Fender VP, global communications Christina Stejskal talks about how a deep dive into data helped the company foster a generation of “guitar goddesses” in the latest “PR’s Top Pros Talk” video interview with Doug Simon.

“Back in 2015, when our CEO, Andy Mooney was brought on board, he tasked our CMO Evan Jones, to do a really in-depth research study on behalf of the brand and the industry because he was really hungry for data,” Stejskal tells Simon. “One of the surprising findings was that 50 percent of first-time buyers are females.”

The large number of female consumers for Fender’s products reflects the overall diversity of the company’s audience, she says. “We really upped the ante in our marketing to make sure that, and it's not just women, to ensure that when the consumer or the player is looking at our Instagram, looking at our campaigns, whatever it is, you want to see yourself in that.”

Like most companies, Fender, along with its consumers, was affected by COVID, but Stejskal says that the company found a major opportunity in the midst of the pandemic. In March 2020, it started offering a three-month free subscription to Fender Play, its guitar learning online program. “By June, we had nearly a million new users within Fender Play, and it was absolutely amazing.”

Keeping those new players engaged is another communications challenge for Fender. “We really wanted our messaging to come off as authentic,” she says. “We wanted to support people because there also are emotional benefits to playing a guitar. It de-stresses you, there's a sense of calming that comes with it.”

As music venues start to reopen, Fender is making a particular effort to support artists. “We've launched a couple of serialized sessions on our social media channels, we call it Fender Check-Ins, Fender Sessions, where the artist is able to walk through their gear, showcase how they write a song and really get that in-depth view.”

With Fender already a well-established brand, Stejskal says the company places a greater emphasis on generating quality media than on simply getting its name out there. “Our messaging is very specific, and we really look at the flow and almost envision the story of what it'll look like,” she tells Simon. “If we have a guitar launch, we can tell the business angle of it, we can go really nitty gritty with our musical instrument media and get into specs, we can talk from the tech, or we can go the parental media approach and talk about it that way. So, that's something that we really enforce globally across the comms function at Fender.”

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