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  • Michael Spencer

Soundings: the brand of music

Sponsorship, branding and music….do people get the mix right? Bernard Carey (Chairman, Sound Strategies) adds to the Brand Republic viewpoint


One of my favourite tools in the marketing toolbox has always been sponsorship. Could that be because I get to go to fabulous sports, art and cultural events? I’m sure with every corporate executive there is something of that in it. But I also enjoy(ed) the selection process, aligning corporate brand values and objectives with the choices available. I recall at Rover Group when we were trying to establish a stronger reputation outside the UK, we chose to sponsor the overseas concerts of the London Symphony Orchestra. One of the world’s great ‘bands’, it also came with the culture of excellence and performance, and the stamp of Britishness that we were trying to promote for Rover. At least the brand of the LSO offered that. At the time we gave little thought to whether the classical music genre was the right one for Rover’s image, and whether the people attracted to it were Rover’s ideal customer base.

In Brand Republic this week, (see http://www.brandrepublic.com/InDepth/Analysis/657038/Sound-Music/ ), the marketing guru Ardi Kolah discusses this very point and asks whether companies are getting it right. In recent years many companies, particularly when targeting a younger audience have turned to music sponsorship. They are trying to reach these difficult-to-reach market sectors, and trying to associate their brand with the event (a rock concert, a tour, awards), and by trying to link their brand to the performer brand.

But, as Ardi asks, how much do they actually know whether it is the right music for them and their target audience. How much thinking has really gone into what sounds and music are right for that company’s brand? And does that music reflect what the company is doing with those other marketing tools like advertising, exhibitions, its website and so on?

Ardi Kolah suggests readers look at the Sound Strategies framework for developing a reasoned and relevant sonic anthem and branding strategy. (Thanks Ardi). We’d be interested in views on how companies have got this right or wrong.