The United States is a culture loving country. Whether it’s record breaking pop music, art galleries, or contemporary dance, we can’t get enough of it. It would seem to make sense, therefore, for businesses to embrace culture as part of their branding. This isn’t as easy as it might seem. If the brand and the cultural element aren’t natural bedfellows, it can seem false and contrived. A recent article in Branding Magazine looked at one example of cultural branding that was a perfect fit. Here, Zip International reviews the article, and consider how businesses can tap into culture.
“Culture is a very personal thing, so what one person loves, another may hate”, said Kai Petrich, director of Zip International. “For this reason, it’s essential that a business thinks carefully before allying themselves to any one brand. In this case, the link has worked perfectly. OK Go are at the cutting edge of pop music, and Honda themselves are technological innovators. It’s a great example of cultural branding done in the right way.”
OK Go have been making thought provoking alternative music since 1998. In that time, their music and lyrics have garnered critical acclaim, but they are even more famous for their innovative music videos. Their videos don’t feature special effects, models or film stars, and are often low budget, but they catch the eye and ear of consumers. Their breakthrough in this field came in 2006, with their video for ‘Here It Goes Again’. The video featured the band members performing on treadmills. It quickly went viral, won awards, and has often been imitated. To date, the video has received over 50 million views.
The Entrepreneur article looks at the video for their new song, ‘I Won’t Let You Down’. The band collaborated with Honda throughout the video. In a nod to the treadmill, they are seen riding UNI-CUBs, a miniature and futuristic personal transport device that the Japanese company are developing. The video itself is shot by a Honda drone known as an ‘octopus’. Honda have wisely stepped back from overtly advertising themselves in the video, and concentrated instead on the fun and playful aspects of their products.
“This is a great music video, that brings a smile to your face”, said Kai Petrich. “Honda have played it perfectly, by letting the video stand as a piece of popular culture, rather than an advert in itself. In this way, they are showcasing not only their technological innovations, but their ‘cool’ credentials.”
Zip International are themselves masters of marketing innovation. Their bespoke campaigns increase customer acquisition and brand growth.