Sex, Drugs and Branding?
There was an interview with Alice Cooper circulating on Facebook today that caught my attention. I have to admit, I’ve never been a fan of Alice Cooper or listened to his music but, from a brand perspective, was intrigued by the video headline, SATANIC ROCK ARTIST-PASTOR’S KID ALICE COOPER RETURNS TO JESUS, so I decided to give it a view.
Alice Cooper is the ultimate Rock-n-Roll iconic brand; a grandly theatrical and violent brand of heavy metal that was designed to shock. When the original Alice Cooper band broke into the international music mainstream with the 1971 hit “I’m Eighteen” it was on the heels of The Beatles extreme rock success. But Alice realized something: there was no shock value in rock music. In the television interview, Cooper said, “being creative, I looked around and I went, there’s no villains in Rock-n-Roll. Why not create rocks ultimate villain?” Cooper did just that ~ and an iconic heavy metal brand was born that paved the road for Kiss, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Motley Crue and more.
Cooper found a void in the rock music marketplace and capitalized on it. This is branding at its best: identify unfilled needs in the marketplace and meet them. What void are you fulfilling in the marketplace? You have to ask yourself, what do people stand to gain from connecting their time, energy, attention, or loyalty with you and your product? Is it original? Is it necessary? Will it have lasting value? Who else is offering this service? How do you differ? And then package and position yourself accordingly. Even Alice created fictitious stories to boost his bad boy image (like taking his name from a session with an Ouija board claiming he was a reincarnated witch from the 17th century, which in fact was a publicity stunt!) But this was all part of the brand. The brand ran deep and had extensions through his looks, lyrics, packaging, and stage performance. And the brand paid big dividends. Any brand worth its weight, will.