Attention is a scarce resource—and that means it's a costly one. In a world of hundreds of competing voices, art and music have become a powerful way to bring a brand back into the spotlight. The perfect example? The "marriage" of Alicia Keys and Blackberry.

Blackberry didn't just bring Keys in as a spokesperson, either; it made her its creative director. That wasn't just some made-up title to give the "Girl on Fire" credibility; Keys has brought in some stellar ideas to create user (and fan) engagement.

For her first act, Keys shot videos in every location of her tour, and she invited local fans and residents of those locales to send their own photos to include in the video clips. Photos chosen went on Alicia Keys' on-stage video projection.

Now that is a huge win around user experience—one of the fastest ways to turn engagement into ROI.

Make It Relevant

Right now, consumer brands are marketing more and more with music and entertainment. In fact, it's become so important that some major brands have started their own record labels—including Red Bull, Scion, Mountain Dew, and Converse.

Why? Music is a powerful way to create a cultural connection and engage with an audience while drawing your product even closer to your demographic's lifestyle.

Being hip, cool, relevant, and present as a brand is important, but the more important issue can be the cost to your image if you resist popular trends. (Just one example: Levi's missed the hip-hop boom, and it cost the company $1 billion in sales—in one year.)

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image of Kelli Richards

Kelli Richards is CEO of The All Access Group and a sought-after consultant, mentor, speaker, producer, and coach. She is also the author of the bestselling e-book, The Magic & Moxie of Apple—An Insider's View.

LinkedIn: Kelli Richards