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When Being Banned Becomes a Big Win: Four Lessons From Beats by Dre

by Gabie Boko  |  
July 24, 2014
  |  3,565 views

One of the biggest stories to come out of the 2014 World Cup was the ban on Beats by Dre headphones and the brand's remarkable victory despite the apparent setback.

As one of the most recognized brands in the world, Beats headphones are often seen being worn by celebrities, top athletes, and famous musicians. In the marketing world, Beats is recognized for its compelling campaigns and creative strategies.

Beats consistently looks for opportunities to insert its brand, seizing moments to make a positive impression that fits perfectly into its marketplace.

Getting banned typically isn't what a brand wants, but learning to turn a negative into a brand goldmine is something every company would want. Companies can learn important marketing lessons from the World Cup experience and other strategies employed by Beats.

1. Brand Authenticity


Beats raised awareness and was top of mind at the World Cup simply because it was banned by FIFA. Although Sony was the official sponsor and sent free headphones to every team, players stuck with Beats. That did more for credibility and brand appeal than any official sponsorship could do.

The message that Beats is a brand for sports and music lovers came across loud and clear, and it was received as authentic and credible. The brand remained part of the conversation and got its message out in real time—without trying.

The lesson here is to stick to your key message—always. If you aren't a sponsor at an event and you don't want to be one, yet you think that your audience would still benefit from your brand's presence at that event, look to reach out to them in organic ways to tell your company story.


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Gabie Boko is executive vice-president marketing at Sage North America, a provider of business management software to small and midsize companies.

LinkedIn: Gabrielle Boko

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