Jason Dea's Pages

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Corporate branding and what's wrong with Nickelback...

Better Than Nickelback

There was as a youth I dreamt of becoming a rock star.  In fact some of my friends from that period never gave up that dream.  I got a very exciting message earlier this week that one of those friends was nominated for a Juno this year for Metal album of the year. For any international readers out there the Juno’s are a Canadian version of the Grammies.

I sent over a message of congratulations mentioning that “it must be exciting to soon be sharing the stage with perennial Juno nominee – Nickelback”.

This seemingly innocuous comment got me thinking about NIckelback.  More specifically why many people find them so irritating AND how this might actually be a lesson for marketers.

Nickelback is Generic music, like much of pop music, but I suppose they take more abuse because they step outside the world of bubblegum pop into the world of rock or in some cases heavy metal.  Nickelback seems to step outside that pop world by having all their guitar effects pedals set to the “Power Rock” setting at full blast, all the time. 

On the surface it sounds great.  They have high production value and great hooks.  But therein lies the problem.  For music fans with more discerning taste they want to hear more.  Generic power rock doesn’t provoke deep thoughts, there isn’t really much substance.  The engineered sound of power rock also all sounds very bland.  There is a reason why every Nickelback song sounds like a song you’ve heard before.  It blends into the background and doesn’t make a statement about anything.  I think their latest single is actually about drinking beer as an example.

Corporate brands and corporate marketers might be well served to take a lesson from this.  We are facing a similar challenge - How to not be like Nickelback.

Consumers have more choice than ever before, so brands really need the old unique selling propositions.  More and more from a brand perspective people want to know what exactly you stand for.  What is the story your brand is trying to tell me?  And please, please, please say something meaningful… without your effects boxes set to “power rock”.  We’ve been there, done that, and it’s no longer good enough…