By now, the roar of the media adoration over the new Broadway musical Hamilton has reached just about every pop culture, music, theater, and entertainment fan in the country. If you have somehow missed out, here is a good introductory article on the phenomenon. Likewise, you can also see writer and star, Lin-Manuel Miranda, at the White House way back in 2009.
Honestly, just go to your favorite music service and stream or download the cast album. Now. It is easily the best album of the year. If you are fortunate enough to be able to see the show on Broadway, I am just jealous (and can you get me a ticket?). The songs are intricate, buoyant, rich in musical and national history, and incredibly fun. Hamilton is a masterpiece.
What does this all have to do with marketing? Frankly, everything.
First, for every creative team stuck in a rut trying to build their next campaign, endlessly spinning variations on the same theme or running into the wall of “it’s been done a hundred times before,” this show should set their hair on fire. This historical tale, inspired by a massive and scholarly biography, brought to life through Hip-Hop and Rap with color-blind casting on the Broadway stage demonstrates one thing very clearly: Everything, even if it has been done before, is subject to a fresh approach and thoughtful reinvention.
Culture should inspire marketing and marketers, and this is culture happening in real-time. Put the soundtrack on the office Sonos and get the team inspired!
Developing your content strategy? How about your strategy to reach Millennials and Gen Z?
The two strategies are more closely related than you may think. Hamilton is going to be a huge success as a content driver for years to come, but the real lesson here is audience participation in creating content. Visit Genius to see how the next wave of crowdsourced knowledge is happening via song lyrics. The seamless mixing of history, musicality, and language is the way in which content will be created and shared and deconstructed in the future. Look at the annotations to the opening song of the show, “Alexander Hamilton,” and see how rap history and Revolutionary War history are being blended and shared by engaged and active participants from the community. Can your content do that?
Buzz can be deserved
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, marketers should pay careful attention to the larger lesson of how the right combination of personable talent (Lin-Manuel Miranda just became a MacArthur Fellow), creative original content, and thoughtful marketing and PR can create genuine excitement in the marketplace. Sometimes we forget that marketing can be about more than the numbers and buzz can actually be deserved.
The future of marketing, much like the genius of Hamilton, is in seeing the lessons of the past, finding the right vernacular for the moment, thoughtfully referencing the touchpoints in an endless sea of culture, and creating something fresh and relevant. Marketing is rapidly becoming as much science as art, but it must never lose its ability to inspire and be driven by passion.
Marketers, to quote a line from the song “Alexander Hamilton” that references an exchange between Snoop Dogg and Eminem, I ask you: “The world is gonna know your name. What’s your name, man?”
Image Source (Creative Commons): Eli Christman.
Norman Guadagno is Senior Vice President of Marketing Strategy at Wire Stone, an independent digital marketing agency for global Fortune 1000 brands. Prior to joining Wire Stone, he held senior marketing positions at Microsoft, Oracle, and several start-ups along with senior leadership roles at other agencies. His experience spans all aspects of marketing, from branding and strategy through to detailed channel execution.