Brands should be bands

Ever-charming business for the masses like Depeche Mode brand does.

January 15th 2014 I had my night. My pleasure? Joining the masses that enjoy the music for the masses of my most ever beloved band, Depeche Mode on stage.

Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona was the precious spot, home. The 5th time for me to attend their show. Unmissable date since that ‘Devotional Tour’ on 2003. Depeche, DM, the music band that, now that I’m an entrepreneur I admire more for the business company they became than for the love I render for their songs.

What a fabulous time spent in communion with some other 18,126 people, if judging for their happy faces at the end and the plead for an impossible encore! — full venue and $1,346,629 gross revenue in tickets.

1:55 hours that pass as a dream until you hear the first chord of Never Let Me Down Again and, suddenly, you feel happy and sad altogether because you realise it’s the last song of the concert tonight. Shame.

Ain’t it marvellous to see 18,127 men and women aged 30 to 45 —of those that happen to be called consumers in the language of the market— living for 2 hours of their life time in communion as the members of some black fan celebration… seems to me a non preached religion that you adopt only by heart.

Enjoy the show

Brands fail to engage with people for so many reasons. Wrong.

People deserve more than what branding usually gives. Brands should try to copy what great bands do successfully.

Brands should be bands. Or at least try to.

What bands do that brands should.


Improvisation is never improvised when an artistic performance. Improvisation is not a good business. Bands design great experiences for their public and are generous and sometimes excessive. Brands could learn to be proactive as Depeche Mode, that sells songs, CDs, DVDs, tickets, merchandising (and even food in their members restaurants in L.A. and London) to millions of people which musical tastes goes from mainstream to indie since 1984. It’s impressive to see what a tremendous organisation is laying behind the curtains —it couldn’t be more similar to the way an enterprise works; obviously, it is.

Success is planned


Anton Corbijn is the name of the creative who ‘invented’ the brand positioning for Depeche Mode. The music plus the visual world evoked by Corbijn’s photographic universe gave the fans and the band the signs they needed to feel that they belonged to something unique, special, recognisable and differentiated.

Consistency to their special visual universe did the rest.


The band members are common-but-gifted people that play music for a living. Us the audience are common-and-differently-gifted people that enjoy living with music. The truth in this relationship is what makes the connection work; it’s a honest deal. We like each other and spend time crossing our worlds.

It’s all about empathy.

And empathy it’s not for free. Pains and gains are present and play a role in this relationships because people are real and lives change. Easy flow of exchanges that makes the band rich.

Imagine, what a joy if a brand tried walking in my shoes and happened to see the world in my eyes. My joy. And cash for the brand. It’s the policy of truth.


Unconditional power users that any brand longs to have by its side.

It’s year 2014 but if you check DM fan web pages after a show you’ll realise Beliebers phenomena is just a demographic segmentation of the same society. It’s fascinating to see people over 40 behaving like teenagers... Fans are powered by a surrealistic love, they only want to belong and share the love. And they do.


Not only when playing music, fronting the stage or attending the press. Around rock bands there is an army of professionals working hard to lead the business towards where the customers are.

DM is a worldwide reference when using internet and social networks. 7,016,998 fans and 167,828 people talking about this in their Facebook Page —Can your brand beat that?—. Find a successful example of professional management on depechemodedotcom, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram.


Do what you can do better. More. A lot. 250 songs and hundreds of versions, plus films, videos, and concerts performing live. Do a lot and triage will do the rest. Accept failure as hazardous justice. Have faith in your brand and create a lot. Shout.

You can end with 107 concert shows, selling 1,620,352 tickets with a gross revenue of $118,275,679 (counting only 2013 shows for the last tour as reported on Wikipedia).


Rock makes you special. Strong.


Songs, lyrics, poetry, a chorus, one verse.

Songs are stories and music lovers let ourselves get down deep in the imaginary world of fantasy around the pieces. It’s human to be absorbed by tales and conversations.

Fantasy. Dream. A world.

‘Welcome to my world’ as a kind salutation to start a show or the experience of 75 minutes under your headphones. Words still matter.

Copywriters versus songwriters.


It’s all about business. Check Spotify to see the amount of discs and remixes that DM business generates. Just the opposite to the laziness.

The blue ocean once detected was allowing master DJs to remix and version the new songs and renew hits that were edited on 1998. With this trick Depeche Mode always sound fresh and ready to make young people dance in the disco.

Business intelligence is understanding your audience and work for them.

With each new DM album or compilation appears a wide range of single remixes published for the music influencers of the world: DJs. If you give DJs the tools to do a better job they use your songs to make people dance. Then your songs spread and young people know your songs… and your brand is young and alive too, even at your 50's.

It’s profitable tools what a brand should deliver to their public —a sort of what I call Youtoolity.


Music is one caress. Great melodies enfold you; good sound wraps you up with an invisible blanket, communicating sensations to your brain cells… it’s done, it’s higher love with endorphins production —that laughs at neuromarketing. Enchanting. Just because.


Start things. Try. Innovate. Sound different just because. Test it. What if you have a market? Adopt the new technologies soon. Lead. Dare to be the best version of yourself and see the truth.



DM partner with Hublot in a campaign to bring clean water to dry regions in Africa and India.

They organised a concert in the Royal Albert Hall in benefit of the Teenage Cancer Trust in 2010.

Songwriter Martin Gore requests to join the Free Paco Now cause.

Charity ma non solo.

It’s also social and business intelligent to choose where you want to be. DM were the special music event in SXSW 2013 playing for an elite of the worlds’ innovators. They also perform in music festivals where very young people have the chance of a first sensation live with the band. Growing business.


Specialisation of the jobs, when everyone has a key role to be developed in a perfect way but in co-ordination with the team. Clever associations for partnerships. And remember, the audience is a member of the band too, hopefully dressed in black like you.


Life is a game. Music is fun. Buying stuff can be so boring… if you don’t sell me love. We’re all damaged people and long for being loved.

Hey you brand, let’s play.

Give me good sense of humour and, from time to time, make me think of something sacred, that somebody I care for, and love in itself.


Beside growing their kids away from illness, people just want to be loved and happy. Nothing more. Brands often forget this. People doesn’t care about products nor technical features. What matters it’s called a heart and bands master play this league. What are songs about? They sell love.


Deliver the promise on time.

Bands don’t dare to give less than greatest thing they can do.

They have to surprise their audience by highness, since they have learned that any delivery lower than expected is punished by the audience.


Bands change, evolve, transform themselves to be ‘always’ present or never forgotten. They release a new album from time to time, play some concerts, perform as DJs, etc. Bands are groups of people like you and me; so does the company behind any brand. Consistent movement is needed for people to go further and explore new ways. Moving to unstuck or avoid getting stuck. Innovation as a lifestyle.

Maybe there is something of this dépêche French word meaning hurry in their mode… Names give brands their character too.


Bands’ life is a risky business. People are people, you know, and forever changing so… developing new products that shall be sold is never easy.

But great bands take this bets — maybe the trick is that what pushed them to take the steps are art and passion, and these make of renewal an inevitable choice.


Can you see the world in my eyes?

I am longing to attend the next show of Depeche Mode -hoping the band will continue to go on well, and will create a new album or musical invention to be presented around the globe that shall leave them to scenarios again. Maybe in 3 years.

The contract is about unsaid promises, a secret language.


All I ever wanted all I ever needed is here in my arms. Reach out and touch faith. I’m taking a ride with my best friend, I hope he never lets me down again. Everything counts in large amounts.

Brands, you should be higher

Your lies are more attractive
Than the truth
Love is all I want
Your lies are written down
In your book
Love is all I want

(Lyrics by Martin L Gore)

Love is all I want

Thanks for reading.

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