We have all experienced the power that music has. It can influence our moods, change our perspective, and make us feel emotions we weren't expecting.
Music has been an inextricable part of all human culture for as long as we can remember -- and for good reason. Music is wholly transcendental. The beat, rhythm, and cadence of all kinds of music speak to us on a deeper, cognitive -- even without words.
Music, in and of itself, is storytelling.
And that's why you're in for a fun one today, not only are we going to dig into the incredible power of music (and why we need to follow its lead in marketing), we're going to explore some amazing lyrical stories AND I'm going to supply you with a personal playlist of songs that drive emotion with their amazing storylines.
(By the way, if you want your own copy of said playlist, opt-in below to get one sent to you!)
Before we look at the lyrical storytelling power of music, it's important to think about the psychology of music itself. A huge number of studies have shown that listening to music brings a unique pleasure to humans on a cognitive level.
Listening to music -- especially music that is considered highly emotional -- releases dopamine, which means the specific system in our brains that is tied to emotion, motivation, and reward gets turned on. Because of this, our brains are manipulated into eliciting emotions that we wouldn't normally be feeling at that moment.
Now, that's just taking into account the cadence of chords and rhythm of a song, but entire new worlds open up to us when we consider music as a storytelling device.
For example, if you listen to Eminem's song "Lose Yourself" (which was featured in the movie based loosely on his life, "8 Mile"), then you will immediately be transported into his life and struggles.
Some of the oldest tales, myths, and legends are written in song. When the already-powerful medium of music is combined with lyricism, you can be swept away on an intimate, emotional (aka dopamine-filled) journey.
And with that, it's time to dig into part of my playlist of notable songs with vivid lyrics that drive emotion. For our purposes, I'm just going to talk about 5 of these songs, but if you want a fully curated list of notable songs that drive a great storyline, be sure to opt-in to get your full playlist below!
Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" has been subject to a myriad of interpretations about what the details of the song symbolizes, but the most straightforward story is that of a boy who has killed a man. "Bohemian Rhapsody" is less a song and more of a emotional roller coaster experience as you follow his understanding of the situation, confession, and trial among unsympathetic judgment. Put this on anywhere, anytime for a guaranteed sing-along.
While I'm referring to the specific story held within the song "Folsom Prison Blues," (I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die is just one provocative line from this rousing song), I've provided the link to the entire "At Folsom Prison" live-recorded album, because nearly every track contains a fantastic narrative and Cash puts on a fantastic performance as the consummate storyteller he is known to be.
Also recommended: At San Quentin (1969).
One of David Bowie's most well-known songs, "Space Oddity" tells the fictional story of Major Tom, an astronaut who cuts off communication with Earth and essentially gets stranded in space. According to Bowie, the song was inspired by his viewing of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968, which makes complete sense. Story influences story.
Hundreds, if not thousands of songs have been written in tribute to New York and Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind" is another one that combines, connects, and contrasts his personal narrative within New York to the wider, idealized version of the Big Apple as a "sparkling metropolis" where hopes and dreams can come true.
This 8-minute song is a brilliant narrative of a fantastic, swash-buckling story of revenge. I'm not going to explain the story's details -- just listen to it to be swept away by some amazing storytelling. A quick shoutout to Greg Jenkins from Monkeypod Marketing who recommended this song as part of this blog post to me.
As seen in the examples above, a great song can take you on an intensely emotional journey -- telling you a story and impacting your mood and perspective while entertaining you along the way.
This is the proven blueprint that your marketing should follow. If you want to make a deeper impact and compel people to act, you have to form that emotional connection.
This is the heart of edutainment marketing -- the strategy of entertaining your target audience using storytelling, music, video, and so on to not just teach your target audience about your brand (or a related subject) but also emotionally engage them.
Edutainment and storytelling are key to gaining loyal fans. Great songs tell emotional stories and entertain along the way. Your marketing needs to follow the same, proven blueprint.
And there's a number of easy ways you can do this -- I'm a huge fan of using video, because not only is it an ideal medium for edutainment, it's also outpacing all other forms of content consumption (if you want to learn more about increasing your sales with the power of video, click here).
Below is an "alignment" video I produced for a former client, Texas Living Magazine. This video serves to educate the viewer about their magazine, while emotionally engaging them by reinforcing their shared values and beliefs backed by some inspirational music and stirring imagery.
Using strategic edutainment as part of your content marketing allows your company to tell its story in a different way.
For example, below is another video I produced for my full-service marketing agency, Built By Love. This one is intended to educate (and entertain!) our audience about what we can do by sharing the story of how we took a small family farm in Illinois and helped skyrocket them to Small Business of the Year.
As you've seen in the two small examples above, making your brand education entertaining increases the value of your content and influences the consideration your audience gives your message. By making your story more compelling and impactful, edutainment marketing can better direct storylines, drive meaningful engagement, AND increase consumer retention.
Last but not least, I'd like to show one more example of how powerful music with a great storyline can engage your audience on the deepest level of emotion, and more importantly, create a strong connection to your brand. This video is our anthem to small business owners.
Fortune 500 Examples
Pharrell Williams and Converse
Converse understands the connection between music, culture and brand affinity. They have created a recording studio to support artists and have multiple collaborations with artists to create songs that drive emotion tied to their brand. In this Pharrell video below, you'll see Converse shoes prominently placed in the videos.
Awolnation and Red Bull
Red Bull created a music academy and a record label that supports up-and-coming artists. Most notably, they've been using Awolnation's "Sail" throughout many of their extreme sports videos and promos.
Run DMC and Adidas
In 1986, Run DMC created a song named "My Adidas" that was responsible for as much as a 20% jump in sales. This pushed Adidas brand shoes into the limelight, and to this day, Adidas is still considered a mainstay brand in streetwear fashion.
Music, Emotions and Marketing
Hopefully this blog has shown you how music can be a powerful method for both storytelling and driving emotions. Heightened emotions help consumers create a bond with brands on a deeper level that's associated with their lifestyle, value, and purpose. And if your brand AND marketing strategy have a cohesive connection to what you do, how you act, and what what you stand for, then you will drive the emotion you need.
People buy first based on emotion, and then based on logic. Emotion drives the decision and the brands who deliver on emotion have historically seen great success and will continue to do so.
If you're looking for a strategy to create a cohesive emotional connection with your marketing then you'll find value working with our award-winning, full-service digital agency Built By Love. Click here to schedule a free consult today and experience marketing made simple.
If your timing isn't right for a free strategic consult with our agency, no problem! Make sure to grab your free PDF below (and a great storytelling soundtrack I might add) to enjoy some amazing artists who have used story and emotion in their songs. Those songs have ultimately become marketing pieces that have driven them into a world of wild success.
And if you are a business owner who is serious about growing his or her business with compelling content and proven strategies, then I would like to personally invite you to schedule a free consult with my agency.
We'll discuss your road map to success and how we can add value to your company by creating and implementing intelligently designed marketing strategies, video, graphics, copywriting (and edutainment!) into your business. Click here to schedule your free consult.
Daniel Bussius is an award-winning Infusionsoft Certified Partner who is highly sought after Marketing Agency CEO and Professional Consultant. Daniel and his agency, Built By Love, work with celebrities, New York Times best-selling authors, Fortune 500 companies and over 1,000 small business owners from around the world.
Daniel is the world's only dual StoryBrand Certified Agency and Infusionsoft Certified Partner. His agency holds a long list of certifications and hires top talent that has one primary goal: to make the client achieve their wildest dreams.
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