The Standard Bank Joy of Jazz

The Joy of Jazz, South Africa’s oldest jazz festival takes place in Johannesburg, Gauteng. This 20-year partnership between Standard Bank (one of South Africa’s largest financial services groups, operating in South Africa for 154 years and in 20 countries across Africa) and T-Musicman (established in 1989, one of Africa’s foremost music and concert promotion companies) contributes to social cohesion, economic growth and cultural tourism, with participation from both local and international artists.

At the core, the partnership’s objectives are to:

  • Turn a small musical event into the country’s premier jazz festival
  • Expose South African audiences to some of the world’s best performances
  • Give local artists an international platform and grow audiences
  • Extend and entrench Standard Bank’s support of the arts in South Africa
  • Add value to Standard Bank customers and to communities in which Standard Bank operates, growing positive brand association
  • Drive ticket sales and promote the line-up through T-Musicman’s campaign
  • Give support and growth to the live music industry

BASA’s ArtsTrack research revealed that there are over 8 million people who are passionate about jazz. It is the most popular genre of music amongst those between 35 – 49 years of age. Jazz (and the arts in general) offers an uncluttered market with many opportunities for sponsorship and partnership; is rich with prospects for unique hospitality experiences that support relationship building objectives; and makes a significant contribution to corporate social investment through developmental and educational initiatives, all with the positive spin off of supporting key national government objectives such as social cohesion, arts development, work creation, and growth in GDP. DAC/SACO research on the South African creative and cultural industries shows that these industries create 1% - 1.28% of employment and make up 2.9% of the GDP.

In recent years, the African diaspora has been represented in the festival as well, which resulted in the festival contributing to cultural exchange between artists, and a cultural calling card or cultural diplomacy for business. This cultural exchange has been the breeding ground for multiple international and local collaborations, and therefore widened the music genre available to audiences. The festival grew from 1800 attendees in the year 2000 to over 25000 fans in 2015; this in line with the objective to reach more people with live music and increase ticket sales. The increase in attendance also has fulfilled Standard Bank’s objective of showing more support for the arts in South Africa, and the partnership allows Standard Bank to leverage its support of other jazz properties, most notably the Grahamstown Jazz Festival, into the Joy of Jazz. For example, the festival sees the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Band perform on the main stage each year, and the Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz is given headline status, giving these young artists exposure to a very large audience and professional South African and international artists. Shared value is evident here, as the emphasis on youth unemployment (67.4% of youth under 25 for quarter two of 2017, according to Statistics South Africa) is met with opportunities for growth and employment of young artists, as well as total alignment of brand and product for Standard Bank.

Much of the festival is also focused on contributing to customers and surrounding communities, and this was achieved in 2015 with “the closer you are, the more you feel” as the key concept for all the jazz projects (a campaign had already been done for the National Arts Festival, that focused on how jazz makes you feel). For Joy of Jazz, the campaign focus was on the live aspect – getting “closer” to jazz, in line with the objectives of the festival. The campaign was launched with the streaming of a live billboard – a first ever for Africa. Motorists were exposed to a live jazz performance on this billboard at a busy intersection in Johannesburg. As motorists approached the jazz billboard, they were directed to tune into a specific radio frequency. Once tuned in, they were treated to the sounds of the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Band. The live jazz billboard marked the start of the countdown to the country’s premier jazz event – the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz – which featured more than 20 artists from around the world. The campaign was widely broadcast on air via radio stations such as radio 702, and through social media using the creation of a twitter jam. The campaign’s reach was vast and it resulted in over 300,000 listeners reached through the 702 partnership, 13,418,334 total media impressions, R2.6 million in PR coverage, 40,000 employees, and a 30% increase in ticket sales.

The Joy of Jazz festival is aligned to its objectives, most notably the objective dedicated to contributing to surrounding communities and the development of local artists. In 2015 the festival created 1,201 long- and short-term jobs (this number excludes 80 personnel from the artists’ designated hotel, Sun on Kathrine, and an undisclosed number of personnel from the Sandton Convention Centre). Beneficiaries of the festival are predominantly musicians, SMME’s and other companies in the creative sector. The festival thus is more than simply a musical experience, but offers some economic alleviation from the 27.7% unemployment rate in South Africa (as at June 2017, according to Times Media Group). The festival generated direct spending estimated at R34.5 million, and the event contributed R86 million to the Gauteng economy. While this is beneficial for the broader economy, it also further boosts Standard Bank’s image and grows trust for the bank, both with existing and potential clients.

The decision was taken to reach audiences and communities who didn’t attend the festival through programmes such as Jazz Cares, which reaches out to the aged, people with disabilities, community workers in organisations such as hospices, and orphanages. In 2017, The Standard Bank Joy of Jazz was brought to senior citizens and their caregivers: 300 guests from various municipalities were transported to the Danie van Zyl Recreation Centre in Montclair to experience the elements of the 2017 Standard Bank Joy of Jazz and a day of pampering from the host. Another example is Geleza Kleva & Learn, a series of workshops allowing attendees to understand more about the music industry; master classes featuring some of the headline acts who lecture and tutor young students, as well as cultural exchange programmes which see the sharing of skills and knowledge. The series began in 2004 when a need to educate young and upcoming artists was identified by T-Musicman. This starts to differentiate between CSI and marketing, leading to greater shared value.

The many meaningful benefits of the Joy of Jazz festival include integrating traditional media with new media, employing individual platforms to reach various target audiences, forming successful partnerships with media platforms to achieve objectives, and translating industry trend research into meaningful consumer engagements.