'The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture that Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy' by Steve Stoute
Whenever we’re creating a “holy f*ck moment” I jump to this book. Steve Stoute – business marketing genius and entertainment mogul – explores the marriage between urban culture and brand marketing, sharing his unparalleled instinct for who and what is at the bleeding edge of cool – and why. Analysing some of the biggest brand partnerships and boardroom deals, Stoute has an instinctive knowledge of how to drive the cool into a project. I talk about this book a lot and it heavily influenced our rebrand and defining our proposition. I regularly turn to his quote: “Trends come and go but cool is forever."
I’ll start by saying this: haters are going to hate, but I think the Kardashian-Jenners are the queens of content and brand marketing. Deftly observing the shift in popular culture and reality TV that the original influencers – Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan – had initiated, the Kardashian-Jenners amplified it to a whole new level of cultural impact. From their gifting experiences to their brand collaborations, their visuals to their ability to polarise, they turned the dial right up to maximum and continue to push boundaries and break records.
'We’re All the Same Age Now' by David Allison
I was recommended this book a few years ago and it has evolved a lot of my thinking. The book unpacks shared values that connect people and how you can use that mindset when marketing. Research continues to show that ‘brand purpose’ is becoming more and more of an influence on buying considerations.
Clubhouse is eight months old, exclusively audio-based, using a chatroom-style model, with only 5,000 members – and it’s invitation-only. Essentially a member’s club in app form, with some of the biggest names in the world enrolled as members (Oprah, Drake, Kevin Hart), it’s my new obsession. Hearing voices of influence tell stories first-hand has helped create more authenticity for their personal brands.
I start my morning with a YouTube video or listen to The Business of Hype. The medium varies but the content is always the same; they usually feature a great entrepreneur detailing how and why they created their business, breaking down their career and sharing their journey and the adversities they might have come up against. I’m always inspired by how resilience keeps people moving, focused and winning.
Now it’s no secret amongst my team that when I’m having a moment of “what’s next”, I will scroll back through Instagram and watch Diddy’s 50th birthday video; it is excellence, from the people to the brands. While not everyone enjoys hip-hop music, the journey of the majority of the most successful in that space – from the Projects to The Grammy Awards – is a show of resilience and deep understanding of their audience that moves the needle on popular culture. Even if you look at our most recent collective experience, through lockdown there’s been the global success of Verzuz TV and Travis Scott in Fortnite further emphasising the impact and influence hip-hop has on life today.
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