On a recent 710 WOR “Mind Your Business” broadcast, Yitzchok Saftlas (YS) spoke with Ari Boiangiu (AB), Owner of Blue Melody Group, and discussed secrets to orchestrate a business and directing a creative team. Ari also discussed creative strategies for lead generation!
YS: Tell us your backstory, when did you first see that G-d gave you talent with a guitar and how did it lead you to where you are today?
Ari Boiangiu: I think that specific skill sets that G-d gives a person are very much indicative of their potential, what they can become, and what they should be doing with their time.
Music was a large part of my life for many years, and I have my parents to thank for that. I played music from a young age. My parents gave me piano lessons from age 10, which I played until my older cousin, a guitar player, came along. I told him I wanted to ditch the piano and start playing guitar because it was so much cooler. So, I began practicing, and the noises from the basement slowly evolved into what people could start discerning as music.
As time passed, I began playing professionally and quickly saw the potential. Then two older mentors of mine, Mike & Eli from Neshama, took me in and gave me a chance to shine. I worked for them, and it evolved into a beautiful, long, and fruitful relationship. I have a lot of gratitude for that. Slowly but surely, music evolved from a hobby into something I could monetize, provide for customers, provide for clients, and make people happy.
YS: Is there a backstory to the name Blue Melody?
Ari Boiangiu: Not much. I felt after we did some research on various colors, we saw that the color blue elicited a coolness and a calmness. A feeling that everything is at ease, and everything is under control. The feeling that you are putting your trust in the right people. People don’t want me to be calm on stage. They want to be calm, knowing that I’m on stage. The goal is to make them calm, cool, and put their utter confidence in us, and at the same time give the crowd an amazing party.
YS: How important is branding to the whole experience?
Ari Boiangiu: Branding is super important. Number one, you need to be identifiable. Number two, you need to be unique. Number three, the brand carries a certain name and confidence that gets people excited, so there’s approval. A lot goes into the look to ensure that it’s unique and exciting, so we are constantly looking for ways to evolve in all areas, especially with the look itself.
It’s interesting; there is a saying in the music industry that customers “hear” with their eyes. What that means on a deeper level is that so much of art in general, especially the music industry is perception. How do you perceive music? Do you perceive it as soft; do you perceive it as enjoyable; do you perceive it as boring, or do you perceive it as too loud? All our perceptions are tied together. When all our perceptions, memories, thoughts, and senses are tied together, it results in a beautiful experience. So, sight is crucial in how music is perceived, and music perceived well means satisfied customers.
YS: You started Blue Melody with a co-founder, and then a couple of years ago, you went out on your own. Can you give just some advice on when people should potentially have a partnership or when it pays to go it alone?
Ari Boiangiu: That’s a wonderful question, and that’s a question that took me some time to get the answer. Obviously, the plus of having another input, another set of ideas, another set of plans, and another viewpoint, can expand any business’s capabilities. But I think it’s a good time for me to mention my father, a very accomplished businessman and tremendous guide in general. He was always very careful to impress upon me that you are your own assets. As important as the benefits of having business with a partner who can contribute ideas and help bring in more leads, one must realize that to run an institution, business, or organization successfully; you are your best asset. This is something my father would impress upon me all the time.
It’s all about you; you must stop thinking that it’s dependent on somebody else or something else, or it’s contingent on something. You have the dream, you have the vision, and you’re the one that’s going to make it happen.
YS: Any other tips or ideas from your experience in marketing or scaling a business?
Ari Boiangiu: I find that in our community, word of mouth, name, and branding is super powerful. The Orthodox community is a tight-knit community that sometimes comes with challenges. Still, in the business world, it comes with many perks.
Word of mouth is a powerful force in lead generation. Direct word of mouth is especially important. When people make a wedding, or when they take a chance on any business, they want to go into it with people they trust. A wedding is an expensive, lengthy process, and you want to make sure that you trust the person you’re going into that experience with.
The other business tool, or pinnacle of my tools, is the finding of relationships. I’d like to think that my business functions on relationships. Now those relationships begin from word of mouth, and it evolves into trust, and that trust spreads to somebody else. My goal is that the relationship should develop, and from that relationship comes business, and you cannot ask for a better lead generator than a relationship, and that’s the way I’m functioning in my business.
YS: Now, marketing in the age of social media has changed for many companies, but what are some tips and tricks from your industry that you could share?
Ari Boiangiu: In the entertainment industry, social media is a tremendous gift, and it certainly has its share of challenges like every other department in life, but it’s an incredibly powerful tool in the advertising world.
What first shot up as the biggest strength was YouTube videos. YouTube videos are a beautiful calling card and an opportunity for someone to learn more about the product other than being there on stage. It’s a beautiful demonstration of what you are capable of doing. As time passes, many consumers realize that a planned, produced, and well-executed YouTube video can be very powerful. However, it’s not a real-time representation of what’s happening at the wedding or event. So that’s where Instagram comes in.
Instagram, both through the posts and stories, allows you to follow the trail of the activity; they let you see what’s happening night after night. That comes from our phones, we take video, or the guests take video and send it to me the next day, and if the video is good, it’s going to go up on our social media the next day. What is nice about this, specifically about the Instagram stories, is that it’s not always a statement; there’s a human side to it. You can learn more about what makes the musicians tick, you can see the live interactions, and you can get more personal with the musicians that way.
I think sharing the human and personal sides helps to forge the relationship because your client wants to know that you’re listening to them. You understand them, and once you’re listening to understand them, you can give them what they want. The more you can present the human side; the more people will trust you and want to build a relationship with you.
YS: How much smoother does a band or musician play when the clients let them do their thing?
Ari Boiangiu: What a great question. So, the answer is, and you used the keyword smoother, about 3,000% smoother. When the client can just put his trust in the artists he hired and says, “You guys are great, we know you’re great, so, show us why you’re great and do your thing.” That takes away any doubts. It takes away any questions when you can get on stage and do what you’ve been known to do and continue to do.
On the flip side, our job is to make the customer happy, and if the customer wants to give me an absurd request and list a bunch of things, I must figure them out. I will have to figure it out and perform it, even though it’s out of my wheelhouse. But when we deliver that for the client, there is a special level of service and customer satisfaction when you can do that crazy stuff for the client.
So, there are pluses on both sides, but in musical production artistry, you want to let the artist be the artist.
YS: What do you do to gauge with your eyes and ears that you’re connecting with the crowd?
Ari Boiangiu: The answer is when it comes to upbeat music. If the crowds are moving, you’re doing something right. You can see if the crowd is in rhythm when you’re one with the crowd musically. You know that you’re doing the right thing. That can happen, whether it’s a popular song or a new song. That’s going to happen if the band is grooving, and the music is being played right, and it’s going where it needs to go on the dance floor. It’s sending that message that makes the crowd want to get up and move the most.
If it’s dinner music, you don’t want to be too loud. You got to keep the volume down. You want to keep it enjoyable music that it’s there if you want it, but it’s also something you can leave in the background as you talk to your friend by the table.
YS: Before I let you go, perhaps you could share a parting message, a parting thought for any area of life that you wish to share.
Ari Boiangiu: You know, the most powerful messages I could share is what we discussed before, which is that you are your strongest asset. You must stop waiting for something else or someone else; go for it. You have a dream and a vision; go for it, take it. It doesn’t mean that automatically you’re going to succeed. It doesn’t mean that’s ultimately what your meant to be. But the more time you pretend to be someone else, the more time you’re wasting.
It took me 20 years to get back to this message. Just get back to doing what you want to do and present the real vision of yourself.
The other thing is that every day, every minute, success, or failure is a learning experience. Success or failure doesn’t make a difference. You wake up the next day, and you scored five more clients, or maybe you had an amazing event, maybe you didn’t have an amazing event. It doesn’t matter whether it worked monetarily to your advantage or not. You wake up tomorrow, and you will be wiser and stronger from everything you went through today.
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