Format hybridisation: Lana Del Rey sent you a voice note
IN A NUTSHELL:
It is time to reconsider the way we organise our product portfolio, as the consumer is eager (sometimes more than we are) to mix categories, occasions and formats.
THE GREAT STRATEGIC TAKEOUT:
Format hybridisation opens up opportunities for us to secure a presence outside our usual comfort zone and maximise revenue, in addition to being able to learn more from the consumer and enhance the capacities of our RTC (Road-to-Consumer).
Why should I read this?
We must stop thinking of categories as airtight spaces cut off from their surroundings. In our day-to-day work we tend to structure our proposals according to the categories (of products, services, experiences or content) to which we are accustomed and for which we have designed specific value and market entry proposals. But this is coming to an end. The consumer has changed, and so must we.
What are we talking about?
At the risk of seeming frivolous in treating an artist as a brand, when we do so, we can draw valuable insights. Since the launch of the brand, Lana Del Rey has been conquering a niche within the music industry, expanding the range of emotions and inspirations in the world of pop. With a clear target, surgical precision in designing content and a regular (very abundant) launch rate, she has managed to move from “challenger” to “dominant” in just under 10 years.
In a market that increasingly values collaborations, Lana Del Rey has proven to be very skilled in selecting them, and she has used them exceptionally well as a tool for growth and diversification: approaching other audiences, consolidating credentials in the industry and proving her capacity to contribute through synergies without cannibalising or losing her USP.
However, what really makes this example a model to follow for strategists and innovators is how, beyond collaborating with other artists, Lana Del Rey has started to approach other categories. Audiobooks and poetry are the new battlegrounds to be conquered. Environments in which the brand’s DNA fits perfectly and allow it to be premiumised and extend its portfolio, as they are very complementary and may be in need of new angles and value propositions.
“Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass” is a unique and extremely inspiring project. Beyond its quality, it demonstrates a hybrid multi-category, premium proposal with a clear diversification objective. Instead of more concerts, entering the world of acting and multiplying merchandising (the usual paths taken by musicians), Del Rey has opted for a proposal that is equal parts inaccessible and democratic. The written publication can be bought at any bookshop, but the audiobook version is surprisingly absent (at least for now) from the mainstream audio streaming platforms, making it necessary to buy a CD.
Links and what to focus on:
- Collaborations, especially cinematographic, that serve to connect well-known brands with new audiences
- Communication tone
- Art direction
WHY YOU SHOULD BE INTERESTED:
Only by challenging the way we have traditionally defined our presence in the market can we secure growth and relevance in the contemporary environment.
What tension does it relieve?
“Accessible” discovery of other categories, need for emotional leadership of top brands.
From a strategic perspective:
There are pockets to discover and appropriate in most of the industries and categories in which we operate and which, today more than ever, present opportunities for our companies and brands.
Who might be interested?
All categories in which the key consumption occasions have been populated by alternatives that have been forgotten/obsolete, and which can now be retaken and proposed again.
Where do I implement it?
Creating space in my brand architectures and launch pipelines. Bearing in mind that we can combine not only products but also include services, experiences and content in the equation.
How do I implement it?
Keeping brand credentials intact, analysing the brand’s potential “stretchability” (without being limited by results if it has been explored with consumers without projection capacity) and always considering the potential of collaborations for entering strongly into other categories.
How innovative is it?
The innovation here lies not in doing it, but in closely analysing in which other categories I have both the capacity to monetise my entry and solid credentials that will prevent my entry from being an equity destroyer.
Hybridisation, formats, entertainment, equity, diversification.
I WANT IT FOR MY COMPANY/BRAND. WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
Who is using it already?
As well as Lana Del Rey, artists like Björk and Sufjan Stevens have explored this diversification of resources and formats.
In other categories, key brands that shape their key essence in other worlds: Oatly and Califia.
Things to keep in mind:
Credential and credibility.
Our entry into other categories must be done with respect and adapting the standards (tone, formats, content…) without losing our essence.
How do I get a clearer idea?
- Analysing the discography of Lana Del Rey
- Viewing the Oatly product portfolio
- Analysing Marvel’s multi-category development
How do I share it with my network?
“We can enter other categories that are obsolete today, but if we go there, we can have new avenues for revenue and brand power creation”