Louie La Vella’s clients are entertainment personalities, night clubs, concerts and festivals and he creates brand and marketing strategies to engage and connect with their audience. Working within the shark infested waters of the night life and music industry as a Marketing and Branding consultant, La Vella has been delivering high profit solutions to live entertainment events, musicians and venues for years. With over 20 years in the night life industry, an extensive development and production experience with national television projects, authors, speakers, event producers and coach. La Vella has produced and marketed over 30 live music concerts in the past few years. Winner of the Niagara Music Awards Promoter of the Year in 2012, The Junior Awards Canadian Music, Dance category committee. He has been called a “Mediapreneur”, combining a successful television executive producer and host role with being sought after marketing and branding consultant in the night life and in the music industry. In his television days, he had the opportunity to interview the likes of Lady Gaga, Richard Branson, Backstreet Boys and more.
- Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey
- What has your customer experience been like in terms of being a service provider as well as being a customer yourself and receiving services from people you may have to interact with at the events?
- What are some every day solutions that you would recommend to a small business owner to help them improve their customer experience?
- Can you share one or two things with us that you’ve taken away from interviewing people that have celebrity statues that has really helped to mold your personality and make you a better business leader?
- How do you stay motivated every day?
- What is the one online resource, website, tool or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
- What are some of the books that have had the biggest impact on you?
- What is one thing in your life right now that you are really excited about – something that you are working on to develop yourself or people?
- Where can our listeners find your information online?
- What is one quote or saying that you live by or that inspires you in times of adversity?
- Louie La Vella shared that he start at about 17 or 18 years old as a Night Club Promoter working for other event companies and venues. He stated that everyone has that part time job when they are getting into college whether it’s retail, grocery store or even a bartender and his love was business, of course going out and having fun and parting at the bar and clubs was a huge interest for everybody usually in the college scene. He wanted to put those two together and see if he could make money from it and it was a fantastic start. He got to forge some great relationships with venue owners, managers, bands and deejays and of course learn the trade but he thought being a Night Club Promoter wasn’t exactly his career path, he knew the entertainment industry was going to be something he wanted to be in so he quickly learned to level up and have a long term goal of working on a global scale with festivals and musicians and celebrities; so it has been a 20 year journey to get where he is today but in between, he has seen all these different opportunities to increase his personal brand and always level up and growing from that first start as a night club promoter and very quickly into booking venues and running his own events and then getting on television and radio and now to this day, it has been a fun journey.
- Louie stated that as an entrepreneur, he has two arms to the business. One of them is B-2-B which is him getting clients and getting to work with musicians or record labels or festival owners and it is really showing them that he can connect and engage their audience to them because now a day’s everybody gets the same feeling of social media being such a big player in marketing, if not the player in marketing depending on your demographic but it’s very noisy and you have to do a lot of hustle, it was a little bit easier back in the day to just either pay radio for events or do print ads or flier or television and you have that marketing there. Now there is so much more involvement, you have to understand the user behavior of your audience and with that said the second arm of what he has to do is connecting them and even himself to the consumer audience, so that’s selling tickets, getting people to download music and that’s really understanding what the consumer wants to see on Social Media for them to engage, no longer that it works for us to just put a nice looking flier on Social Media and boots that post, you really need to come up with a campaign, some with music, you can’t just drop a track on Facebook and get couple of your friends to share it and hopefully your fan base runs with it. You need to create a strategy 4 weeks, 6 weeks and get them engaged, get them listening to the teaser or get them feeling what the event’s going to be about and eventually get to the ticket launch and then they’ve already bought into the message and you have them a little more excited and they are raving fan ready to support you. Now a day’s a lot of people get scared of that and they think, “that’s a lot of work” and it is and you trade a little bit of hustle for maybe writing cheques to traditional media for ad spend because the ad spent on social media is a lot less but it works well and that is the sandbox where everybody is playing so we really need to take that seriously and not just say back in the day it was easier, we don’t have time machines, we can’t go back in the day and go back to where we knew what we were doing and we were successful at it, things change consistently now and very quickly so we have to be on top of that.
Louie La Vella stated that talking about events whether its festivals or night club events or smaller concerts, going to the events are always great for him to either wine down and enjoy the event or do a little bit of research on what everybody else is up to and he fine that a lot of the places that either spend too much money to market to fill their room or just not filling their room is because they are stuck back in the day. Louie shared he was on a panel at the International Night Life congress a month ago and everybody was talking about Millennials and how they’re on their phones all the time and it’s ruining the experience going to a club or going to a venue to have their phones out and they just want to be on social media and he sat there and thought about his experience going in and he said, the usual behavior is not just because they are on social media and need to tell their friends or talk, it’s their documenting, they’re documenting everything they do and we do the same things, maybe not as much as the generation because depending on our age demographics but we want to tell our friends what we are up to, we want to share what we are eating, we feel like we are all media companies and we need to document. He told them going back to the experience of him experiencing a night life venue, “What are you guys doing differently than 20 years ago? You have a concert hall or a night club with a nice deejay or a band with some lights and a bartender but that’s the same concept as 20 years ago.” He was trying to poke fun by saying that he doesn’t use VHS tapes anymore, we have all changed, why have you not changed if you think about 20 year old concept of the night club, it’s exactly the same, and we have different sounds and different lights but that’s not a huge step in the experience. When he walks into a club and its dead and the bartender is on their phone and it’s the same old, same old for 20 years, he’s thinking well no wonder nobody’s here or it’s too busy and the promoter and the venue owner thinks, Hey, Louie look how packed it is, look how great it is here, it’s over packed” and he’s thinking, “Go ask 6 girls right now what they think about your club and I bet you 4 or all 6 of them will say it’s too busy here, I can’t get a drink, I wanted in line too long, I Iost my friend when I went to the bathroom” and you think that the over capacity of the club is your success but I bet that you’re even losing money because they want to leave early, they get frustrated to get to the bar to get a drink. He has seen that with his own experience by going to these places and thinking….these are issues that are going to bite them or already bit them.
He stated that it’s the same with Facebook likes, he has 10,000 likes. Likes do not equal sale at all. The amount of time that your organic reaches 1% you still have to target people, you might be targeting specific intricate ways of targeting like somebody that likes your page but also likes these certain items. A lot of people are just going for likes and it’s a visual thing and he understands as a branding play but that’s a small piece of the branding pot, you have 5,000 likes or 10,000 Twitter followers that never equal actual sales, you have to think outside of that, so you spend all of your money trying to get likes but he never do that, he tries to spend the ad budget on your actual target, let’s try to create a funnel, let’s sell tickets, let’s sell music, people will like your page indirectly because they see the ad and they don’t like your page currently and they’ll it like but that’s not the metric we go for so a lot of people are not thinking the new way of doing marketing and still thinking of the old mentality, we want more likes, we want to pack the bar, we want to do the old school way because it’s easier and it just doesn’t work.
- Louie La Vella stated that one of the mistakes that many business owners and entrepreneurs make is that they forget that they are also a customer, he hears it a lot with musicians or bar owners or club owners on them complaining when they go to another bar or complaining about, “Why do these people want to message me on Facebook or text me, I want to be on phone” they are romanticizing bout the old school days and he sit there and say your audience is 21, they don’t care what you think and they forget about them as a customer sometimes, “Oh, I went to the bar and it was too busy, they couldn’t get a drink” and yet they do the same thing. The first thing that everybody needs to stop and realize is that you are also a customer and think about how you want that experience to be. A lot of people disconnect that, they think “This is how I want to be treated”, but I don’t do this thing to my customer and then they wonder why there is a disconnect there and that’s a massive thing that everyone forgets. Same thing on Social Media “Oh, I’m going to complain about my dinner and I expect somebody to respond right away” but on the flip side “That idiot made a one star review, I think I should delete all my reviews so nobody sees any of them”you are disconnecting yourself as a customer though, you’re not thinking about what you would want, they want to have someone respond right away, they don’t want it to be deleted and you would hate that to happen but now you want to do that to them so that’s massive tip number 1 on returning customer service and just thinking about how you would want to be treated. The second thing is Consistency, a lot of people give up very fast, they try something new and it doesn’t work a couple weeks in and they give up. Have a long term goal, at the beginning of the chat he said he had a 20 year span of cool stuff that happened to get to where he is today but all of it was fun and there were pivots everywhere, he went into radio, he went into TV, it was all to the same goal of music, music show, music television, everything was in the same genre so that he could keep building brand awareness and now he’s on the listening committee for their award show which is like the Grammys up in Canada which is great and is more branding too and it’s exciting to be a part of that community as well and all that is a long term goal and he has those sites. A lot of people create an event like a bar event or new business shiny object syndrome and then they give up fast, if that’s something that’s serious for your business and it’s going to grow your brand, have a realistic goal, nobody is going to pack your club in 3 weeks and nobody’s going to have a brand new division of their entrepreneur business and think in couple Facebook ads “I’m rolling”, you need to have a long term goal but you have to stick with it. You can pivot along the way a little bit because things need to be tweaked and at the end if it’s not working out, fine, you remove it, stop wasting your time but you have to stick to a realistic goal.
- Louie stated that the celebrities that he interviewed are all down to earth people and he really like the fact that they are normal people and that people resonate with that and especially on Social Media where they can have Snapchat or Instagram stories or just respond as a normal person, it makes a human-to-human connection and that’s a common thread he saw with all of those people. There were a very few celebrities that he met that had that fake persona or were just rude and it may have been the industry that they went through and whatever path they went through just gave them that cold heart but 99.9% of them were all super down to earth and super nice and just appreciative of just being normal people which is amazing. A fun story that he likes to tell, he takes so many flights and sometimes flying on his own, you sit beside somebody it may not be in a first class and you go, “Hey, how are you doing? What do you do?” “I’m the president of this massive company” or “I’m the executive of this” and sometimes they ask him what he does and he would have a cool story and he’s always thinking on the plane everyone is such a normal person, you’re sitting beside who knows who and they are normal people and if you think about that with these celebrities, they really are. That down to earth groundedness is what is making them successful and holding onto their long term goals. You see some of them derail here and there and that’s when they lose sight of being themselves but to be real like that really helps in their personal branding, if you tweet at somebody and they tweet back to you or they do something on Ellen you laugh with them like, they’re just normal funny people, you laugh with them like, “Oh, I find that funny too, I would do something that crazy” and it really helps to be that kind of person and on his side getting those interviews of course being on television a lot of them were organize but Lady Gaga and Richard Branson, those were just last second accidental interviews. Lady Gaga was interviewing other people and she just got signed to Interscope Records like week before and that was years ago. She was a this rooftop party with her managers and all these other deejays were there and his TV crew was interviewing famous deejays and she was nobody and her managers came up to them and said, “Here’s this new girl that just got signed, we are ready to push her, she going to have a great album come this summer and she would like to get some media so would do an interview for her?” and he said, “I don’t know who she is and we have a lot of stuff going on but hold on this could be an opportunity” they listened to the song and it was “Just Dance” and they said, “Yeah, it’s a fantastic song, she has major backing, absolutely we will do the interview, not a problem” not knowing that she was going to be a superstar within a month or 2. These doors open in front of you and sometimes you may not be real person and think, “I don’t have time for this” this would have been a way different story saying the time he could have interview Lady Gaga and that was her first national TV interview as Lady Gaga just getting signed which is cool to have under his belt as well but you would have to try and see those opportunities as they open.
- Louie stated that he likes what he does and that’s one big thing that keeps him motivated to wake up and know that this is what he likes, so when there is down times whether it’s working with clients that aren’t his favorite and you can decide “I can fire these clients and just move on” there are up times too, it just keeps him motivated to wake up and do something fun. He thinks that everybody needs to do that whether it’s a regular job or whether you’re an entrepreneur, if you’re an entrepreneur don’t create for yourself that you don’t like. Do something you love and that’s a huge factor and of course the idea as an entrepreneur that you can create money out of thin air or anything that’s a failure you don’t count it as a “Oh man, I failed, I suck” you just look at it like, “Find no problem, let’s pave it, let’s tweak, let’s continue, it’s all good, I will create something new, I can adjust” that mindset is really exciting to have.
- Louie stated that he is fan of the dance genres, that’s what they did with the television network and radio like electronic music, dance music, house music and of course that was the music that was fairly strong in the mid 90’s when he was growing up but hip hop was strong too so that’s another favorite genre of his. He stated that it was funny because if he was asked what his favorite song is, he wouldn’t have had a good answer. There are so many new stuff coming especially that he has to listen to so many music and mix shows that he probably couldn’t give a straight answer on what his favorite song is right now but he would lean towards the club genres, the dance music and hip hop urban music is great and there are some pop rock songs that he loves too but he is not a fan of country or classical there are so many genre room in his brain to follow. Yanique asked him if he likes reggae and he stated that reggae is great.
- Louie La Vella stated that the tool he couldn’t live without is Facebook. He has been able to get clients and return the favor by making them millions of dollars on the platform of Facebook and of course that same Social Media but majority of his business is on Facebook and Instagram very close but those are the two. He stated that within those 2 apps he can message people, he can be in contact, he can get on phone calls, he can do his advertising, those are the BIG monster players in his industry.
- Louie shared that he is a big fan of audio books; he will listen to audio books like crazy. Especially when you’re driving or traveling. He stated that there are so many that he has gone through that are absolutely amazing and a few off the top of his head: Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek was a great one. Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk was a fantastic one. Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday was really cool. He was talking about how media manipulation happens and how groups of people can get in, utilize the media and reading that book years ago and being a marketing guy, you can start to understand how things are happening on advertising like self driving cars are going to be coming out stronger as the years go by but you’re seeing ads now like a Kia or Ford commercial. If your brain wonders a bit and you think about your kids and you move into another lane, don’t worry the machine has your back, just slowly getting us used to the idea how we are scared of we are better than the machine, “I don’t want the car to self drive, I’m a better driver” just slowly giving us a tiny step by step of training our brains to think, “No the machine is better than you” you wonder off, that kind of idea without being a hardcore. Have a little strategy, give yourself a 4 week campaign before dropping your track, this is a probably a 4 to 10 year campaign but you can see these little things happening and you can also look at the election. You can see how Donald Trump, how he used the media to his advantage, against his advantage and when you read a book like that and you look at what’s going on in the media and how we are all headline readers and we’ll believe anything on Facebook whether we click on it or not it’s scary and it’s extremely possible to do those kind of things which is scary.
- Louie La Vella stated that he lives to level up what he does ever so often and he started to scale away from night club and bar and doing a lot more festivals which is very exciting and record labels and speaking as well. He has a book that he authored a few years ago and he’s coming out with a second one and he’s starting to do more speaking engagements around North America and that’s a new level of what he’s doing. The entire year (2016) as he called it The Year of Authority for him, he’s going to get on podcasts, spread his message and just shares what he knows and do a lot more of his own podcasts and articles and he’s going utilize Social Media to build authority and brand awareness so that he can bump up the next level and start doing a lot more larger scale things and do speaking. He has done speaking gigs now which has been exciting. So that kind of the new next level for him which he has already hit and he starting to grow that and explore, just in podcasts, he has done over 45 + in last 3 months as a guest host which has been really exciting and a lot of hustle and a lot of fun and he is on pace before the month’s over to hit over 50 podcasts and he’s going to keep on going so that’s going to be a lot of fun for continuing to release and share those again throughout 2017 because he’ll have one a week to share which is great and that’s really cool for authority building and brand building. People can listen; they have a great conversation, and it is a cool tool that he’s picked up.
Louie stated that the night clubs are your basic bar and night club, there can be a 500 person venue, 1000 person venue but through your typical night club every week they have events going on or students nights so it’s a different atmosphere all together where as a Festival your talking 30,000 people showing up a day or more or maybe less and it’s such a massive cool undertaking and you work on marketing for 8 months, right now he’s working on marketing, even in September 2016 he was working on festivals for June 2017 but it’s really cool. You have a tight nit team and they organize everything to do with the festival and when it finally comes to fruition and you’re on stage with 30,000 people in front of you and this massive production and you’re thinking, “I’m the marketing guy, I was a part of bringing in these people in that’s really awesome.” And that a cool feeling and it’s a larger scale and not everybody gets to do that, if you’re a good marketer and you have friends and you know deejays, you might be able to jump in as a promoter at a night club but that’s not something that he does anymore, he consult and train a lot of owners and promoters because he knows marketing but he has a small hand full of bars and clubs now just because he knows them well and they are friends now and he helps them out but for the most part he has expended away from that and there’s different monetary value between a large scale festival and a night club so he can do different business and not work so hard but work on 3 projects instead of 15.
He stated that in festivals now you’re dealing with million dollar deejays, million dollar bands, some of the biggest of the biggest and you get to discuss with their management things, forge friendships and that’s just a whole other ball game as oppose to the night club which is still fun and great but you’re working with the local club owner or the local deejay and sometimes they bring in acts but not usually not the larger scale because there is no way they can afford someone of that caliber for a 500 person venue so it’s a completely different ball game but it’s a lot of fun.
Louie shared listeners can find him at –
- Louie La Vella shared a quote that he has two quotes the first one for him especially is “Every day is a Friday”so whether it’s actually Friday or a Monday, if you feel like it’s a Friday it means that you are doing what you love, so if you can find something that feels like a Friday everyday then you’re doing well. The other one especially in the marketing sense he likes to always say, “Make sure you’re playing in the sandbox everybody else is playing in.” So whether your audience is on LinkedIn, whether your audience is on Twitter or Facebook or on radio or on print, wherever they may be, make sure you know where they play because if you’re in the wrong sandbox, no matter what you are doing over there you’re not getting the message across.