the group has managed to continue to be popular with its target audience and the world have evolved since the time the band formed.
I believe that the decision to take a step back from their nearly finished album as a result of the shocking election results is a decision that will benefit their brand identity and allow them to emphasize and evolve their music to the current times and is a perfect time to revisit The Joshua Tree.
The world is a different place but one thing is for sure: U2 has mastered the art of sticking to their brand; taking risks and delivering what their fans and consumers both want and need.