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Steinway Tells Its Story in New Marketing Campaign

Posted on the 03 May 2016 by Marketingtango @marketingtango
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  • May 3, 2016
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Steinway Tells Its Story in New Marketing Campaign

It seems like the 163-year old piano maker is one of those brands that doesn’t need marketing. In truth, the venerable company hasn’t done much self-promotion in the past, aside from using a string of recognizable endorsers.

But the days of trading on reputation alone are long gone.

Recently, in a time where content and brand stories rule the day, Steinway launched the largest branding effort in its history: an integrated marketing campaign using influential celebrity tastemakers, a revamped website, and a new ad campaign (by Light + Co. of New York).

Story, Data or Both?

Interviewed at CMO Club Summit about a panel topic debating whether “story trumps data,” Steinway CMO Darren Marshall responded that a balance was necessary. “I wish I had more data. I am glad I have a good story, but I’d love to have a bit of both.”

Fortunately, Steinway has a rich history to share. As Marshall explained, most people don’t stop to think about how pianos are made, the artistic expression they bring, or the emotional connection they can carry.

Competing During a Decline

Acoustic piano manufacturers have been facing declining sales for years. According to the National Association of Music Merchants, 17,000 grand pianos were sold in 2013, down from 35,000 in 2004. And that’s down from a high of 365,000… way back in 1910!

To make things more difficult, fewer kids are taking piano lessons these days, while electronic keyboards and lower-cost foreign brands have cut into Steinway’s margins and market share.

Built To Perfection, For Perfectionists

Steinway’s new marketing reminds consumers that its instruments are still relevant and still manufactured in New York City, as they have been since 1871. Viewers can take a virtual tour through the factory through new video content that shows a glimpse of the process that requires dozens of craftsmen up to a year to complete a single piano.

The narration strikes a dramatic contrast between the painstaking Steinway manufacturing process and today’s disposable culture:

“Handmade in a machine-made universe. Exacting to the millimeter in a close-enough culture. Built of genuine hardwood and cast iron in a world of artificiality… the only piano built to perfection, for perfectionists.”

Does your business create a product or offer a service that requires significant research to evaluate and capital to purchase? If so, spend the time to develop content that tells your story well and explains exactly why your brand is worth your customers’ time, attention and loyalty.

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