Guest Lecture: Ear to the Ground

Aisling Kiely

1st and 2nd year Students on the BSc (Hons) 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.

The company, established over 15 years ago, work with ambitious brands and rights holders to help them get more from their sport and music assets. Their mission and business model 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. Dolan was invited in by Jo Hilditch, who has an ongoing relationship with the company by placing students with them to do internships. Jo has successfully placed more than 10 students who have since gone on to work in the music industry working in events, promotion and marketing.

Recently, Alex Merritt who has just started his 3rd year in Music Business and Creative Industries, spent his summer with EttG in the brand activation side of the business. Alex worked on a number of campaigns including the Hyundai campaign who are an official partner of the 2016 UEFA European Championships to help them re-imagine their fan park experience in the UK, while delivering an image-defining month of football. Another campaign Alex worked on was for Alizé, which is a line of fruit flavoured liqueurs, that are infused with both cognac and vodka. The drink was extremely popular in the early 90’s and artists such as Notorious B.I.G and Tupac have both written songs about the product. Alex worked to re-launch the brand in the UK with an “urban-out” approach, focusing on “urban” artists to help promote the drink. The brand activation manager was so pleased with Alex’s work that they now employ him and he is taking on paid work whilst he finishes his final year.

Dolan and EttG were interested in presenting to the students the opportunities available, talking about how students have progressed to getting jobs with the company and how they see the value in the subjects taught on the Music Business and Creative Industries course, including IPR (Intellectual Property Rights), sync and branding, and entrepreneurship in line with the EttG ethos.

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