"RAF" by A$AP Mob, featuring A$AP Rocky, Playboi Carti, Quavo, Lil Uzi Vert and Frank Ocean
Storytelling is the root of all successful branding. It takes a product or service from mediocre to unforgettable. Regina Luttrell writes in Social Media: How to Engage, Share, and Connect, “Stories have been and continue to be the most useful and persuasive tools when communicating with others.” With artists collectively releasing over one million songs each year, there are more than enough opportunities for new stories to be shared with the public. And with artists accumulating millions of followers on their social media profiles, they are undoubtedly one of the biggest categories of influencers to date. Honestly, brands have not taken advantage of music in the slightest.
History can trace further back, but The Beatles take credit for making albums full of stories that everyone could relate to. With their single, “The Ballad of John and Yoko,” John Lennon was able to tell the story about the journey to his wedding in Gibraltar, trips through Paris, Amsterdam and Vienna, and everything in between. His use of detailed lyrics to create a vision for The Beatles’ fans is what captivated the world and made them as successful as they still are. At its release, the song was a #1 single in the UK. Lennon’s ability to tell a story from its beginning to present time is what makes him and the rest of The Beatles timeless icons. Their platform was undoubtedly one of the highest publicized profiles of the century, and with every song they released, they were sure to make the top of the charts. With their heavy influence on society, their music continues to be appreciated by fans all over the world, which proves how influential artist work can be.
Just like The Beatles did, creating a vision is the storytelling tactic that has the heaviest influence on listeners. Describing a setting and message to the public through a lyrical and instrumental sequence, is an enjoyable design that will resonate with them. Brands can learn from this creative method and work with artists as influencers, by subtlety incorporating or encouraging the brand, product or service, while remaining authentic to their genuine lyrics and musical styles. For example, the song “RAF” by A$AP Mob, features A$AP Rocky, Playboi Carti, Quavo, Lil Uzi Vert and Frank Ocean, and highlights fashion designer Raf Simons throughout the entire song. While staying authentic to their sound, the artists were able to rap about Raf Simons, without sounding like an advertisement. Not only was the song able to reach the Top 10 on the U.S. Top 40 chart, but with the collective following among the artists who performed “RAF,” it reached over 46 million listeners, which was most definitely unexpected and overly successful publicity for Raf Simons.
With influencers constantly setting higher standards for their followers to expect, musical artists should be appreciated, now more than ever, for the work they already do that can help brands achieve their goals. Each artist has a loyal following, and with music streaming services taking over smartphone activity, artists are bound to be the most acknowledged influencers of the century.
The world would most definitely enjoy such a pleasant way to listen to the same story over and over again, even if it’s subtly endorsing a brand.