RBC prioritizes digital to reach young music lovers

While broadcast still has a role, the bank finds that YouTube and Instagram have driven the most engagement for RBCxMusic.

RBC is leaning more into digital and social to make sure its music platform engages the young fans it is trying to reach.

The RBCxMusic “First.Love” campaign features Grammy Song of the Year winner H.E.R alongside up-and-coming Canadian talent that has participated in the bank’s “First Up” virtual performance program. The campaign creative leverages learnings from an earlier campaign at this year’s Grammy’s – both in terms of the message about bold creative diversity it proclaims, and the platforms it uses to spread that message.

“For ‘First.Love.’ we prioritized digital and specifically YouTube and Instagram, where we’ve seen the highest engagement among our audience of youth and music fans,” says Matt McGlynn, VP of brand marketing, RBC. To further drive engagement, the 60-second spot was also shared on H.E.R.’s Instagram to the artist’s 4.8 million followers.

As part of the RBCxMusic platform, the bank provides both funding and development programs for artists, as well as perks for clients, such as exclusive ticket access, discounts and “Concert Cash” codes, $10 dollar deals tied to the resumption of live music events.

“For RBCxMusic, we will continue to show up within the digital space as that has always been at the crux of our strategy,” says McGlynn, as it engages best with the 15- to 28-year-old demo. “Even with our ad spot during the Grammy’s, we knew we wanted to expand our reach beyond broadcast with a robust digital campaign.”

According to McGlynn, broadcast will continue to be a consideration for the brand, as it offers both mass reach and an association with prestigious events like the Grammys. That said, the bank’s music platform has always been open to testing new ways to reach audiences and provide platforms and exposure for emerging artists in the program.

In May of last year, RBC first announced “First Up,” supporting and promoting emerging Canadian recording artists and musicians through the pandemic, when live performances had been taken off the table. To promote it, it established a partnership with Bell Media that was inclusive of broadcast, radio, digital and in-show integrations with eTalk and Your Morning. It also had a national editorial partnership with Narcity Canada and a paid media campaign on Facebook and Instagram to drive program awareness.

In the fall, he says RBC continued to lean into a digital-first strategy, with paid social as the driving force behind program promotion but that it complemented this with public relations initiatives with the help from Rock-It, and further editorial partnerships with lifestyle and music-oriented publications like Complex Canada and BeatRoute.

McGlynn says the digital budget for this campaign is comparable to the Grammy campaign, and there are plans to put additional media investment behind it early next year. RBC handled the buy in-house.