J. Emilio Flores for the NYTimes (Paramore, the brand, the band)
The concept of 360º brand strategy isn’t so unique; in fact, the concept of considering the brand as a warming touch that reaches out in every consumer-linked direction is relatively common proposition. It’s a great proposal, to survey, to offer — but the reality is that completely spherical approaches to brand marketing are inherently complex to a significant degree. Why — it’s because true 360º covers everything; it’s the management of every point of connection with a human — and that’s very difficult. People are very hard to keep engrossed in a brand story that’s completely trying to surround them with content.?
For one, to do it well can be costly. And most corporate entities tend to discard marketing strategy at the first glimmer of downward trending in their trade. Marketing, and the inherent link to sales are sometimes a tough amalgam to support — mutually or otherwise — and surely we’ve all seen the model of dissipating the one, to meet results; then not focusing on the other side of the equation. One, or the other. When it’s both, and there’s thoughtful integration of brand strategy, linked directly to the marketing, attached specifically to larger goals of experiential applications — from retail to websites, it’s a driver of more differentiating and recognizable, if not resonant business. But it takes discipline. And it takes funding across a series of actions that sometimes drift from operational concerns to uniforms and utility. There’s another side to the equation, I believe. And that is what happens when a brand actually diverges cross course, to another learning and positioning. What I suggest is that some brands seem to savor existing in marketspace in a manner that is entirely jumbled. There’s nothing about consistency. And somehow, given the nature of the brand and its personality, it sort of works. Bands, as brands, in a way, operate in the most creative representation of action in brand, in story, in catalyzing personality to the top of the presentation, and letting it live, live, live! Person — and personality of brand — is right in the center of the universe of that context, that brand construct. And the reference to Paramore’s story — how there are burgeoning crowds of emulators is just like any other brand band — from the Beatles to Metallica, from Seal to Usher, from Boards of Canada to Jamoroquai. It goes on. But if you examine the concept of a band, as a brand, it’s an interesting proposition — because:?
º Bands are people. They band together for a cause.
º Brands are made by people for people; branded bands immerse and intertwine the concepts — the story, the person, the telling, the reflection.
º Bands are people that (must) do crazy things — they create music which is an intensely pressured creative activity; it’s hard work.
º Bands must perform that music — which is, at once, a string of improvisational variations, but it’s as well something that must be strictly followed for the sake of recognition.
º Bands are driven to commerce, which is at the very nexus of conflict with creative action.
º Branding bands, branding music is like packaging air; it’s something whereby the personality of the musician, the vibrant energy of that person and their expression has to be captured, organized, cultivated, and managed in a kind of do this, don’t do that, say this, don’t say that attribute of creative action.
But, inherently, the potential for a band to brand is high. Great brands are fluid, they’re resilient, they move. Musicians — as individuals or as teams must do the same thing. Great brands are complexly sensate; great bands thrive on empowering and telling visuals that link stories to themselves, their visioning in song, the texture of experience in sight and sound. And, like the lover of music, they might develop a relationship with the brand that is deeply embracing. Personally connected.
What music, for you, binds you holistically — that takes you someplace that evokes a deeper sense of attachment, and why? What’s holding you? What’s holding you there??
A complex, spherical brand containment is complicated, but doable. Music | video and sight | retail and touch | food and dining experience | film and entertainment — And perhaps brand scent. J.Lo, for one, Sean John, another. Michael Jordan. JayZ — each, an empire in 360º marketing.
Brand Bands — theories of branding music, musicians, bands and the worlds that they create.
More here, of course — Jeff Leeds | NYTimes | 11.11.07