Aug 01, 2012 at 05:25 PM
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How Beats Successfully Turns Athletes Into Influencers

Of all the news pieces about Beats by Dre's Olympic ambush in recent days, Billboard has one of the most insightful looks at the company's marketing strategy. In particular, here's what we learned in their interview with Sr. VP of Marketing Strategy, Omar Johnson: it's easy to get product in the hands of celebs and athletes, but getting them to actually use it is a much tougher task -- with or without a contract attached. So brands like Beats rely on product customization to obtain the affection of influencers.

Billboard writes:

"In recent months, Beats has customized a special line of headphones for the New York Knicks at the request of longtime fan Spike Lee, and will gift a popular baseball team their own customized set on behalf of the team's co-owner in the coming days. "These guys make so much money, it's hard to get them a gift. If you get them another Rolex, they'll say, 'I'll go add it to my chest.' But when you give them that thing they can't buy, it's a big part of the magic - they really covet that."

Maintaining credibility with an avid base of core customers is is a challenge for any business that aims to scale fast, but Beats by Dre added an extra layer of complexity last Fall when it "sold out" to HTC for $300 million. Having key influencers on its side helps the brand maintain its marketing cache despite growing beyond its initial users to a more maintstream audience.