By Chloe Lyzun, Management Coordinator
In the fall of 2010, a few friends and I followed the sound of live music past the “mall,” cafeteria and bookstore. It was there that I heard the song that would define my college years and play at every major college event for the next four years. The band performing was high-energy and, despite playing for only a few dozen college students, looked to be having the time of their lives. It was obvious that this unknown, face-painted foursome had talent and would someday be playing bigger venues than a Butler University Starbucks, but in that moment it was clear that the guys in Walk the Moon were on top of the world.
Soon after, I became sorority sisters with their manager and was given a mixed CD with a few of the band’s “popular” songs. I was immediately hooked. During the summer after my freshman year of college, I was making copies of their independent record release, I Want! I Want!, for anyone who would take them. This band had stolen my heart and I was determined to be part of their success story.
Walk the Moon returned to campus a few more times, sometimes playing for tired dancers at Dance Marathon or in someone’s grandparents’ garage. Their last free show at school came in December of 2011, when the band played for the largest number of Butler students I’d ever seen jumping, dancing and singing together. “Anna Sun” had never sounded better. Because it was college, and no one had money, the boys slept in the sorority’s TV room (which was definitely not allowed) and ate brunch with us the next morning. It was clear that Walk the Moon was going to be Butler’s band (even though they’re from Cincinnati) and we were going to support them on whatever journey laid ahead.
The next few years went by in a flash and were highlighted with Walk the Moon-related moments: sixty-plus girls crowded into a stuffy TV room to watch “our” band play on Jimmy Fallon’s show, (a video I’ve now seen thousands of times); my parents calling the phone at my summer retail job to scream and tell me they heard “Tightrope” on an HP commercial; and voting for “Anna Sun” to become MTV’s Song of the Summer, which it did.
Now, not a day goes by that I don’t hear them on the radio. “Shut Up and Dance” has gone double platinum, they’ve performed on every major late night show and you can even see Ellen Degeneres and Al Roker dancing with them.
The point of this post is not to brag about my early exposure to such a phenomenal group of guys. Walk the Moon created a brand just like any client we see in agency life. They identified their target audience, solidified their brand image, used social media for strategic communications and made sure every tweet, performance or interview was “on brand.”
The methods they used to build a secure, loyal fan base are universal. Engage with your audience from the very beginning and they’ll stick with you until the end. Walk the Moon was never “too big” to remember the little guys. They still interact with Butler on social media, humbly pronounce that they owe everything to the tenacity of their fans and continue to star friends and family in their music videos.
As for the sorority sister managing them four years ago? They hired her as their touring manager when she graduated. Ah, the life.