The greatest advertising campaigns, the ones that linger long in the memory, are those that transcend traditional marketing and enter dominant culture. And one of the most dependable methods of achieving this is through music. Read on as we take a look at how music, culture and branding unite to give companies real relevance in the modern market.
Our culture is what life is made up of – what people watch, wear, talk about and encounter every single day. It’s living, breathing and constantly changing, and music is an incredibly important part of this. More than just something to singalong to, it can dictate our moods, influence our thoughts and soundtrack memories that last a lifetime. Music trades on feelings, not products, and that’s why we build emotional connections to certain songs and artists. This is something brands should aspire to – cementing cultural relevance and driving success.
Arguably, the unlikely marriage of artistic expression and commercial profit began with hip hop. For much of the genre’s history, an affinity with big brands has seemed natural. Materialism is undeniably woven into the culture, so corporate collaborations can reap huge benefits. The earliest example of this is Run-DMC’s partnership with Adidas. The New York City group’s affiliation with the German brand remains a marker for success because it drove culture, with Adidas becoming the sneaker of choice for a generation of Run-DMC fans. More recent examples include P Diddy’s alliance with premium vodka brand Cîroc. Back in 2007, the then-struggling business turned to the music mogul, and the results were staggering. Annual sales jumped from 40,000 cases to over 2 million, showing how crossing into culture can transform a business’ fortunes.
For more alternative genres – from Punk leading into the early 2000s indie explosion – the mere mention of artists using their music in advertising would have led to suggestions that they were ‘sell outs’ and could end careers. That commercial intolerance seems to have all but died out these days, with two counterculture icons – Iggy Pop and Johnny Rotten – featuring in adverts for insurance and butter, respectively. And with declining music sales forcing independent artists to find new ways of generating revenue, advertising has proven a mutually-beneficial avenue. Apple’s use of Feist’s ‘1234’ and Yael Naim’s ‘New Soul’ took the under-the-radar acts and propelled them firmly into the mainstream. And from their perspective, it helped them engage with their coveted millennial audience. But both artists and brands must choose carefully. If the collaboration doesn’t make sense, it risks at best falling on deaf ears, or worst, disinterested ones.
Music is undoubtedly very powerful, and brands can harness that power to great effect. But more than just using music to cross into society’s culture, you can find huge benefits in making it part of your own culture as well – by creating a soundtrack that mirrors your business’ personality and values. Just like your favourite artist’s songs, the right music can help forge connections between brand and consumer. And that’s where Brand-Sound-Track™ introduces a valuable new facet to a company’s identity. When played across numerous channels – your website, corporate videos, and On-Hold Marketing production – your music becomes synonymous with your business, creating an instantly recognisable sound that keeps you culturally relevant.
Music, culture and branding go hand in hand – and together, they elevate an organisation from one that doesn’t just serves a purpose, but creates a real legacy that resonates with an audience.