COVID-19 effect: Inside the Patreon pivot

How the membership platform, needing a quick aboutface in the wake of coronavirus restrictions, turned its concert event into a streamathon that was all about community.

Patreon was all set to host its events over three days during the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, but it was cancelled when everything shut down to limit the spread of coronavirus.

The team shifted gears and in its place debuted 'Weird Stream-A-Thon', a virtual bonanza focused heavily on supports the arts and. performance community.

SXSW is an annual film, music and creative festival and conference which usually runs each year in Austin, Texas, in the middle of March. Patreon senior events marketing manager, Jane Kwett, told CMO the membership platform had been planning for its second year at SXSW but about a week ahead of time, it got the message it was to be cancelled completely.

“This had been roughly six months of our team and a lot of resources going into a three-day hosted event. We had 42 artists talk on panels and musical showcases. It was a very large-scale event with a lot of moving parts,” Kwett said.

When the extent of the shutdown started to become clear, the team shifted gears. The result was a three-hour livestream event to help raise funds for artists, performers and creators impacted by COVID-19.

“It was becoming clearer that this was going to hit artists really, really hard. And artists are our community,” Kwett continued.

“So we pulled in a lot of the creators who were supposed to be at our house. They were enthusiastically ready to partake and we had everybody on our team supporting it.”

Patreon has committed the funds raised during the streamathon to a new grant program, What the Fund, and is putting together a diverse committee of creators to review applications and pick recipients of these funds.

Switching to virtual

First was the logistical and workload challenge of creating the virtual event in a week. But Patreon also needed to get the right tone, given the gravity of the crisis brought on by the pandemic and the shutdowns, Kwett explained.

“It was about how you do something fun while also being sensitive to the things that are happening in people's lives and the impact,” she said.

“We’re very heart-forward as a company so we tapped into that authentic sensibility and listened to our creators, listened to what’s happening for them and let them take more of the stage. That was really special.”

Nonetheless, Patreon was still faced with the challenge of getting the reach for its event, even though it has a ready-made platform of creators and fans and supporters. The company used Splash’s enterprise capabilities to help pivot to an online experience and in the end had 7000 fans register and 10,000 viewers attend the streamathon.

Since that first event, Patreon has taken the idea and broken it down into smaller, regular events. It’s now developed a weekly series as an extension, which enables artists to see other artists on a regular basis and be able to connect with each other online. 

“It’s a smaller version where people can show up and take a break from whatever they're going through and learn about a new artist or listen to a new song and also have that inspiration,” Kwett said.

Reflecting on the rapid shift to a completely virtual performance event, Kwett said it’s about working in a way that’s authentic but also appealing by tapping into the community and what it needs and what it wants in the moment. And while it might seem counter-intuitive given the shift in execution, she said it’s not a time to “overthink strategy”.

“It’s about what you need rather than the message,” Kwett said. “As a marketer, sometimes you get so consumed by your own message, you kind of forget about what your community needs to hear.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia.


Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

More Videos

fdgfd www.google.com

Caroline Natalia

How WW shifted physical engagement to virtual success in 5 days

Read more

I found decent information in your article. I am impressed with how nicely you described this subject, It is a gainful article for us. Th...

Daniel Hughes

What 1800 Flowers is doing to create a consistent customer communications experience

Read more

Extremely informative. One should definitely go through the blog in order to know different aspects of the Retail Business and retail Tec...

Sheetal Kamble

SAP retail chief: Why more retailers need to harness data differently

Read more

It's actually a nice and helpful piece of info. I am satisfied that you shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us informed ...

FIO Homes

How a brand facelift and content strategy turned real estate software, Rockend, around

Read more

I find this very strange. The Coles store i shop in still has Flouro lights? T though this would have been the 1st thing they would have ...

Brad

Coles launches new sustainability initiative

Read more

Blog Posts

9 lessons from 7 months of relentless failure

The most innovative organisations embrace failure. Why? Because it is often through failing the most creative out-of-box thinking happens. And with it comes vital learning opportunities that bring new knowledge and experience into teams.

Jacki James

Digital product lead, Starlight Children's Foundation

Why conflict can be good for your brand

Conflict is essentially a clash. When between two people, it’s just about always a clash of views or opinions. And when it comes to this type of conflict, more than the misaligned views themselves, what we typically hate the most is our physiological response.

Kathy Benson

Chief client officer, Ipsos

Brand storytelling lessons from Singapore’s iconic Fullerton hotel

In early 2020, I had the pleasure of staying at the newly opened Fullerton Hotel in Sydney. It was on this trip I first became aware of the Fullerton’s commitment to brand storytelling.

Gabrielle Dolan

Business storytelling leader

Sign in