Monday, 26 November 2012

Why a Brand should B(e).E.P.

Black Eyed Peas- Do It Like This Lyrics

Back when the Black Eyed Peas released their first socio-political chart topper "Where is the Love," I was in the early years of secondary school, trying really hard to be cool.  Fast forward 8 years, and whilst I'm still pretty much the same, compared to their early days The B.E.P. are almost unrecognisable.  What hasn't changed for them however, is their consistent presence  at the top of the music industry.  But in a sector riddled with illegal downloads, one-hit wonders, and a highly fickle public, how exactly have they retained their success?

Below are a few observations that are broadly transferable to any business or brand, and key to success and longevity.

Brand it!

Firstly and most importantly, The Black Eyed Peas have moved from hip-hop band, to hip hop-brand – sorry for that one. 

Originally the ATBAN clan, the band differentiated themselves from the typical hip-hop scene by performing with a live band, choosing a distinctive and recognisable style, and adding a little sex appeal in the form of vocally voluptuous Stacy Ann Ferguson – a.k.a. Fergie.

In providing consumers with something new and distinctive, the Black Eyed Peas became instantly recognisable, and consequently gained a platform on which their product had a chance to succeed.  Give your brand’s product the same opportunity.  If you can create a distinguishable and definitive personality for your brand, whatever the sector you will incite curiosity from consumers that are naturally receptive to your product/business and the chance to build a relationship with them.

Brands that have done this well:  Innocent, Starbucks, Old Spice

Evolve but Remain

Whilst finding fame amongst Daniel Beddingfield, t.A.T.u and Westlive, their most recent no.1 (“The Time (Dirty Bit)”) struck a chord with the public amidst the synthed-up stylings of Flo Rida and The Far East Movement.  What’s impressive about this is that not only has their musical style consistently evolved to reflect the type of music consumers want to consume, but that they've achieved this whilst retaining their brand identity.

The importance of companies striving to stay ahead of consumers’ wants and needs is now fairly familiar; however the importance of retaining a consistent brand identity during each offering-evolution isn't quite as revered as it perhaps should be.

Ensuring that communications stay true to a brand's core principles during a business' growth and progression allows consumers to understand a brand at a deeper level and build an affinity with it.  With e/f/m-commerce constantly growing and convoluting the shopper journey to purchase, this affinity lets brands stand out to consumers and increase the likelihood of influencing them on this journey.

Brands that have done this well:    Microsoft, Gillette, Kanye West

Communicate Appropriately

As a judge on this years reality show "The Voice", got into some hot water for tweeting during the show.  He reportedly responded:

"If you saw me on my phone I wasn't being rude...if I don't tweet during live TV I'm not connecting to people watching in the new way"

There are 2 points to be said on this.  Firstly, with 2nd screen interaction set to grow alongside the tablet market and smartphone saturation, it recognises the evolution of how consumers are and will be watching TV.  Secondly, has recognised where his fans are (4.68m Twitter followers and many more on other social networks), and how he as a brand needs to interact with them.

Not everyone needs a Facebook page, mobile app or Pinterest account.  Utilise the best communications channels that are appropriate for your brand and target audience to forge and foster a relationship.  This will not only let you streamline efforts and budget to create a more effective campaigns, but let consumers familiarise themselves with your brand begin in specific spaces, and help provide consistency and consumer expectation of your conversations.

Brands that have done this well:  Cadbury, The Guardian, EMI


From humble beginnings as the ATBAN Clan, The Black Eyed Peas have gone on to achieve great things, and continue to have a strong presence in what's become an increasingly complex industry.  Consistently evolving ahead of consumers, they've supported the myriad of individual and group endeavours they've undertaken with appropriate communications, and consequently maximised their consumer reach.  Whilst the constant progression and digitalisation of communications means that they'll need to continue to evolve in order to prosper, if they carry on in the same vein as they currently are, they'll do pretty well.

What's more, if you follow the above principles, you and your brand should prosper too.

1 comment:

  1. We're so 2008, you're so 2000 and late.

    Black eyed peas - 2012