JJ Bola is a Kinshasa born, London based poet. An unapologetic writer that uses his work as tool to transform narratives and encourage discourse, particularly about sensitive issues. Through his work. Culturally attuned, Bola's an avid love for books have inspired him to use writing as a powerful tool and has established himself as a global driver of culture by bringing not just war, conflict and rape, but peace, hope, and love, much closer to home.
JJ's fluency with culture is what developed the relationship with Prisca (Our Founder). JJ reached out to us and asked us to create an event that really interacted with his target audience in a way that remained connected to culture and poetry in an engaging manner. The decision to collaborate came about after a much positive reaction to the #HypeYourWriters pre-launch at SOAS university.
Seeing as though JJ our founder Prisca had commonly connected on topics surrounding deconstructing social norms, urban, popular and Black culture, the initial project meeting was constructive and delved into ideas about heightening community interaction, and the value our team could bring to the project. JJ and his business partner Vava Tampa discussed the foundation/purpose behind the event series: 'Hype Your Writers Like You Do Your Rappers' they had been exploring for a few months.
Rap is a dense form with multiple meanings, a cultural expression, and in so many ways poetry; of which is a means to tell life stories through words. Being that music has poetic elements, JJ wanted to encourage consumers to hype their poets as they do their favourite rappers. The event, was a way to tap into the subconscious mind and become somewhat of an educational process, just like many rappers approach their poetry. With this being at the brands core, it was essential to have not only JJ Perform but a group of poets to give the event a community feel.
What became the beauty of the project was awkwardly the constrained budget. To say we work better under pressure is a fairy tale, however pulling of the array of tasks in collaboration with JJ's team. The poets having built their personal brands over a series of years, actively lead conversations in their insular communities. To top it off, it was essential to align with the reasons we were best chosen for the project by amplifying diversity (across the border in terms of ethnicity, age and gender) and distinct voices that reflected wider society. We went through a roster of speakers and by the end of a weekend brainstorming session the powerful six were chosen.
Connecting With The Millennial Mindset:
Before we could develop the event and digital strategy, we had to find ways to converse with the consumer target in a less traditional way of resorting to demographics. To define who we wanted to engage, we mind-mapped what methods to avoid—that is through the non adaptive approach of boxing consumers in via their location, what they earn, where they work and racial makeup, but more so distinguish the consumer target via their mindsets.
By focusing on the different mindsets and the guaranteed requirement of a multicultural crowd, we were able to move with the transition from events with no digital input, to one centred around how the experience could be amplified and cater to the targets needs and expectations. With the latter sitting well with JJ, we were able to distinguish the key virtues of this target. By honing onto the digital aspect, we were able to move ahead with user personalities within the millennial bracket.
We established the following:
- Inclined to make brands their own
- They're highly mobile and social media literate
- Enjoy communication that makes them feel empowered
- Celebrate the unique expressions that defines one's self
With that being said, we were able to inform the event and social strategy of which aligned with JJ's brand values:
- Entertainment = Music
- Mobile literate = Guaranteed social sharing and interactions and participation
- Millennial = Close proximity to culture with a open minded approach to poetry
- Communication x Multiculturalism = Hip-hop as a very inclusive culture
- Cross cultural = The connection between Hip-Hop as an american native and the connection to UK poetry
Our key objectives:
In service of the poets and consumers
Engaging and informative
Culturally attuned and connected
Being that we promoted the event beforehand, as the event coordinators and digital partners, we engaged users with the #HypeYourWriters and #WORDLaunch which provided continuity from the pre-launch to the official launch. The central role of success was the consumer participation via the DJ set, of which enticed the crowd with a great selection of Hip-Hop tracks and the events key track, Nas - The World Is Yours. The launch introduced to a selection of passionate and thought-provoking poets, discussions centred around literature. The crowd was empowered to rethink social norms, encourage political discourse and carve out a space for writers to be hyped as audiences do their rappers.
We were also tasked with strategic publicity to establish a mass presence and promote scalability. We felt it was key to help JJ and the event achieve the attention it deserved, of which successfully brought his brand to a wider audience, and an appearance from Guardian writer Marta Bausells and creators Eddie Kadi and Giggs. This resulted in a plethora of reviews and Electric Lit coverage, of which we oversaw.
The 'Hype Your Writers Like Your Rappers' WORD Book launch truly captured the essence of an event that's on the front lines of cultural understanding. Our aim was to ignite comprehension that would translate and evoke emotion, build long term commitment, loyalty and connection. It was a great experience strengthening HYWLYR's brand's ties to the poetry industry and culture as a whole.