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The beat goes on: Connecting with brands through music


Let’s shine a light on conversations. What do people talk about? Topically, it centralises around what we see, do, watch, wear and listen to, therefore forming how we act, identify, communicate and behave. Together, these elements provide us with varying cultures and movements, meaning we can explore popular culture from a brand perspective.

Culture is palpable. It lives and breathes collectively, allowing us to consistently pay attention to changes and manifestations over time. For decades, brands have leaned on cultural ideals and mediums, helping consumers to navigate shifting times. So, which is the most influential driving force to create strong cultural identity? Music. The domineering facet that intrinsically connects us. 

By linking people via the art of storytelling, music reflects reality, bringing with it an emotional response that fuses global communities. Music is often a significant variable to implement, which makes it extremely useful for brands to utilise.

Why? Well, brands want their consumers to be emotional about their product or vision, by making an authentic and engaging connection with them. However, artists desire a loyal fanbase so they can run successful tours, but to achieve this they of course require financial support, too. This is where conceptual partnerships are created and if crafted well, can create enough impact to shape culture.

A shining example of the foundations of this came from the release of ‘My Adidas’, a tribute to the sneaker appropriation by New York street kids. All of the sudden, Adidas started seeing the popularity of their Superstar sneakers at Run-D.M.C. gigs. 

The crowd started waving their shoes in the air every time the song was played. So, Adidas spotted an opportunity and signed the band to a one-million-dollar endorsement deal. Back in the day, this was massive, since the hip-hop genre was still up and coming. Equally, this was a huge win for Adidas, because they gained a whole new audience in the process. 

This association is still present in the United States. Reportedly, hip-hop fans who have a passion for style are around 80 percent more likely to have purchased an Adidas product in the last two years, compared to the average consumer from the United States. Of course, every brand has its own unique approach when it comes to leveraging partnerships. Here, we’ve picked out some notable and recent collabs.

A match made in sunshine heaven, Bacardi launched a partnership with Major Lazer. Fitting the brand perfectly with their island vibe music, they brought the roots of where they come from and where Bacardi originates to everyone else. The collaboration between the two was called ‘Sound of the Rum’ and took many forms, even releasing a special, limited-edition Major Lazer bottle of rum. The brand continually supports their events and they, in return, show up to brand activations. The winning formula? They both get the opportunity to rapidly expand and introduce the Caribbean music and culture to the rest of the world.

We also can’t forget the iconic collaborations between Victoria’s Secret and various musicians, with the fashion show becoming part of the lingerie retailer’s DNA, until they stopped the famous shows in 2018. The essential, accompanying performance element was added to the show to give something extra to the product, bringing a feel-good vibe to the consumer and additional magnitude. Victoria’s Secret have worked alongside global artists including Ariana Grande, Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, Ed Sheeran, and many more. Amongst the hustle and bustle of the famous models, musicians and runway theatre, this certainly was a strong dose of clever marketing. 

When revenue and exposure for all is on the menu, it’s a smart affiliation that brands and artists all want a piece of. Plus, the consumer gets the inside scoop, experience and merch. We can’t wait for the fresh collabs to arrive in 2021.