Tuesday Trends is a weekly post that covers, in brief, emerging movements, innovations, or strategies that you can integrate, tweak, or ponder as you organize your program.


I love how creative culture is getting and it’s especially true of Digital Natives who are engaging their fans as actual people, bringing them into an experience, and creating touch points that begged to be shared.

Case Study: Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers

Nicki & the Gramblers tour like any other band and they have worked hard to connect with fans. Whether they stumbled on the idea or intentionally devised the plan, Nicki & the Gramblers have  a niche that creates authenticity, fun, and value for those who see their work.

Between shows the band picks a song to perform on the road as they drive. They record the video then upload to youtube while sharing with their fans the mp3 for free. The songs are not very well recorded and you can hear the traffic in the background but they recognize the reality that Millennials and Digital Natives don’t care. In fact, they love the authenticity and shared experience of following a band that creates while offering an expression of “an internet backstage pass.”

They’ve recorded around 20 covers. Their most popular cover is “I Can’t Go For That” by Hall & Oates which has seen a million plus views and likely as many site visits, music downloads, and followers for the band. The real music they write and perform of their own is just as compelling but they’ve used the “Van Sessions” as another front door.

The “Van Sessions,” are the perfect classroom for anyone who wants to integrate an experience with social media and create awareness in order to be heard on a bigger message.

What does this mean for youth leaders?

Creating experiences and content that cultivates community should be an authentic expression. Too often we use media channels and deliverables that are executed the same way over and over again. If we’re not careful the predictability and assumption jumps we make about “first steps” to our community can actually turn people away rather than leave them wanting more.

With Nicki & the Gramblers an important bottom line is selling out shows, recording music and selling tracks. In order to earn the right to be heard they utilize video well, create value with free downloads of their “Van Sessions,” perform covers everyone is familiar with, and offer connection within one click to all of their social media expressions. For youth leaders an important bottom line is the message and bringing students into an environment where the message can be heard. Hopefully it’s done primarily through relationships but if you offer any media online or publish digital content for perspective students to sample be sure that it connects.


What are the stories, whims, and experiences that can and should be created for your community to bridge the gaps? Shorts, digital content, and hooks can help the audience “get to” the main story. The front door to your community may be more welcoming with easy first steps. How do you reveal the backstage of being cared for, known, and connected, to a student who needs to hear or experience an expression of a context they didn’t know they wanted to experience? Leverage something familiar, something fun, something valuable, and easy to connect with online that leaves them wanting more.

And the orignal..


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