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Matchbox Twenty: Branding’s Best Band

The nineties were synonymous with a lot of things. Matchbox Twenty was one of them.

Whether were were the grunge kind, the pop kind, or the sole alternative, you knew the name and you knew at least three songs. And if you know them well and saw them live in the nineties, you’re probably feeling a lot of nostalgia at the idea of them rolling through your town again.

Their “A Brief History of Everything Tour” has made stops all across the U.S. with the help of another known band from the nineties—Counting Crows. So for many who were too young to go to the shows in their youth, here’s your chance!

And for those who’ve seen them, but would love another night of leather-jacket wearing, messy-haired having, pop-rock-feeling vibes, here’s your chance too!

But wait, we’re guessing things have changed since the nineties. Matchbox Twenty and UrbanSitter.com guess the same thing.

That’s right, the band knows their demographic and they know what might limit ticket sales: lack of a babysitter. The fans have grown up, they’ve had babies of their own, and they can’t exactly take them to the show. For any fan going to the show who purchased a ticket and used UrbanSitter.com, they’d receive a $50 credit towards babysitting services. Ingenious!

Why was this ingenious? Here are a few reasons:

They knew their audience

Of course their audience were not only made up of the 35+ generation, but by targeting the blockages that their demographics may have towards coming to the show, they realized that this was the biggest obstacle. It wasn’t a no-brainer, they could have offered Uber credits. Why didn’t they? Because that wasn’t the biggest obstacle—transportation is malleable, confident childcare is not.

They got on their level

Instead of touting themselves as rock bands from the nineties who are too cool for kids and parents (probably because they are parents themselves), they owned the reality. They may have free schedules and ample finances for multiple au-pairs but their average listener most likely does not. This embraced the truth of their audience and showed listeners that they acknowledged time has passed; things have changed. It’s almost like they said, “Hey, mid-lives, we still want to see you rock out!” And it worked.

They embraced who they are

The band has realized what and who they are in this time-frame. They are a rock band that’s heralded not only for the catchy songs, but for the nostalgia they bring to the cities and people they show up for. This excerpt from Setlist.fm in an article titled “Matchbox Twenty and Counting Crows Do Nostalgia Right” said it best. When documenting the nostalgia and actions on the stage, the writer stated:

“Front man Rob Thomas…flipped and tossed the mic stand so much that he eventually dropped the microphone with a loud thud onto the ground, just before the beginning of their 2000 hit “Bent.” But the singer laughed it off, telling the crowd, “I was trying to be all cool, but that was definitely not cool,” perhaps at the same time revealing the true secret to nostalgia – if you don’t take yourself too seriously, you can carry your past into the present with grace, reverence, and a healthy dose of joyful self-awareness.”

We’ll personally add to that with this: don’t take yourself too seriously, but do take your brand seriously. At the end of the day, every brand has a chance to know their audience, get on their level and embrace who they are as a brand. Where that becomes difficult, is when you lack the guidance and objective foresight to do so. That’s where great branding agencies come in. Through branding objectives, authenticity can be reborn and re-packaged, regardless of where your business is right now. Don’t be afraid to embrace your authenticity. After all, this is the ‘real world’—Matchbox song pun intended!

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