We never thought we’d ever be quoting Kanye West on branding but here goes, we promise it’s leading somewhere, "There would have been no Beats deal without the Samsung deal. It showed the No. 1 company the importance of connecting with culture.” He was talking, of course, about the Samsung partnership with Jay Z that exclusively gave 1 million Samsung smartphone users the Holy Grail album, prior to it’s official release date back in 2013.
Years ago, a brand was born once a group of marketing and ad men sat in a room and decided on the positioning of the product. After which, they poured all the resources that they could get their hands on into mass market advertising. Fast forward to today, customers are now in the driving seat no matter how much money you pour into the advertising budget.
While we don’t necessarily agree with Yeezy’s opinions or even understand most of them, he does have a point. For any brand to become iconic there has to be a connection of relevance between the brand identity & function and consumers’ everyday lives. Beats is relevant in it's abiliy to marry pop culture and technology. The brand comes in a well designed package that sells (1) technology as the new arist and (2) the long loved tale of meritocracy. But once that connection is lost even the most iconic brands can fall from grace. After all, brand is the gut feeling that consumers have about you. If you are no longer of relevance to their lives, your brand is as good as obsolete.
It is crucial to refresh your brand by diving into cultural conversation and staying relevant by doing it in a way that’s true to you and your customers. The best way to go about it is by looking at the brand from the outside in. Understand the pragmatics in current everyday culture, and from there you can best align it with your internal brand culture to build an emotional connection with customers.