What Are You Famous For? Branding Through a Rock’n’Roll Lens

February 15, 2024 | Branding
What Are You Famous For? Branding Through a Rock’n’Roll Lens

So the story goes…

“Extreme” were dominating MTV and touring with Aerosmith as their rock star dreams appeared to come true.  After years of hard work, the hit song More Than Words had propelled them to international stardom. 

And while they wanted to wow Aerosmith’s fans with their harder edge rock repertoir, it seemed people really only wanted to hear one song from them.  Resentment built and in singer Gary Cherone’s words, they were ‘tagged, the More Than Words’ guys’

So mid-tour, they stopped playing their hit song.

Listen to Experience…

Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler clocked what was happening and made sure the younger band was in no doubt; leaving a message on their dressing room door: “play the f**king song!” His approach was simple: it’s what you’re famous for. 

It’s also a smart approach to your marketing. The goal is recall in the mind of consumers, literally to build a strong brand. For artists its songs, while brands can become famous for what marketers call their ‘distinctive assets’.

Think of Kimmy’s Dad for Crimsafe. Frank Walker from National Tiles. Or Harvey Norman. All different, all distinct and all instantly recognisable. 

Branding messages work to reinforce memory structures, so ideally you’re remembered and considered by potential consumers. Your marketing should always point people to your business, and the best way to do that is by leaning into what you’re known for.

In other words, the reason you’re famous.

Create Mental Shortcuts

You might be bored of your current messaging or assets, but if they’re recognisable they’re incredibly valuable. If your ads provide a mental shortcut to your brand, consider them a raging success. Consumers don’t spend nearly as much time focussing on your marketing as you do, so don’t stress about your distinctive assets being old fashioned, or the market sick of hearing you.

And don’t be like Extreme and agonise over being known for an acoustic song when you feel like you’re a hard rock b(r)and.



Writer – Wade Howland for The Voice Market