FORBES: Inside The Cirque Du Soleil Marketing Strategy

Few marketers find themselves digging out of a Covid hole as deep as the one which engulfed Cirque du Soleil.

The firm filed for bankruptcy protection in June 2020, laid off 3,500 employees, then emerged from bankruptcy with a sale to new ownership five months later.

As productions now resume, Cirque du Soleil chief brand officer Keyvan Paymani looks to steer the organization forward. Paul Talbot, contributor at Forbes, recently asked him what’s involved.

Q. What are the key elements in the Cirque Du Soleil marketing strategy?

It all starts and ends with our fans. We have a deeply engaged and supportive community of hundreds of millions of fans who have seen our shows around the world over the past four decades. Keeping fans at the center of how we market, develop products and build commercial growth of our business, and treating marketing as a service to them, is core to what our team aims for with each campaign. What that means in concrete terms is that when we create a new campaign or new strategy for creating commercial intent, the first question we answer is how this benefits our fans. Without that clear perspective, we cannot launch a new initiative that will ultimately be both commercially successful and also build a deeper relationship. We aim to create a class of content that not only entertains our fans, but also offers them a way to actually participate at home, from tutorials to behind-the-scenes tours and AMAs to sneak peaks of our upcoming shows. This content promises our fans more ways to be part of our story and to make memories that last a lifetime with those they love.

Q. How, if at all, does your current marketing strategy differ from what was in place pre-pandemic?

As with most companies in our space, we have looked to how digital experiences augment our connection with our fans. During the height of the pandemic, we launched a new digital platform, Cirque Connect, that allowed us to share our shows with tens of millions of fans all around the world. Since then, we have expanded our strategy to embrace an artist-centric content model that allows our fans to get closer to the performers they love. By focusing on this connection, we have tripled our audience reach in just the last three months as more fans see more of the performers that amaze them. We have created and launched two new digital platforms to offer more experiences for our fans, from additional ways to learn about the inspirations and methods behind our shows, to services that are designed to remove the friction in accessing and participating and to new ways to interact.

Q. What do you want your brand to represent?

We have a unique brand that has been built through nearly four decades of jaw dropping moments and exhibitions of the pinnacle of human performance. We are in the business of wonder and amazement and every experience we create, from our big tops to our residencies and every other venue in between, has at its core something to inspire and amaze audiences of all ages, everywhere. We aim to foster a spark of imagination, a twist of wonderful weirdness, and that intangible element of surprise to create something truly remarkable. This is the core of our brand and the core of what our fans expect us to deliver.

Q. What sort of marketing research do you conduct and what are you hoping to learn?

We test and iterate everything we do and seek out information that helps us to craft better campaigns, improve our fans’ experiences, streamline our commercial offerings and pathways and ultimately create long-lasting relationships with our fans. We treat primary research and real-time feedback as one of our most important connections with our fans and conduct studies on post-performance sentiment, online behavior, attendance and audience engagement around the world.

Q. Any other insights on your Cirque Du Soleil marketing strategy or any other strategy you’d like to share?

It is not enough to say you have an audience or have reach if that does not translate into tangible ways to build and grow the business. Our approach to fan-centric, service-oriented commercialization is built on this premise that brand management, marketing, market development, fan engagement and commercialization are all intertwined together.

{ SOURCE: Forbes }