Feature image: Hank Williams
Think Chanel and Hank...
…Cartier and Cash
…Vuitton and Waylon
… Bentley and Tammy
That's right, it sounds crazy.
This blog points out how deeply country music emotionally connects with its audience - and how this is exactly what strong brands also do.
Richard Huntington, of Saatchi & Saatchi, to whom we are hugely indebted for this brilliant thought that links country music to brand strategy. The connection was inspired by Malcolm Gladwell who asks, in Campaign, why country music makes you cry but rock doesn’t.
That country is emotional seems self-evident.
Poignant, adult themes of loss, betrayal, alcoholism, melancholy, endless heart break – backed up by sad keening pedal steel and lonesome vocals. And minor keys. (Don’t forget the minor keys.)
It’s why so many pop/rock artists turn to this genre as they get older, as country can more powerfully express life stories with sincerity and integrity.
With country, it’s the specificity of the lyrics and singer’s experience that matters. The best ones come from personal lived experience. Not clichés. Not teams of writers.
It’s also about tradition – something luxury understands – and most importantly, engaging storytelling.
Real people, real life stories – real luxury brand success
Many successful luxury brands are rooted in the particular and the personal and have genuine founder stories whose legacies inform the brand.
We’ve worked with a few:
Image credit: Picryl
Founder of iconic Canadian aviation company Bombardier, Joseph-Armand Bombardier, grew up experiencing first-hand the brutal winters where the mercury could dip to below zero (-22ºF). Roads would be closed due to snowfall, residents isolated, essential services put out of reach. Young Joseph-Armand became obsessed with the challenge of helping people to move through this difficult environment, spurred on by a very personal family tragedy. The brand has stayed true to the same desire to help, innovate and technologically solve transportation.
Image credit: Wikipedia Commons
Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin, born in 1777 married François Clicquot at the age of 21. Her husband died six years later. Her husband's death may have been suicide. Madame Clicquot had to work. She ended up creating a wine that was different to others: less sweet, uncloudy, with smaller bubbles – called champagne. The rest is history. Here’s our case history.
Pavorotti’s family had little money; its four members were crowded into a two-room apartment. World War II forced the family out of the city in 1943. Life was tough. He thought he might be a farmer, then a professional footballer. His family weren’t so supportive when he said he wanted a career in music. His voice had to deliver much – and so it did. Here’s how we worked on his legacy with Universal Music.
Symphonia gin founder, organic chemist Ric Dyer, spent his career studying the structure of molecules, searching for the essence of life. He revolutionised gin making by remaining true to the purity of science and nature and invented the best tasting gin flavours in the most eco-efficient way. His career was the basis for the brand’s sustainability strategy. Made in Northern Ireland, it was “Highly commended” in 2021’s Footprints Sustainability (Drinks) Awards. Here's what we did.
Birchall George Graham was posted to India in the 1860’s as an officer with the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment. While there he planted his first tea bushes. In 1872 he decided to return to India using his savings to make a living by planting tea in Darjeeling. Thus were the seeds of a tea dynasty planted and Imporient grew into one of the world’s largest exporters of tea from East Africa. When they wanted to create a premium consumer brand, we named it to reflect the brand proposition of heritage, quality, taste, and family values. Here's how we did it.
In a tech world, real life stories still matter.
To start building meaningful, emotional connection, luxury brands must not forget the passion that inspires the creation of their businesses.
Strong brand strategy and creative campaigns comes from our experiences, our lives, and our souls - not from Hallmark blandness.
They come from respecting the personal skill and commitment put into luxury craftmanship. All those winemakers, ironsmiths, artisans, artists in their studios, their ateliers, at their benches, in the vineyards, sketching, colouring, sewing, finishing, enamelling, smelling, touching, moulding, soldering…
Going back to and understanding these origins properly – upholding the values and provenance of materials and the social conditions under which a company started out with – is a truthful and meaningful way to attract and keep the next generation of customers.
The best country music understands that.
So do we.
We will help your brand work harder (as Merle Haggard understood)
Anew are brand development and marketing specialists for ambitious businesses of excellence. Whether it’s insight from research, strategic brand thinking, a new brand name and logo design, messaging, online and offline content or website development, we help companies increase brand profitability through sharper insights, distinctive propositions, creative ideas and faultless execution. We are particularly adept at working directly with luxury brands, business owners, start-ups and entrepreneurs who are committed to sustainability, outstanding quality and craft.
Based in the heart of London, we'd be delighted to meet for a coffee, either face-to-face or virtually, to discuss any new projects you might be considering.
Serious luxury brand marketeers get in touch here.
Serious Country fans see here