Andre Romelle Young, or better known by his stage name, Dr Dre, is one of the most successful hip hop entrepreneurs in the world, next to Sean Combs (P Diddy). His release of Beats by Dre took the world by storm, and due its immense success, the line of headphones stirred a number of questions, with one primarily weighing in the most importance; how did he do it?
Firstly, we must address the issue of how did Dre brand his product and build it? Branding has no one definition, however, in its essence, branding is communication, it is the process of creating value in the minds of the consumers and building it requires developing brand equity through advertizing and promotion. “Tobias Dahlberg” stated that a strong brand requires strong culture, both internally and towards the customer. Furthermore, elements such as vision, strategy and innovation are imperative for successful branding.
Together Jimmy Lovine, Dr Dre identified a problem and found a solution, which led to a billion dollar business. In 2006, Lovine saw that the music industry was in a difficult position, due to the fall of record sales caused by piracy and illegal downloads, and the lack of audio quality in headphones produced by Apple. People were buying $400 iPods with $1 headphones. Lovine said that, “Steve Jobs was the first to marry technology directly with popular culture.” “They’re making a beautiful white object with all the music in the world in it.” “I’m going to make a beautiful black object that will play it back. Dre and I decided to market this product just like it was Tupac or U2 or Guns N’ Roses.”
The two were able to engineer a device which would provide incredible audio quality and provide the consumer with an entirely new sound experience. After rigorous testing and several prototypes, the two sent their headphones to all sorts of celebrities, with one being Lebron James. The NBA star liked what he heard and asked for a total of 15 headphones. To their surprise, every member of the 2008 US Olympic basketball was wearing their headphones for their games in Shanghai.
Beats by Dre truly became a huge success because of its extensive promotion and due to its acceptance by many celebrities and big names such as Robin Thicke. Dr Dre, the rapper and producer, is now one of the most successful entrepreneurs and there is much to be learned from him about branding and marketing without question, however; how much of Beats by Dre’s success can be credited to these celebrities and what would have happened if Dre was not already famous when releasing this product?