Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Basic Tools for Community, Music, and Marketing

Your company can use music to build communities in a variety of ways:

Music as an element in your corporate personality

Some companies are doing this via sonic branding and others are incorporating music into an overall corporate image. Two examples of the latter:

Umpqua Bank has become known for its support of local musicians (e.g., compilation CDs, special play lists, live performances). In addition, the company has turned its local offices into gathering spots. According to Lani Hayward, EVP of Creative Strategies, "Our customers and other community members use our stores as community centers. Many come for entertainment and/or just to read the paper and enjoy a cup of coffee. These types of community interactions demonstrate that Umpqua is more than a just a bank." "Umpqua Bank Serves Up a Lifestyle, " Business Pundit, 6/25/08

From its inception, Scion, the youth-focused line of vehicles from Toyota, has marketed itself as a lifestyle brand. Music has been a major component. Scion Music

Music as a topic of discussion

Some companies are creating websites to foster music discussions, with an expectation that there will be cross-promotional value to them. Two examples:

H2O Audio, which makes headphones and MP3 cases for watersports, has a music discussion board on Loop'd Network, a sports site. H2Orider.com

The international mobile phone company, Vodafone, has created its own music-related site. Vodafone Music Unlimited

Music as a means of self-expression

Many music fans are no longer content to be passive consumers. They want to be part of the creative process. Two examples:

Hoobastank is encouraging fans to remix the band's latest video. Hoobastank: My Turn

Management firm Nettwerk is letting fans create albums. Said CEO Terry McBride, “We have an artist named K-OS, and we released [all pieces of his music] two weeks ago, and the fans have not heard the album. It's not due out until March, so they are actually mixing the album. So we will release physically and digitally the artist version and the fan version. And when we go to radio, we will service the artist version and fan version.” "Nettwerk CEO Terry McBride Puts Fans in Charge of Bands," MediaShift, 12/11/08

Music as a force to bring your employees together

The ad agency Weiden+Kennedy is running its own W K Radio. “The radio extension exists to inspire creativity through provocative conversations, interviews and artistic expressions relating to arts, culture, media, and music. We're starting small with minimal programming hours, with a goal to eventually share an equal amount of programming between our seven different offices and their communities worldwide.” W+K Blog, 1/05/09

Music as a theme for an event

There is a long history of companies sponsoring shows, festivals, and tours, so I won’t offer specific examples now. More to come later.

Suzanne Lainson

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