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    Lady Gaga - Living proof of music branding

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    Lady Gaga is living proof of the importance of the four Es; emotions, experiences, engagement and exclusivity, to stand out in today’s marketplace. Earlier this year Polaroid announced a strategic partnership with our fastest rising star, Lady Gaga, who now serves as Polaroid’s creative director. A brilliant strategic marketing move for Polaroid. With close to ten million Facebook fans and Twitter followers together, the lady of glam has proved she can move products. But, what is it about Lady Gaga that has made her this successful?

    To begin with, Lady Gaga is a brand, and a brand of substance. She is an expert on building emotional ties to her audience, through her music. With specially designed clothes, sometimes haute couture (sometimes no clothes), dance and art, Lady Gaga gives her fans inspiring and unique performances, experiences, that they remember! Further, she gives people things to talk about, myths, often spread through social media by the lady herself, thus engaging fans all over the world into two-way conversations and storytelling, promoting the lady and her music, and reaching new fans. Moreover, Lady Gaga is about breaking boundaries, being interesting, standing out and distinguishing herself from other artists. Thus, she is exclusive. Overall, she is the new marketing model, the four Es, personified, and brands definitely have a lot to learn from her!

    First lesson: It is the brand and not the product that matters most in today’s harsh market. Would people listen to Lady Gaga just for her voice? Second: By using the four Es marketing model, creating emotions, experiences, engagement and exclusivity, brands will build brand equity and increase their sales. Just as Lady Gaga does, brands will move their products. Final lesson: It’s still about the music! Using music - the media most people would least like to live without, as the fundamental key to create the four Es, will strengthen brands. Again, take a look at Lady Gaga. What would she be without her music? A spectacle, a freak stared at walking down the street? She would definitely not be one of the most talked about brands (sorry artists), covering fancy magazines all over the world, reaching new audiences, would she?

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    The music stairway (no, not the Led Zeppelin song)

    The most important question for a brand is not whether they should use music, but rather how the music should be used. The four step ‘music stairway’ illustrates the most beneficial way for brands to work strategically with music.

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    Many brands find themselves on Step One. This step is characterised by the unconscious usage of music. Essentially this is an ad hoc, make-it-up-as-you-go approach, often relying on staff or employees to choose music. The end result is a schizophrenic music experience that sends mixed branding signals to customers.

    Step Two is characterised by a conscious usage of music. Brands have developed their own music identity, through a defined sound with defined values. Often they have a sound logo or theme song. On Step Two, music has evolved into a branding element and strategic tool.

    Moving up to Step Three, a brand becomes even more actively involved in music. This commitment often takes form as music-oriented marketing campaigns ( e.g. “buy and get” promotions) and/or artist partnerships. A good example of a Step Three level of music involvement is Heineken’s ‘Green Room Sessions’ - a live club concept, presenting cutting edge artists and DJs.

    The Forth and final step on the music stairway requires ‘owning’ a strategic platform in music culture. In this scenario, brands are not merely associated with music, but also actively champion music through exclusive platforms or programs that can’t be found anywhere else. The Red Bull Music Academy is a good example of this.

    So the million dollar question is…What step is your brand on?

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    The results of an exploration Strategy?

    We see more and more brands working with exploration strategies in music these days and the latest one is from car brand Fiat in the UK. An exploration strategy means a brand guiding people to new music and artists that they haven’t heard before. In this way taking more of a grassroot approach and lifting up new talent to a larger audience.

    It’s great to see more brands involving on a micro level but the question remains, what happens to the bands that win these competitions? Normally you hear and read lot about the initiative in the beginning of the campaign but don’t see much of the results. What was really in it for the artist? Did it help them in their career? Did they get the huge success that was promised in the campaign?

    Let’s follow Fiat and see what happens…


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    Why a music strategy matters to brands

    “Music is both content and media. If we characterize consumer engagement as the sum total of the numbers of daily impressions plus the total amount of content consumtion, then music offers the largest array of consumer facing touch points (reach) than any other category and is by far, the most consumed entertainment content today.”

    Steve Yanovsky, Music and Emerging Media Consultant, Mindshare

    Read the full article

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    New workshop and exciting news for 2010

    Hello!

    It’s been a bit quiet here for a while. The main reason is that right now we are finishing finishing the final edits of the book “Sounds like branding” published by Norstedts publishing house, Sweden in mid-March.

    For all you english speakers there will be a beta version released around the same time as an audio book on Spotify as well as a limited edition (250 copies) 7″ vinyl…we will give you all details of this in the new year.

    If you happen to come to Cannes in January for the MIDEM fair you should really check out our workshop below. Jakob from Heartbeats will also sit in the experts panel of MIDEM +.

    Enjoy Christmas!

     

    I’m with the brand!

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    A workshop on how to build a successful
    strategy to interest brands
    (or how to sell out without selling out…)

    MIDEM, Cannes Monday 25 January
    4.00pm to 5.00pm

    In the future, music will be free and artists will get paid for it. What is changing is what is being paid for and how. At this Heartbeats workshop we will unveil the essential steps for artists, labels and the live entertainment sector to successfully attract attention from brands and secure a career in the new music economy.

    How to define your assets in the best way, identify your band/festival’s identity, package & present yourself to a brand, build a connection with it, monitor success…these are key factors for success to be discussed, together with best case practices on the ones that are doing it in the right way. All questions are welcome!

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    Are musical tastes genetic?

    A recent study on twins by Nokia and professor Adrian North reveals that 50% of our musical taste is predetermined. Watch this!

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    Taking the risk out of music

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    Brands and bands have been bedfellows for generations, sometimes uncomfortably. We speak to Sarah Tinsley from our Heartbeats network to find out how we can de-risk working with music by applying a more rigorous insight and planning process.

    Download article (PDF).

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    Japanese Muzak

    This store definitely takes Muzak to a new level. How did they analyze the music preferences of the target group? What brand values are being communicated? I can´t decide which one I love most.
    Can you?

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