I remember falling in love with the early smartphones like the Palm Treo and especially the BlackBerry 7200 series. These brands exemplified everything I wanted in a mobile phone and its users were people that I admired and identified with, professionals who had nice cars and well-tailored suits, young and successful. Although much time elapsed after first deciding that I would be a BlackBerry (BB) user and actually becoming one, I purchased my first Berry over two years ago and have been a user since.
Lately I’ve considered jumping ship to the iPhone, the only other phone that has the aesthetically pleasing characteristics and business utility that I desire. How did it come to this?
The war on terrorism is not the only war that has been wasting billions and fought with no clear perspective or foresight for the past 10 years.
It was only a little under 6 months ago, on November 29th, that the US government seized 82 domain names of websites that they believe are infringing copyrights or are facilitating it. This was yet another major event in the “War on Piracy” that has been fought for over a decade. Among those sites was OnSmash.com, a Hip-Hop blog that not only takes down content and links as per copyright infringement notices but also receives links and content from the record companies in order to promote their artists. OnSmash and its contemporary sites effectiveness and relevance are well proven; they often have new songs posted days or weeks before impacting radio. These sites have propelled more new artists from obscurity in the past decade than the broken A&R system of past. Furthermore, at times these sites had new music available to listen before or just as some music executives would be exposed to them. In layman’s terms, they have their ears to the streets, whereas record companies are only playing catch-up.
There appears to be two schools of thought in the realm of marketing in respect specifically to the entertainment sector. These two schools are known as gimmicks and branding – the traditional way of branding to be exact. You’ll often hear fans of musicians say that they’re “reaching” or “selling out” when these acts begin to align themselves with brands and brand personalities that are completely opposite from the principles they’re previously abided by. Some fans take this sentiment too far, where any types of brand alignments are perceived as selling out. However, co-branding and endorsements are a great way to expand your own brand and make money, especially in a field – like music – where record sales have plummeted by billions of dollars overall. Like many areas of business, there is a fine line to walk and a marketer can easily cross it into a gimmick when trying to brand talent. With that said, how do you brand an act without becoming too gimmicky?