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Alex Da Kid on Embracing the Disruptive Wave of Music in Advertising


Grammy and Emmy-award winning music producer and writer on his time at Cannes Lions 2017

Alex Da Kid on Embracing the Disruptive Wave of Music in Advertising

The founder and CEO of creative music company, KIDinaKORNER, spoke on stage three times at Cannes to discuss the disruptive wave of music and entertainment in marketing. His company KIDinaKORNER, backed by WPP, helps music artists more creatively engage with brands, consumers and the media.

Here, he discusses his time in the spotlight at Cannes, the future of branded content and more.

Q> Coming out of Cannes, what were you most excited to see or hear about at the festival?

Alex Da Kid> I am drawn to the festival’s creative atmosphere. As a creator, it’s thrilling to be a part of an event that inspires so many people from around the world.

When launching the creative arm of KIDinaKORNER in 2015, I was following my passion to continue evolving the changing business model of music. I recognised the potential there was in working with brands to create music that would both help artists we work with develop stronger fan bases and help marketers develop deeper connections with their consumers.

So, when it comes time to attend events like Cannes, I always look forward to the creative energy we will be engulfed in. Each year, we are seeing the lines between entertainment and marketing blur, and it’s fun to be a part of the evolution of both industries. And this year, it felt like there was a bigger presence in the conversation of music in branding.

We kicked off the week in a conversation with our IBM client’s Chief Digital Officer, Bob Lord, on Monday to discuss our collaboration with IBM Watson's technology. We partnered with the brand and artists including X Ambassadors, Elle King and Wiz Khalifa to create a chart topping hit 'Not Easy.’ It was a dope project and one that Bob refers to as the brand’s top ten successes this year.

Q> What trends are you expecting to continue out of the event?

Alex Da Kid> Branded content, without a doubt. It’s a code so many people in the industry and beyond are still trying to crack. A lot of the branded content we are seeing still feels like an advertisement. 

For these pieces of content to truly resonate with consumers, there needs to be emotion. I am hoping for some of the conversations we saw at Cannes to help the industry come away hungrier to uncover how to bring new waves of emotion to marketing. I am really hoping brands understand and become more willing to build bigger stories and narratives around emotional communication. And for music to have a part in this conversation. Music will forever be one of the more influential tools to communicate with people on an emotional level, and if brands want to create memories with their consumers, music should always be the first piece of the puzzle.

Q> In the last year or so, what brands do you think have stuck out as having strategically navigated the spaces of entertainment and marketing?

Alex Da Kid> One brand that consistently stays on top in my mind, and it’s because music is such a central character to their brand, is Apple. They found a way to incorporate the story of music whether it is by partnering with artists like Drake and Taylor Swift, or finding the right song in a campaign. Their marketing efforts seem to always be top of mind to everyone, and a lot of what we remember can be traced back to the music and the artists.

Another dope brand that comes to mind is Nike. Nothing specific to what they are doing with music, but in the ways they authentically partner with athletes in the way they continue to tell their story.

Our goal with KIDinaKORNER is to help brands and artists understand the ways that music can help you to develop a consistent message, empowered by a music-first approach. Nike and Apple incorporate music and influencer partnerships in their creative process, helping to amplify their message, and because of this, they are developing long lasting relationships with consumers.

Q> Can you take us through some of the conversations you had on stage this year?

Alex Da Kid> One message I am really looking to push is the importance of having a music-first approach in your marketing strategies. So many brands and agencies are putting all of their time and creative energy into developing strategies for the latest and most talked about social platform, whether it’s Snapchat or Instagram. I understand the reach and engagement these types of platforms give brands to their consumers, but we at KIDinaKORNER are trying to help brands and marketers understand how powerful music can be as a communication tool.

Instead of focusing entirely on creating a Snapchat filter, an impression that will be gone tomorrow, brands should be thinking of deeper messages they could be telling, that tell its story on a deeper level and will create lasting impressions with audiences.

I’m hoping to be a part of this cultural shift, where brands are encouraged to use music as a more useful tool in their marketing strategies, and where music artists are less hesitant to enter into relationships with brands. Consumers and fans are drawn to brands and artists that are driving change in the world and I think even more powerful change will happen culturally when the two decide to come together more often and tell more engaging stories.

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