Guest Lecture: Ear to the Ground

Craig Gamblen

Recently, students on the Music Business and Creative Industries course were given a guest lecture by Dolan Hewison, Operations Director at Ear to the Ground (EttG), an events and marketing company based in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Invited in by Jo Hilditch, who works closely with Ettg, to secure internships for students. Jo has successfully placed more than 10 students with them, who have since gone on to work in industry.

Established over 15 years ago, EttG work with ambitious brands helping them get more from their sport and music assets. Their mission is to understand the emotion, devotion and irrationality that make ‘fans’ behave so differently from ‘consumers’. They use this creative process to enable them to produce activations and campaigns that fan bases will like, follow, share, and most importantly love.

Recently Alex Merritt, a 3rd year Music Business student, spent his summer with EttG working in brand activation.

Alex worked on a number of campaigns during his time there. This included a campaign for Hyundai, the official partner of the 2016 UEFA European Championships. The campaign’s aim was to help them re-imagine their UK fan park experience, while delivering an image-defining month of football.

Another campaign Alex worked on was for Alizé, a line of fruit flavoured liqueurs. The drink was extremely popular in the early 90’s and both Notorious B.I.G and Tupac have written songs it. Alex worked to re-launch the brand in the UK with an “urban-out” approach. This approach focused on “urban” artists helping to promote the drink. His manager was so pleased with Alex’s work that he has now been offered paid work during his final year of study.

Dolan and EttG aimed to highlight to students the opportunities available to them, and how students have progressed onto paid positions with their company. They also spoke of the value in the subjects taught on the Music Business course, including IPR, sync and branding, and entrepreneurship. All of which are in line with the EttG ethos.