Can't Get That Song Outta My Head

/ 3-minute read /

Music Is Connective Tissue

The untimely deaths of so many beloved recording artists in 2016 has served to underscore the role that music plays in our collective psyche. Social media was overwhelmed with plaintiff goodbyes to a heartbreaking parade of singers / songwriters whose music gave us succor. Bookended by David Bowie in January and George Michael in December, the pile-on of musicians, many only in their fifties, was devastating.

Why? Why does this news have such an impact? Because, for the Baby Boomers and all named generations to follow, music is the tie that binds us together. It’s a form of community that defines us and that we readily use to represent us.

But here’s the thing: you may have once identified with a singer and claimed him / her for your own… Frank Sinatra and the bobby soxers… only to find the truly great ones get recycled over and over again by subsequent generations. Witness the now legendary Ol’ Blue Eyes who transcended his initial success and whose music has gone on to achieve iconic status for so many of us.

Brands are Connective Tissue

In the same way that music can trigger dopamine and transport us through chores as well as tragic and joyous moments, so too can our favorite brands. Consider an assignment I worked on for Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce. The company correctly hypothesized that consumers were purchasing more than just a humble canned good product. Reams of data were collected uncovering heartfelt stories and emotional connections about the role cranberry sauce plays in bringing family and love to the Thanksgiving table. The same is true for dozens of beloved brands: Apple, Kodak, Coca Cola, Google, Netflix, and Amazon. 

Beloved Brands + Beloved Musicians = BOOM!

Advertisers have known for decades that (puppies, babies and) pop music will always help sell their brands. Little wonder then that David Bowie’s tunes have been used as far back as thirty years ago to aid in Pepsi commercials; or, that Bowie’s iconic “Fame” was used to frame Cadillac’s Escalade perfectly:

Or that, going back decades, Diet Coke capitalized on George Michael’s rock star power and musicality to help the brand achieve record market share levels only five years after its introduction:

Music is Everything

The small business sector typically yearns to connect with its target and distinguish its brand or corporate I.D. from competition.  The lesson learned in the aftermath of so much emotional loss associated with iconic musicians can be instructive: look to the role that familiar music might play in cementing brand ties for your small business enterprise to your target audience.  Then, sit back and whistle a happy tune on your way to the bank.