Corbyn & Grime: Reaching Out To Your Untapped Audience

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Look, I know you’re probably bored of being reminded to go out and vote (but seriously make sure you do it) and fed up with each leader’s tactics on their campaign trails but there’s no denying that Jeremy Corbyn has done something many of us wish to achieve. He reached out to and engaged with an untapped audience. SUCCESSFULLY. Crazy right? To some, it may even be the most surprising audience. The Grime music scene.

This isn’t some weird non-marketing blog that’s trying to make you ‘Vote 4 Corbz’ he’s just done a really cool thing that should be acknowledged and maybe we can even take a leaf out of his book. For those not familiar with the genre, grime music started in the early 2000s in London and developed from earlier UK music styles including Garage, Ragga and Hip Hop. Artists include Dizzee Rascal, Wiley, Kano and more.

Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn has recently been endorsed by influential Grime artists including Stormzy, Novelist, Akala and JME. His popularity with this demographic is down to the fact he has made more of an effort to engage with this community, for example sitting down and discussing issues with these stars, compared to other politicians. Aligning some of his policies with this community’s ideals has also helped build this relationship as has his political history, for example, there are iconic images of Corbyn being arrested as part of a 1984 anti-apartheid protest.

His success is deemed as unusual in the political world however, there is no doubt his strategy and success is something other politicians wish they could achieve. But, what can we learn from this and apply it to our own world in the hope of reaching out to an untapped audience we long to engage with?


Go Where Future Clients Are Already Fans.

Funnily enough, it’s easier to find customers and followers where your fans already are. For example, Hendricks Gin successfully reached out to Hipsters by positioning themselves for those who are inquisitive. By understanding the psychographic qualities rather than the demographic, Hendricks were able to assimilate into the hipster environment naturally especially as craft cocktails were on the rise. Their success shows that by representing what your audience believes in and likes you can seamlessly reach out to them.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn knew that the Grime scene was an untapped audience that had been ignored by politicians for years. He understood that the fairly young demographic wanted their opinions to be heard by someone; so decided this was an audience he felt he could help and therefore reached out to them in the hope of gaining new Labour supporters. By having a political manifesto that includes people who associate with Grime and the issues that affect them, Corbyn was able to gain new supporters as they believed in the same things. However, no one could have predicted how successful this could have been, as it has given him street credibility other politicians dream of.


Spread a Message You Believe in, Even if it Doesn’t Directly Impact You.

Businesses nowadays should be campaigning and implementing eco-friendly practices into the workplace. Whether it’s recycling paper or putting a footer at the end of emails asking people not to print them, it’s all a way of spreading a message to create a better world even though it doesn’t directly impact the business, although it does help. There are plenty of messages to spread from workplace diversity and equality to poverty and homelessness, but to be truly passionate about it, you must believe in it rather than just doing it for your image. It’s easy to spot when someone is faking it.

From Labour’s perspective, aside from their political policies, they have encouraged the importance of voting. As many of us know, young people are the least likely to vote but by reaching out to Grime stars, Labour has leveraged influential people who have become advocates in encouraging people to vote and spread their message further.  Corbyn is grateful to have the support of so many grime artists, and for all that they have done to encourage young people to register to vote, and to raise awareness of poverty, racism, injustice, and mental health" said a spokesperson for the Labour leader. He knows the importance of just getting more people into politics, having a voice and voting should take precedence over communicating his policies and getting people to vote Labour. Rag’n’Bone Man in an interview with Channel 4 said “I’ve seen [in Jeremy Corbyn], a man that speaks with passion and I can relate to what he says”

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Hire People who Reflect Your Audience

For any company, it’s important to hire a diverse range of people that believe in your business’ vision and values. By creating a business with diverse employees who have similar interests to your audiences it helps you to understand what appeals to them better. However, you can’t just go hiring people who like sport because you want to reach out the sporting demographic, your employees still need to be advocates for your business. 

Which is why many Grime stars, who are passionate vegans, were impressed when Corbyn elected Kerry McCarthy, a fellow vegan, as Shadow Health Secretary. More people on the Grime scene became invested in what Corbyn had to say because they could relate to specific people within his cabinet. This is similar to the way people resonate with what Emma Watson has to say about her views on equality and the He for She campaign, people believe in what she says so support the campaign.


Reach Out to Your Audience in Ways They Prefer

Each demographic likes to interact with brands differently, some prefer to Tweet a business when they’ve had a good or bad experience whereas others may prefer to share the latest campaign video online. As a business, you need to understand the ways in which your audience will engage with you and reach out to them in their preferred way, even if it’s a way you’re not currently using like Snapchat. Basically, just get on their level.

Grime artists don’t use traditional methods to get their music heard, they prefer to publish their music in a way they control; via social media. Many don’t use mainstream record labels as they don’t feel labels can be trusted instead, artists publish videos online or create their own record labels. Labour took a similar approach and rejected the mainstream media from attending his public talks, deciding that those who were there could share his speech on their own social media if they wanted to, thus appealing even further to those within the Grime scene. It’s worth noting that when media teams were invited, they were only allowed to attend on a controlled, rota basis so no one could follow Corbyn daily, ensuring that his words could not be twisted into a convoluted way. Corbyn also uses Twitter himself and although their supporters probably use different platforms, it’s clear to see Corbyn has got on to his supporters level and used Twitter sending out 7,852 lifetime tweets compared to Theresa May’s 245 lifetime tweets.

The message here is to focus on animosity. Building an audience or following that can see your business purpose is done for them out of passion and not entirely for news headlines or company profits has more potential for long-term success. People can tell when you do something fake; be clear about your business efforts and what you’re trying to achieve and people will naturally follow.

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Be Open to What Your Audience Throws at You –Good or Bad

Brand campaigns can be great but they can also go really badly. For example, Pepsi’s recent campaign featuring Kendall Jenner did not go down well with the public and was mocked because trivialised demonstrations and protests aimed at tackling social justice causes. As a company, you may believe your marketing efforts are sound and will be clearly communicated to your audience and hopefully, they will be. However, you must always be prepared to face comments good or bad.

In Labour’s case, Jeremy Corbyn was incorporated into an art piece by Reuben Dangoor that inspired a meme (see image below). For most political parties this would have been seen as the leader being mocked; however, in this case, it was a way for an artist to express that Corbyn is one of them. Dangoor was quoted “There was a lot dabbing in the media, and lots of kids at school doing it. And I just quite liked the idea of the juxtaposition of a politician doing it with any sort of credibility... It just kinda made me laugh. […] It just felt like the connection between – and I hate using the word youth culture – but that sort of crossover between young people having a part to play in his success in that particular campaign."

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Your audience may even embrace you into their own group. Many Grime fans joked about how the Labour leader is now a member of Boy Better Know, the record label and crew JME and his brother Skepta created. Your brand’s fans may even set up groups related to your business, Momentum and Grime4Corbynare groups created to show their support for Corbyn, however, they state they support the Labour leader, not the Party itself.

Either way, this all helps to create conversations around your brand which should help build brand awareness and generate leads/sales.


Let Your Supporters Speak for You

Brands dream of the day all their customers become brand advocates, because, as we know, these people do more for a brand than any campaign. Advocates are the ones who are loyal and will support the business for years on end, they will share this message with friends and family and word of mouth marketing is still one of the strongest forms.

Labour has managed to amount a huge number of advocates within the Grime scene, all of whom express their loyalty and support on social platforms as a way of telling others resulting in the Labour party gaining a huge following, including other celebrities from around the globe. If you can achieve this level of support for your brand, every single marketer in existence will be jealous.

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It’s interesting to see how many people involved in the Grime scene are strong supporters of Corbyn and the Labour campaign. No one could ever have predicted this happening and it’s something many politicians are likely to be jealous of. However, his success can only be put down to the fact he has communicated his message authentically, transparently, in a way he wants, to the people he wants and stuck to what he believes in whether it directly impacts his campaign or not–something that as a brand we should all take note of. If you believe in what you do, people will come to you. 


Perceptive Flow offers a range of digital marketing services including outreach, social media and other marketing services so you can reach your untapped audience. Get in touch.

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