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Posts Tagged ‘Busking

Medical Device Firms Using Social Media, Step #3: A Busker’s Tip for Making Friends in the World

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Studio perfect or street-corner authentic?

Studio perfect or street-corner authentic?

When thinking about social media or advertising, there’s a familiar hurdle for every medical device marketer: a narrow audience. Unless you are marketing consumer goods, most target audiences need to be found through existing channels that cater to the specific needs of that particular, well-defined audience. It was a function of our old scarcity economy, where there were few channels that spoke directly to, say electrophysiologsts. So we ponied up our advertising dollars to buy a double-truck ad in PACE.

But communication is changing as fast as media opportunities emerge. How to take advantage of them? Let a busker answer the question. For Rob Firenix, a fire-dancing comic I met in Windsor, Ontario at the International Busker Festival, the best part of busking is “speaking directly to the audience.” Standing before an audience he has gathered lets him tweak material and get instant feedback.

Glen Hansard, the Irish musician, “Once” actor and Oscar winner (with Marketa Irglova) for best song started his artistic life as a busker. “When you are playing in the street, you are open to the street around you. The street becomes your club and people start to trust you.” Hansard describes the difference (around six minutes into this World Cafe  recording) between making music in the studio and making it on the street. The studio allows the opportunity to perfect the sound while putting together something light and airy out in the public has a different kind of authenticity.

After looking for dialogue partners and pursuing the important internal conversations, find a way to get your conversation going with the people you want to reach. You want to start a conversation that will attract the dialogue partners whom you would have only received 10% interest from with your PACE print ad. But engaging them the way a busker attracts and holds an audience is worth the effort. Find your dialogue partners with authentic posts, useful information and well, entertainment.


Why not start today?


Busking and the Urge to Hone Your Craft

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Meet Rob Firenix. He’s a British showman, part juggler, part fire dancer, part street actor and stand-up comic who has traveled and worked in 55 countries. I met him last weekend in Windsor, Ontario at the International Busker Festival.

Rob Firenix is Captain Underpants

Rob Firenix is Captain Underpants

While Windsor city workers remained on strike (14 weeks plus), garbage piled high around garbage cans with parks and museums going to seed, Mr. Firenix and other buskers honed their craft for free (at least until they passed the hat), depending on delighting the crowd to earn their keep. It’s worked for the last eight years for Mr. Firenix.

With a background in corporate theater and experience choreographing large shows, he found he loved the freedom of performing live before audiences on the street. Pulling from another earlier job of working with people with disabilities, Mr. Firenix wants to make things accessible for everyone. It’s this attention to making the show easy to understand that also brings in the levity.

“I love it when people can have a laugh.”

One of the best parts of busking is “speaking directly to his audience” said Mr. Firenix. He is constantly tweaking his show to see what laughs he can get and how he can go further in delighting his audience.  His current show is a character-based performance (“Captain Underpants”) that often features a pair of audience members in the ridiculous tights as well.

Was his craft comedy? Or was it the juggling or firedancing?

“The show is the craft,” he said. “Getting people to stay and enjoy the show is the craft.” He explained that a crowd may watch a person juggle for three or four minutes, but there has to be something more.

“It’s all about presentation.”

Willing Audience Members. In Tights.

Willing Audience Members. In Tights.

As a communicator, I found myself in awe of Firenix and other buskers who worked on their craft out in the open, depending on impulse generosity for their bread. It’s a gutsy way to go about work—especially poignant in a city on strike because of limited post-retirement benefits. It says he is serious about the craft, that honing the craft is not a luxury but a necessity. It also points to the presentation as something of primary importance: people need to be engaged and stay engaged or they walk away.

Buskers also show there can be more to work than money.


Written by kirkistan

July 22, 2009 at 9:04 pm

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