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Breathing new life into your brand story

May 03, 2019
In the earliest days of storytelling – when words had yet to be committed to paper – tales would change with every iteration, as new raconteurs embellished, extended and added to make them their own. But the introduction of the printing press didn’t put an end to this practice. Today, stories are still being constantly reimagined, revamped and retold, albeit in a more sophisticated manner. Brands in particular are adept at repurposing their proposition to evolve with the audience. By updating their message, recreating other source material, and adapting for new platforms, they refresh their output in a host of different ways – none more effectively than when it’s translated to sound.

The 21st century audience is constantly changing, meaning brands are always having to reposition their message to maintain their appeal. This is particularly true of longstanding companies. Not enough to merely rely on their heritage, they have to ensure that their output is still relevant to the modern consumer – which is why we see many examples of brand story adaptation for a new generation. A strong example of this is Old Spice. Long associated with the 40-60 market, it was the fragrance for the mature ‘man’s man’ – until the 2010 Superbowl campaign changed it all. ‘The Man your Man Could Smell Like’ transformed the image of the brand using humour alongside the sex appeal of a suave younger model – and as a result, achieved 40 million views on YouTube and a 107% increase in body wash sales. They realised they had to widen their demographic to remain a success – and the reimaging of their brand ideals made sure the intended audience believed in the tale.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – which is why it’s only a compliment that so many brands choose to reimagine their story by paying homage to another. Right now, consumers everywhere are never too far from an example of this, as brand after brand capitalises on the Game of Thrones phenomenon by creating campaigns inspired by the hit series. Oreo remade the iconic title sequence in cookies… Mountain Dew enlisted sports stars and musicians alike to recreate the distinctive theme tune acapella… Adidas developed six pairs of limited edition Ultra Boost sneakers based on the royal houses… the list goes on. By incorporating source material with such a huge fanbase, these brands widen their own audience – gaining real traction and exposure. Musically, covering is also a key method of recreation as artists put their own interpretation on an existing song. Just like brands gain exposure through homages, many new bands and singers have also made it big by starting their career in covers – and on some occasions, the new version eclipses the original to become the definitive version.

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While recreation and repositioning involve changing a story in some way, often, it’s possible to tell the same story completely differently by putting in a new platform. Looking back to 1978, Kate Bush did this in her classic ethereal style by retelling Emily’s Bronte’s novel Wuthering Heights in song, bringing the tragic tale of Heathcliff and Kathy to a whole new audience. And more recently, an even bigger female icon continued this practice. Beyonce’s ‘Homecoming’ takes viewers behind the scenes of her landmark 2018 Coachella performance, making the show more than a musical moment, but a cinematic celebration able to be seen by millions – not just those lucky wristband holders. In moving from music to film, she’s continued to reimagine brand Beyonce – creating an even bigger buzz around the performance a year after the applause died down.

‘Homecoming’ is a high profile example of repurposing a story in a new platform – but brands don’t have to be an icon with the star power of Beyonce to benefit from a little re-imagination. In translating a visual identity to audio, companies can forge the most emotive, memorable connection with their consumer – especially with an exclusively composed track that translates the business’ distinct personality traits to music. When expertise is extolled through a sweeping string… down-to-earth friendliness manifests itself in a warm acoustic guitar… or modernity and innovation come in the form of a pulsing synth, listeners gain an understanding of the brand in a way they can really feel. Together, these distinct parts add up to a complete composition that deftly showcases the multifaceted nature of the company – strengthening identity in a valuable way.

No matter how you tell your story, there’s always a way it can be reimagined. Yet if you’re really looking to breathe vibrancy, memorability and emotion into a brand message, there’s no more powerful way to do this than with exclusive music.