Jo Dee Messina Case Study

Jul 16, 2014


Branding, Kickstarter campaign


Jo Dee Messina, multi-platinum, award-winning country singer/songwriter, broke away from her record label of 17 years in search of innovation. While grateful for the support of her previous record label, Jo Dee wanted to find a way to give herself more creative freedom in recording and at the same time build on her already robust fan base. To get guidance about how to make such a dramatic transition, Jo Dee reached out to Curiosity. We sat down together and found the innovative solution Jo Dee had been looking for since she left her label.


Traditionally, record labels focus on the distribution of albums and the creative development of an artist. Curiosity understood that Jo Dee could not simply imitate the record label promotion process and hope to have the same impact. Jo Dee was a new entity as an independent artist and her album production process had to reflect that fact. We also recognized that Jo Dee brought a lot to the table in terms of her devoted, enthusiastic fan base. After a few rounds of brainstorming sessions, the Curiosity team was convinced that Jo Dee needed to reinvent not only the way she produced albums, but also the way she promoted herself.


Curiosity determined that the most effective way to use the agency’s expertise to Jo Dee’s advantage was to do what we know best: branding strategy. Curiosity resolved to treat Jo Dee as a brand, her music as product, and her fans as consumers. And how do you get a new product off the ground when you don’t have adequate funding? Crowd sourcing. How do you bring crowd sourcing to the consumer? Launch a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of $100K to finance the recording of her new album. It was a great fit for Jo Dee because it perfectly aligned with her brand, which is characterized by her authenticity as a performer, the infectious elements of her music, and her down to earth character that allows fans to feel an instant and personal connection with her. She finally had the freedom to produce exactly what her fans wanted to hear, which deepened her relationship with them.

Brand Positioning

We created a campaign story titled “My Time. Our Music.” It was compelling, clear and consistent in all communications, including the Kickstarter page, public relations (press releases, interviews), social media, and creative content. We ensured that every public interaction was choreographed with our strategy in mind, including:

  • Equity Wheel: a thorough analysis of Jo Dee’s brand attributes, which lays the foundation for a clear and well-established campaign strategy.
  • Target Personas: a detailed and fully dimensional description of Jo Dee’s fan base, which we used to bring her audience to life and tailor our campaign strategy accordingly.
  • Positioning Matrix and Statement: identifies the brand’s differentiating elements, selling points, emotional/functional benefits, and supporting evidence, which is then used to establish the campaign strategy and guide campaign execution from start to finish.

Promotion & Content Strategy

So Curiosity and Jo Dee launched the campaign and immediately set to work raising awareness and consumer (i.e. fan base) engagement with her brand through:

  • Appearances on live TV programs
  • Exclusive and personalized rewards
  • High frequency social media posts (paid & unpaid)
  • Brand sponsorships
  • Pledge matching
  • Video clips that directly asked for fan contribution
  • Explanation of Kickstarter via video clips
  • Behind-the-scenes access (song sneak-peeks, recording studio footage)


Jo Dee finished her campaign with some impressive numbers:

  • Raised $121,743 with 1,017 backers in only 30 days
  • Surpassed goal by over 20%
  • Doubled her Facebook fan base in under 2 months. Timeline:
  • Mid March, before Curiosity began working with Jo Dee: 46,646 fans
  • End of March, after Curiosity encouraged Jo Dee to leverage her brand on Facebook: 55,536 fans
  • May 24th campaign started: 67,791 fans
  • June 24th campaign ended: 85,985 fans
  • July 18th: 101,000 fans
  • 15th highest funded music Kickstarter of all time (as of project end)
  • 1 of only 21 music Kickstarters to raise over $100K out of 22,915 music Kickstarters launched
  • 1 of 645 out of the total 103,817 Kickstarters launched to raise over $100K

Her album is set to release early Spring 2014.