At BRANDSROCK we believe that "every brand has a soundtrack."
For most people, their lifestyle is defined in some way by the music they consume and there is no denying the depth and breadth of music's cultural influence and its overall value in modern society.
Digital may have taken over from scratchy old LP's and the good 'ol mixed tape, but it's not surprising that music is still the most ubiquitous lifestyle enhancing medium on the planet.
Therein lies the perhaps most exciting opportunity. Aligning brands with a very basic, but prevailing consumer need – to add value to 'the soundtrack of our lives'.
Music is now fully digitised and is shared in the most democratic ways across borderless social networks and ever expanding digital landscapes. By contrast traditional music retailers are severely challenged and the game has changed irreversibly for traditional record labels and the acts they represent.
Old sponsorship models that merely align music and branding are past their 'sell-by' date. They have been replaced by the marketing appeal of music to a new crew of brand specialists who see it as so much more than just sponsorship.
Globally there has been an explosive growth of live music events and festivals over the last few years. In South Africa we have seen the same trend with the increase in number and size of music events. In recent years, festivals like Oppikoppi, Ramfest and Rocking The Daisies have managed to achieve sold out status before the actual events got underway. This is a new phenomenon that looks set to continue for the forseeable future. On an international level, big name acts like U2, Neil Diamond and Rammstein played to sellout crowds of SA fans in 2011.
Now consider the awesome cumulative value of these live events/concerts in online content generation, social media footprint and 'captive audience' brand activations alone.
It is worth noting that many brands that previously had no real connection to music are now also joining the current marketing-through-music gold rush, but unfortunately very few of these new-to-the-scene players are getting it right. At the same time, most of the mainstream advertising and media agencies don't fully comprehend the music related brand opportunities that are availaible to their clients. Sadly they are either ignorant of these opportunities or they still see the potential powerhouse that exists within the music marketing realm as a threat to their core media based offerings.
But the good news is that savvy marketers (who fully understand the role of music as a major emotional and cultural touchpoint in the lives of their consumers) are continuing to benefit from stategic and mutually beneficial associations between brands and bands.
Brands who dabble in music with occasional sponsorships would do better if they actually commited to a longterm 'music strategy'. This involves a comprehsive review of their traditional marketing mix. It also means working with a specialist marketing agency that understands the strategic value of integrating a brand with a consumer's lifestyle through the medium of music.
The right, consistent longterm music strategy allows a brand to drive the full lifestyle 'value chain' – from finding new talent to working with established artists and from producing a small intimate music event through to a delivering a full 360° brand activation at a major music festival. Other important tactical elements that are important to the new music focused marketing mix include:
- tour, festival, live music venue and event consumer activations
- licensing songs for content on TV, radio and online
- artists as 'models' for brand shoots - ads / POS / posters
- product integration in music videos and online viral content
- artists as ambassadors and drivers of social media dialogue
- ongoing brand PR
It is high time that brands realise the power of harnessing music as an important brand activation platform and in doing so they need to engage with expert partners who understand how best to blend music and marketing into compelling consumer package that is able to cut through the clutter.
So, why should brands care about music? Because their consumers do.