What Brands Can Learn from Dr Dre, J Dilla and DJ Premier

Challenger Brands Sample Successful Marketing Strategies

Music evokes memories. We can’t always place the song, or the component parts, but we are nonetheless comforted by how familiar it is. And if you’ve ever listened to a song for the first time and questioned whether you’ve heard it before, there’s a good chance you’re right. Since the birth of modern music, well-known producers have looked to the art of sampling to create something new while also enabling the listener to be comforted by something familiar.

For context, sampling is the process of selecting a portion (or sample) of music – typically a classic released from a decade past – and reimagining it in an interesting way as part of a new recording. Travis Scott’s Sicko Mode? Sampled. N.W.A’s Straight Outta Compton? Sampled. Kendrick Lamar’s Dreams? Sampled.

As renowned music writer Jeff Weiss says,

When it comes to marketing, Challenger Brands should be doing the same.

By looking to successful brands, past or present, Challengers have an opportunity to innovate. In the same way a music producer might approach a song, analyzing its layers, intonations and contextual genre so as to better disassemble (and then reassemble) it, Challengers should be studying other brands for inspiration. How can you sample an element of what someone else created to build a better or more relevant version to strengthen your own brand and drive growth?

Uber is a renowned example and many brands have found success by taking that melody and sampling it to offer something equally engaging. As a result you have brands like SQUIRE, an all-in-one barbershop platform that could be marketed as the Uber of haircuts or BloomThat, an on-demand flower delivery service often hailed as the Uber of flowers before it was acquired by FTD Companies in 2018. Megabrands like Spotify, Shopify and Airbnb have had the same effect, with their formula sampled by start-ups countless times to help revolutionize the notion of ownership, ecommerce and travel respectively.

Nike’s SNKRS app is another example that looked to sampling for success. In 2016, the Pokemon Go app first launched, allowing users to catch virtual Pokemon by getting out and exploring the real world around them. Nike noticed that, and embarked on sampling the same sort of real-world exploration but through the lens of sneaker culture.

The result, launched via the SNKRS app, was a campaign that encouraged people to travel to specific locations in the real world, and scan that location in order to unlock and purchase a particular shoe. You may not think Pokemon and Nike would be synonymous but through creative remixing, Nike could apply the magic surrounding Pokemon Go to sneaker drop hype.

This year, 5&Vine applied this sampling mentality to cross-border marketplace Browze, taking the success of Try Before You Buy, refined by Zappos and Warby Parker, and layering it on top of their existing offering selling products direct from factories overseas. To address the concerns of a new brand, Browze offers a Try Before You Buy option on thousands of products, giving customers the opportunity to spend 14 days with a product after it is delivered to determine whether it’s for them. If they like it, they keep it. If not, they return at no additional cost.

As you plan your next marketing move, consider taking the role of a music producer. Look to brands that you admire and consider how you can sample one of their successful strategies to give your meaning more power. How can you speed your selected sample up, slow it down, modify it and layer it on top of your offering to ensure what you’re doing becomes a hit?


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👋 I'm Rahul, founder and CMO at 5&Vine. Reach out to schedule an intro call about your marketing challenges and let's assess how 5&Vine can help your brand win.

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