The Dave Matthews Brand

Captain's Log, Stardate 94121.09

Anyone who appreciates music can probably say that they have a favorite artist. Not the artist of a song you currently dig. A group/band/artist/performer that maybe you connect with on a more personal level. For me, it's The Dave Matthews Band. I know. Shut up. Don't care.

Twenty-some odd years ago I was introduced to The Dave Matthews Band. A younger, simpler Luke attended a Catholic elementary school nestled in the foothills of Pittsburgh, PA. As many progressive Catholic schools do, we were allowed to have one school dance per semester. Pretty much what you'd expect. Fruit punch, Chumbawamba, high nun-to-student ratios and awkward slow dances with arms-length distances (room for the holy spirit) - many of which you regret when waking up the next morning with that nasty Hawaiian Punch hangover.

Unfamiliar with the DMB brand, some would say, a careless parent decided to enter their 1996 Crash album as a raffle item at one of these dances - and I just happened to win it. This parent probably heard Dave singing about monkeys and peace on the radio and had only great intentions. Little did they know that your average DMB song is carpet bombed with sexual proclivities, drug experimentation, atheistic points of view and a few ideas on socialism for good measure. Fully immersing myself in my new prize, I was introduced to a new world.

Well, it didn't happen instantly. I just loved the music at first. But a band like that can influence someone for a lifetime. The brand of your favorite artist is what you reflect upon when the song ends, the concert lets out or they slowly die off and are replaced by John Mayer. Look at me hating on Johnny boy as I write my blog/love letter to Dave. Despicable.

But that brand can seclude artists to their specific audience. Which is great. That's the goal. Create your art, deliver it to the masses and appeal to those who appreciate it. DMB is a perfect example of this. Well regarded for selling out massive venues worldwide, they've been touring for the past two decades with no notion of stopping anytime soon. All built upon a brand they established decades ago with their fan base.

So to my fellow aging Dave fans in the greater Pittsburgh area - tomorrow we will be graced with the presence of our favorite band. So get out the sunscreen, grab your favorite bong and a 6-pack, give us your best air guitar and wear last year's tour shirt proudly. Also make sure you hydrate, don't hit that bong since you have a real job now, stretch before any wild arm flailing movements, wear a shirt that fits and drive safe - cause we all have kids now. Little DMB fans. Ah! I can't wait!

I guess I should wrap this up and make it relevant to what I do. Just as DMB has a loyal fan following, intentional design and targeted audience marketing can give any business a loyal customer following, too. Should you be an aspiring professional, business or band and seek the graphics and advertising needed to relay your brand, please give me a call. Just not tomorrow. I'll be busy.

And screw all you DMB haters. I was going to dive into that whole thing but I'll refer to the advice of my second favorite artist and end with this:

"Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate."

Luke Hillegas

Owner, Rusty Dog Studio