TFOL Talks To: Iain Watt, Managing Director, Machine Management About Musical Marketing For Luxury Brands

This is the first in a regular series of Q&As with leading industry professionals who approach their work with luxury brands from an innovative perspective.

This week we talked to Iain Watt of Machine Management. In addition to representing a diverse range of music artists Machine Management has built up an impressive roster of major clients who turn to their Brand Consultancy when creating campaigns where music plays a central role. We asked Iain to give us a run-down of how he sees the worlds of luxury and music working together and what the future could hold.

Which luxury brands have you worked with?
Mulberry, Gucci, Diesel, Soho House, The Club at The Ivy etc

What’s involved in creating a musical strategy for a brand?
The first thing we do define the brand’s goals and their reasons for wanting to use music as a marketing tool.  Once we have established this with our clients, we then go away and work on what the overall strategic approach will be for the campaign ensuring that it fits with the brand’s identity. Then it’s the fun part of generating ideas and creative that matches the overarching strategy and delivers the client’s goals.

How do you get to the bottom of a brand’s DNA and discover its musical ‘personality’?
Luxury brands are very targeted as to who their core consumer is and what the key elements of their life consist of.  Using this knowledge, the brand’s history and identity and its current marketing objectives the brand’s musical personality starts to reveal itself.  However, music is a very personal thing and in fashion particularly there are a lot of very creative people so we work with these individuals to gain further insight beyond research to define the brand’s musical DNA.  Once we have done this it allows use to be very targeted as what artists and music we work with and how.

How do you see music contributing to the ever-increasing trend towards experiential marketing?
Of course, a unique moment, event or gig really lives long in the memory of media and the consumer.  These moments people want to share so they can deliver real value and reach via social media.  It’s all about the quality of the idea, the quality of the artist/event and the quality of the content.  Get all this right and you have something that creates buzz in advance, excitement on the day and lives online post the event as people share the experience.

Have there been any recent campaigns that have, in your opinion, used music in a really innovative way?
Yes I think what we did with Mulberry around their 40th Anniversary was innovative and unique. They have a number of key events for fashion media across the year to celebrate this anniversary they used music as the key theme.  At each event artists were selected to fit with the brand and appeal to media and consumers.  The artist performed at each event but not only that, a plethora of high quality and unique content was generated and housed it’s own Mulberry Music destination and seeded across fashion, lifestyle and music media.

This ranged from Lana Del Rey’s first ever association with a fashion brand, performing around the pool where she shot the video for Video Games at The Chateau Marmont in LA, Metronomy playing croquet in Coachella, Kasabian covering Bugsy Malone ‘You Could Have Been Anything’, a range of cutting edge bands covering their favourite love songs as a Valantine’s special etc, etc.   At the end of the year, Mulberry issued the Del Rey bag the result of their collaboration with the singer born out of this activity.  The artists and quality of the content really made it stand out from other brand’s music activity, although I would say that as we did it.

Given that emotion plays such a significant role in luxury purchases, how can music be used by brands to influence our purchases?
Music when it’s used right can evoke very strong emotions.  We have all had the moment when a track comes on it reminds you of a period of time, someone or something.  In movies, music is used all the time to trigger emotional responses from the audience.  It’s no different for a luxury brand.  Music and/or artists can be used to illicit an emotional bond with the brand if they are used intelligently and tastefully.

What are some of the biggest trends in your sector?
I see the world’s of fashion and music colliding in ever more creative ways. I look at what brand’s produce not only their collections but what they build around it to underscore their identity:  the show, content: short films, animations, photography, magazines, books, retail installations etc.   It’s the same for credible music artists they create their own world in the same way: short films, animations, photography, magazines, fanzines, art and their show is the gig.  I see luxury brands working with artists to create things that truly excite and are unique.

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