Content brand of the week: Beats by Dre, the audio brand making plenty of noise

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Beats? Isn’t that what you get from the school bully on your birthday?

No – it’s the electronics brand and brainchild of legendary hip-hop artist and producer Dr. Dre.

Ahhhh, is that the gentleman who sang ‘Still DRE’?

That’s the one – he’s shifted his focus from making music to establishing a leading electronics brand.

And has it worked?

Boy has it! Apple has just bought the brand for $3,000,000,000 making Dr. Dre the first billionaire in hip-hop – the brand has also won multiple global electronics awards.

So how and why has the brand become so big?

The vision and mission outlined by founder Dr Dre was to inject pure emotion back into the world, and in order to do that he said Beats must create a revolution in sound. It is this combination of emotion and innovation that has driven not only the product quality, but become a core pillar of their content strategy.

Nice – so show me some examples of this effective content?

It’s perhaps not the first place you’d check for emotive messaging, but from the outset the brand’s product copy has been consistent with this original strategy – delivering passionate, consumer-focused messaging that stays away from lifeless technical specs and meaningless buzzwords.

But don’t people want to know technical features like driver diameter, frequency response, max input power, sensitivity, and impedance?

Although met with some critical acclaim by electronics boffins, the brand’s decision to refrain from using technical jargon in its product copy has been an effective one. Firstly, it is unique – a key component for fuelling brand successes. Secondly, consumers can relate and engage with a brand who are more welcoming, conversational, and convey passion and emotion.

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I suppose it would be slightly ‘off-brand’ for Dr. Dre to go from explicit rap to techno mumbo-jumbo. So what else the brand been up to?

Good question – Beat by Dre’s content output surrounding World Cup 2014 is a great example of how the brand injects raw emotion into the way it communicates to its audience. The brand launched its ‘Game Before The Game’ campaign, leveraging the biggest names in world football and profiling the mental battle every athlete faces in the build-up to a massive game. It features a conversation with Neymar Jr (star player for hosts Brazil) receiving advice from his father.

So what you might ask? Well ‘the behind the scenes’ insight to a conversation between father and son is not only particularly unique for a global superstar, but it triggers an emotion the majority can empathise with. The open, honest dialogue, combined with beautifully shot visuals, other global superstars running through their pre-game rituals, and an intense war drum-like soundtrack is a potent, passionate mix that certainly has a few hairs standing up on the back of our necks.

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Finally, by giving consumers behind the scenes access to global superstars, the brand creates a sense of exclusivity in the content it produces – it is this exclusivity that makes its audience feel a part of the Beats by Dre brand story. It makes people want to be part of the #BeatsArmy (what the brand calls its followers).

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…and has it worked?!

Definitely. The brand  has sliced and diced the five-minute film, repurposing this content across its various channels. From Instagram to its blog and Tumblr pages. Here are some stats:

  • 18 million views on YouTube
  • More than 1 million #GameBeforeTheGame hashtag mentions on Twitter
  • Voted best World Cup ad by multiple leading publications
  • At least 8 of Nick’s friends on Facebook shared it (a record for video sharing)

Great, so Beats by Dre’s World Cup sponsorship fee paid off?

Well this is awkward…Beats by Dre isn’t a World Cup sponsor…

Sorry, what now?

It’s the truth. The massive traffic and attention poaching hasn’t gone unnoticed however; multinational tech giant Sony – a main sponsor of the 2014 World Cup – has compelled FIFA to officially outlaw athletes from wearing Beats at stadiums, or during public appearances throughout the tournament.

Sony snitcher vs Beats By Dre bad boy – I think I know who’ll come out on top from an advocacy point of view.

Indeed – when fans see World Cup athletes wearing Beats by Dre products in their downtime it has as much impact, if not more, as seeing them lace their Adidas or Nike boots for example. Beats by Dre isn’t a sponsor so the message is more authentic and credible.

Impressive stuff. Is this approach typical of Beats by Dre?

YES – the brand instills this passion, emotion and innovation in the culture around music, sport, fashion and art. Their pursuit in making relevant, valuable, and most importantly shareable content that coincides with their brand mission/values, is relentless and timely.

They are reactive to all major events in these sectors, sponsoring the key athletes in each sport, writing rich blog stories, organising photo shoots to maximise the brand’s visibility when the traffic levels are high and world is watching.

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They are everywhere! So tell me again, why is Beats by Dre content brand of the week?

From the outset, Dr. Dre has been clear on his vision, mission, and brand model ­and has stayed true to it – from the tonal and visual consistency across all channels, we imagine the brand has a brand bible or guidelines document that employees must immerse themselves in.

By staying true to these elements, Beats by Dre has laid the foundation on which to build its content strategy – their personable, passionate tone combined with gripping visuals are flawlessly delivered across all their channels, whether it’s a million-dollar advertising campaign, music streaming service or a Pinterest pin – its understanding of the always on consumer is impressive. Fundamentally, it is this absolute understanding of its aims and audiences that allow Beats by Dre to be innovative as it continues to pursue its vision of driving pure emotion back into the world – emotion that drives viral, and brand growth.

I can’t wait for The Next Episode!

Where next?
More from Nick van Buuren
Previous content brands of the week
See our work

Author: Nick van Buuren

Account Executive at Speak Media

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