Learn to balance the past and present of your music brand for future success.
Brands with a long history require a tricky balancing act. For example, if a brand gets too weighed down by the past, it will have difficulty moving forward. If it has a legendary history that’s buried under layers of new products, new technology and management turnover, then an invaluable asset can get lost in the shuffle of decades.
In this day of constant yet shallow consumer engagement, why is brand history important? It’s gravitas. History adds depth and gives shape to a company. In an industry focused on this nanosecond’s trends and sounds, a music brand that’s lasted 50 years or more is rare. Properly applied, history can be wielded like a club you can use to beat over the heads of younger, less experienced competitors.
Think of the role your product played in the larger framework of music history. If your instrument or gear was used to create a song or album that became part of the American music landscape or helped create an influential genre of music, then your brand has legend and legacy. Ditto if it became closely associated with a signature sound, a historic performance or tour. History equals credibility, trust, authenticity and expertise.
This is the sweet spot for brands with a legacy—where your product sits at the intersection of music and culture. It’s where mythology is created powerful stories that help build your brand’s legend.
So what is the best way to balance a legendary past with current business demands?
A music brand’s history should weave through a company’s marketing like a strong bass line in a song. It forms a rhythmic backbone and wraps itself in and out of the melody. It’s not overpowering, but it can be heard and felt.
Here are a few ways to effectively incorporate your history into your marketing:
- Branding vs. product ad campaigns. You can’t always rely on product ads to build your brand image or tell a historical story. Think of product ads as news—“here’s our latest and greatest.” It’s a rare product ad that skillfully weaves in a branding message. Think about doing a campaign that touts your history and how it plays into what you stand for as a brand.
- Make history digestible. Let’s say your product was used to help create a genre of music or an influential record. Boil the story down to a short video, or create a series of short podcasts. Use them on your website, YouTube page and other social media efforts. They shouldn’t get in the way of your product/corporate marketing, but complement it.
- Create a documentary-style video. If written and produced in an engaging and educational way, a long-form piece can help codify your history, get new consumers excited about your brand and strengthen brand loyalty. It could be executed in short, 5-minute chapters for easier viewing. Use it to drive traffic to your website and your social media properties. If done well, it could even help you get press coverage outside the trades and build awareness beyond the music industry.
Don’t ignore your brand’s legacy out of fear of seeming to be stuck in the past. It just might be one of the most powerful brand assets you have.