I was filled with dread that Hit Brands would be yet another marketing book with very little insight, instead filled with new buzzwords that no one really understands but feels compelled to use anyway. I was pleasantly surprised; it is an essential read for all marketers who are considering or currently using music in any way for their brands.
The authors are from the world of music – Daniel M Jackson is the founder of Sonicbrand, the UK’s first music branding agency; Richard Jankovich is director of content and creative for Mood Media; and Eric Sheinkop is co-founder and president of Music Dealers, a licensing firm that has done deals with the likes of Coca-Cola, MTV and CBS.
The book has a punchy start, with home truths about brands paying for artist associations based on personal musical tastes rather than what is right for their brand. You may be a fan of Lady Gaga, but are your 4m customers, with an average age of 72, really into her music and what she stands for? The authors make readers question their decisions and music-planning strategy.
Working with an established artist can really enhance your brand, and there is good insight here into the explosion of music on social media and how, if executed correctly, a brand can be associated with this. This is very topical considering the excellent music partnership between retailer John Lewis and Lily Allen (and Keane) and the tie-up between comparison website Comparethemarket.com, Gary Barlow and Coronation Street. These are well-thought-through campaigns using radio, TV and social media. By understanding the consumer’s passion points and motivations, a brand can develop a lasting relationship with its target audience.
Hit Brands contains a good mix of detailed case studies from Nescafé, Nokia, Barclaycard, Coca-Cola and Converse. It is always valuable to see a reminder of the key ingredients to a successful campaign.
My only criticism is that it would be great if the book came with a soundtrack featuring the examples that the authors talk about. I had to stop reading to listen to a track or ad that was mentioned.
Having read the book, it also seems fitting to say a huge personal thank you to James Curran, Absolute Radio’s head of music, who has been my personal expert to guide and select the right music to reflect the brand, keeping it current and using his label relationships to ensure the best deals.?
If you only have time for this… six key points from the book.
1. Get in the experts. There is an art to matching the right "sonic" or artist with a brand, so use an expert who is in the industry and has access and the contacts to get you the best deal.
2. Humans are a musical species, reminding us of the power of using music to generate an emotion or feeling for your brand.
3. Research. There are thousands of tracks and sonic possibilities, so use research to guide you in selecting the right sound for you.
4. Ask yourself, how can music benefit your brand – are there additional ROI or social opportunities for your music deal?
5. As with all advertising, there is no guaranteed winning formula, but with the right expertise and planning, you have a head start.
6. If you want to see your favourite artist, buy a ticket to their show.