Musexpo Cites Music As Strategic Branding Tool
April 30, 2012 at 4:39 PM (PT)
MUSEXPO tackled the ever-increasing use of music to help market and promote large corporate brands in the panel, "Music Communication: Marketing Within The Retail & Consumer Brand Platforms." Moderated by THE PLAYLIST GENERATION CEO MICHAEL SMITH, the panel featured COMCAST ENTERTAINMENT GROUP/NBC UNIVERSAL Dir./Music CHRIS JACKSON, COCA-COLA COMPANY Dir./Global Entertainment Marketing JOE BELLIOTTI, COFFEE BEAN & TEA LEAF CEO MEL ELIAS, SIDNEY FRANK IMPORTING CO. Dir./Strategic Marketing RICH ZELLER, ACTIVISION VP/Music Affairs TIM RILEY and WARNER BROS. RECORDS Head of Marketing XAVIER RAMOS.
Citing the growing partnership that exists between the music industry and large consumer brands, ELIAS asserted that, "Music is absolutely critical for us. [COFFEE BEAN & TEA LEAF IS] always looking for ways to differentiate our brand ... music has become an incredible competitive advantage" for the company.
Calling the songs they use in their stores the foundation of a critically important "sonic identity" that supports the branding of everything else in their stores, he also noted that the company hand-picks every song played in their stores for the specific purpose of creating an authentic connection with their customers.
Each of the other panelists agreed that the power of music to underscore their brand identity was vital to their success. JACKSON, for instance, explained that music has been central to the process of re-branding the E! ENTERTAINMENT network, saying that "authenticity is hugely important" and that partnering with artists who speak to the personality of the E! brand will be a vital part of the re-branding campaign.
BELLIOTTI then illustrated the importance of music to COKE’s 2012 Olympics advertising. Saying that successful marketing efforts "all start with a story," he explained that the Olympics "is about fusing music and sport" and that COKE is "using music throughout the entire story-telling chain" as they create their Olympics ad campaign. BELLIOTTI's team worked with MARK ROMSON to film a documentary featuring many athletes who will compete at the games and then used their input to guide the process of mixing together a series of music beats to capture the spirit of the games, the result of which ultimately became the heart of COKE’s global TV commercials for the Games.
Speaking to his company's similar search for an authentic message to use in marketing its products, ZELLER said that JAGERMEISTER is always looking to "connect with the artist" that best captures its brand and that his company's artist development program has helped JAGERMEISTER to become "really identified and synonymous with music -- it’s something that’s in our DNA," he said. "We’ve developed a (touring) program where we work primarily with developing artists that need support" -- and then stay involved with them so that they come back and work with the company again, which benefits not only the JAGERMEISTER brand but also the artists.
Closing the circle were MR. RAMOS of Warner Bros. and ACTIVISION's RILEY, who combined to illustrate how artists and large consumer brands are becoming all the more important to one another in working together for mutual benefit. In marketing the GUITAR HERO franchise, RAMOS and RILEY explained that WARNERS artists like METALLICA and VAN HALEN, who are featured in the game, are not only perfectly suited because of the style of their music but also because many members of these bands are themselves very active gamers. Such genuine connection on the part of these artists results, among other things, in bands like AVENGED SEVENFOLD writing and recording songs specifically for GUITAR HERO, which allows for the kind of completely authentic marketing to shared fan bases that will best benefit both the artists and the brand.
The question-and-answer period featured a wonderful moment for one of the audience members. A young musician named KORI was selected at random by the panel to play a song for the room. After her song had finished playing, KORI was thrilled to hear ELIAS of COFFEE BEAN & TEA LEAF immediately announce that it was perfect for his company’s branding and that she should come speak with him afterward so that he could make arrangements to begin using her song in future sync campaigns, thereby further illustrating the converging interests of musical artists and consumer brands.