She’s one of the world’s fastest rising music stars. She has a catalogue of songs well over 100,000, stands at 5”2 and has been 16 for the last eight years. She’s toured with the likes of Lady Gaga, headlined her own shows and you’re unlikely to even know her name. Hatsune Miku is, quite literally, the sound of the future, and she isn’t even a real human being.
Described by some as the world’s first post-human pop star, Hatsune Miku is an (albeit creepy) indication of how the younger generation is embracing technology and the internet. Tired of seeing their favourite stars crash, burn and end up in rehab, the Japanese android offers a consistently happy and carefree celebrity with zero baggage.
Whilst originally created to market vocal software, Hatsune Miku has been embraced by fans who see her as ‘theirs’. They write her songs, joining forces across the internet to write lyrics and music together, then come together to watch her perform sold out shows. A mega brand that, to fans, feels completely genuine.
It’s all a little bizarre if you ask me.
Stories of driverless cars, weaponised machinery and artificially intelligent robots seem to abound in the news these days. We can either be creeped out or learn from them. Or perhaps a bit of both.
The real lesson of Hatsune Miku for PR is to respect the power of the audience. In the social media and digital age – everyone’s voice counts. People are less and less satisfied with being told by a faceless company what they should like, and more invested in creating it themselves. As marketers, we’ve got to be prepared to give some power to the fans and really listen to them, rather than thinking we know best.
Social media can easily be used to ask customers what they want the brand to become or to give fans a chance to influence a certain part of it. It might be calling on followers to design some packaging, or rewarding its most loyal and dedicated customers with free products, services or recognition.
PR often gets a bad name for spinning the truth and taking advantage of consumer trust. While there may be a slither of truth to the myth, if the future is in the power of the public, it might be time to let them guide the narrative and make the audience the real stars.
If you want to see some Hatsune Miku mania for yourself, try this.