Throughout this series, we’ve talked a lot about change: change in technology, demographics, preferences, behaviors, social norms, power dynamics . . . as the list goes on, it can feel like the entire world is in flux. The ever-evolving risks that brands face in the me-conomy (cord cutting and ad blocking and cookie deprecation . . . oh my!) can make the future of marketing seem bleak, but there are plenty of things brands can do to mitigate these risks.
Adaptability is vital to surviving the me-conomy, but in order to thrive in the me-conomy, brands need to balance adaptability and stability. Brands need reliable strategies that are proactive rather than reactive in the face of change. As mass marketing, captive audiences, and third party tracking go by the wayside, marketers have a chance to return to the roots of good marketing: building and maintaining personal relationships with people.
So, how can marketers build relationships in a way that is simultaneously dynamic and dependable, personal and communal, unique and ubiquitous, futuristic and nostalgic? Music is all of these things and more.
Music x Stability
Despite massive shifts in the music industry, technological advances in the way we listen to music, and a world rocked by a global pandemic, overall music consumption has remained steady in the long term. After a brief drop in music consumption during the first few weeks of the pandemic, people quickly turned back to music for comfort and reassurance. Music’s long term stability allows brands to invest in marketing that is exciting and of-the-moment while still stable and reliable.
Music x Brands
The first step to building relationships is connecting with people in a meaningful, authentic way. We have found, over and over again, that music is the best way to connect with people, both on a personal level and a cultural level. In a world where people are “opting out” of so many forms of marketing messaging, people are increasingly opting in to music and embracing brands that include music in their marketing strategies.
The personal connections that we feel with our favorite artists make us more likely to watch sponsored content featuring our favorite artists—and the pandemic increased the number of people who see a brand more favorably if they sponsor music or artists. Music sponsorship helps brands captivate audiences and become part of the emotional experience of music.
From Captive Audiences to Captivating Audiences
The loss of captive audiences due to cord-cutting means that brands need to captivate audiences. Music translates across platforms and permeates our lives - and as interest in other forms of traditional media decreases, our love of music continues to grow.
Music x Omnichannel
The role of music in our lives reaches beyond the time we spend listening to our favorite artists. More people follow musicians on social media than any other category of public figure and 9 out of 10 social media users interact with music or artists in some way on social media. Brands need omnichannel strategies that reach people where they are and allow them to seamlessly cross between physical, digital, and hybrid spaces. Here at MAX, we have developed technology that monitors campaigns and makes real-time adjustments to channel strategies, optimizing your reach and engagement. Once you have connected with people where they already spend their time, you have the opportunity to invite them into the spaces you control and to build lasting relationships.
Music x Video
When it comes to capturing our attention, video still reigns supreme. Video generates higher levels of engagement on social platforms and inspires us to share moments with other people; people are twice as likely to share video content with friends and family than any other type of content. This preference for video content extends to branded content as well: 86% of people would like to see more video content from brands [Wyzowl]. At MAX, we help brands create compelling, captivating video content that consistently performs higher than industry benchmarks for views, length of viewing sessions, engagement, and click-through metrics.
From Ads People Block to Relevant Content
We know from the previous installment of this series that the main reason people skip/block/ignore ads is because they are frustrated by irrelevant ad content. The great news is, when branded content is relevant and personalized, people actually do watch and pay attention to them.
Music x Personalization
Music is the number one signal of identity and the ultimate way to personalize content. By aligning your brand with an artist, you increase the likelihood that artists’ fans will watch and engage with your content. Additionally, the music that someone loves can tell you a lot about their other preferences. This means that brands can still effectively target specific audiences in a world without third party cookies.
Music x Culture
Relevance is deeply connected to both individual identity and culture (remember when we talked about balancing “me” with “we”?). Brands that can authentically and respectfully connect with people through culture see a 300% increase in purchase intent and a 200% increase in brand perception. Music and culture are closely intertwined; by forming a partnership with a culturally relevant artist, brands can forge authentic bonds with people through a shared music experience.
From 3rd Party Cookies to Meaningful Relationships
As the prospect of a cookieless world looms, marketers are looking for ways to build long term, stable relationships with people.
Music x Loyalty
We talked a lot about brand loyalty in the fourth installment of this series. Brand loyalty is what inspires people to take action, whether that means making a purchase, sharing their information, engaging with your brand, or whatever your goal is. The connection that people feel with their favorite artist can translate to a relationship with a brand, increasing brand loyalty and helping build meaningful bonds between brands and people.
Traditionally, CPG brands have nurtured more direct relationships with retailers rather than the final consumers of their products, but all of that is changing in the me-conomy. Brands are focusing on building direct relationships with people and preparing for a cookieless world through creative lead generation and first-party data.
Pepsi has embraced this strategy with authenticity and true cultural relevance through their Full of Detroit Soul initiative. The ongoing campaign features local Detroit artists and organizations, celebrating both the unique individuals who make up the city and the community organizations that bring people together.
Detroit has soul and at Pepsi, we wanted to create a campaign that authentically and unapologetically captured this spirit of Detroit. So we teamed up with local artists, makers and organizations to create a campaign that’s powerful, engaging, and most of all, a vibrant celebration of Detroit, our history in the city and what being a proud Detroiter is all about.
When Pepsi decided to include a music element in the launch of their Full of Detroit Soul platform, the brand was looking for an artist partner who represented both the spirit of Detroit and Pepsi’s brand values. MAX helped Pepsi find Detroit R&B/soul singer songwriter Kem and the resulting partnership was extraordinary.
Having launched in late 2020, the Pepsi x Kem partnership gave fans a much-needed break from the pandemic. With engaging storytelling-style videos, snackable social content, and a Pepsi-owned content hub where people could explore the rich spirit of Detroit artists and register to attend an intimate music experience with Kem, Pepsi even gave a few lucky fans a virtual private meet & greet with Kem. The campaign was immensely successful, eliciting engagement, impressions, viewership, and registration numbers well beyond goals and benchmarks. Through their partnership with Kem, Pepsi connected with people in a meaningful, personal way.
As the Full of Detroit Soul program continued to build momentum in 2021, MAX helped Pepsi find the perfect artist partner in Queen Naija and worked with the brand to develop the next phase of the platform: “I Am Full of Detroit Soul.” This campaign featured content from emerging Detroit artists on the landing page and invited fans to become a part of the campaign itself by voting for their favorite artist. The fan-favorite artist (Jahz Watts) performed as the opening act for an exclusive, geofenced livestream show starring Detroit native and break-out star Queen Naija.
This campaign, like the Kem partnership, drove high levels of engagement as fans interacted with social content, voted for their favorite emerging artist, and registered to watch the show. Even after the campaign is over, fans of all of the artist finalists will remember that Pepsi amplified the voices of their favorite artists and possibly even introduced them to new favorites.
Relevant - I want content and products tailored just for me
People from Detroit feel a close connection to their city—and especially its motown music roots—even if they have since moved away. The artists and content featured in this campaign connect with people on a personal, emotional level.
Captivating - Gets and keeps my attention
By running a contest for the Full of Detroit Soul livestream show, Pepsi gave people a reason to keep coming back for more—and they definitely did! This campaign saw people returning to the Pepsi website and social channels again and again to check on the contest results.
Convenient - I don’t have to dig for it, it comes to me
Pepsi employed an omnichannel strategy, sharing content across platforms, meeting people where they already spend time. Then, they took it a step further and invited people into Pepsi-owned spaces by offering a livestream show in exchange for information.
Abundant – I can go as far down the rabbit hole as I want
The “I Am Full of Detroit Soul” campaign goes well beyond the livestream show and the contest winner. The website features content from all of the contest finalists and links over to the Full of Detroit Soul website, where people can find even more artists, chefs, and community groups that represent the spirit of Detroit.
Compelling - Makes me want to do something differently (buy a product, binge for hours, sign up for more)
Because this campaign hit all the right notes, Pepsi was able to generate leads through contest voting and livestream registrations. This will help Pepsi continue to nurture relationships with people, well beyond the campaign media flights.
The Me-conomy is defined by the changes in consumer behavior that shaped it, but requires both adaptability and stability in order to thrive. At MAX, we’ve found that music provides a time-tested avenue to build and nurture relationships, even in the face of so many changes . . . and we have the tools and data to show tangible results*.
Music is always relevant, captivating, convenient, abundant, and compelling; MAX can help you make sure your campaigns are all of these things (and more) too.
*Get in touch if you’d like to learn more about how your brand can drive culture and measurable marketing KPIs through MAX. Whether you’re looking to increase awareness with hard-to-reach audiences, drive high levels of engagement, improve consideration/sentiment, drive in-store traffic, generate D2C leads, or provide one-of-a-kind fan experiences, MAX delivers.