Chiddy, Kanye and Strategy

Last weekend when I was doing my weekly cleaning and listening to Vh1, I overheard a song by Chiddy Bang called “Opposite of Adults.” Notably, this song takes major sampling of MGMT, “Kids”.  I was thinking that “Kids” isn’t really that old a song (#5 in the 2008 Hottest 100 Australians) and that it was kind of cheating sampling songs that still get pretty active airplay.  I seem to remember more old school hiphop acts sampled songs that were older, and usually out of rotation (maybe it was an underground/licensing issue).

When I thought about it though I realised that this actually an example of what’s called a piggyback strategy, Chiddy Bang, rather than hunting through old vinyl or creating a fully original song, used the hook from “Kids” to get instant recognition.  Another example of this in the music world was Kanye West sampling Daft Punk’s, “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger in his track “Stronger” just before Daft Punk’s massive Vegoose appearance .  In the business world, a piggyback strategy works when company rides the success of another company.  This strategy was used by a bunch of companies like DLI, Gecko and Griffin, when they saw the opportunity for iPod accessories, and similarly by Jibbitz in creating accessories for the (personally unfathomable) Crocs phenomenon.

While developing a piggyback strategy isn’t something that works all the time (there has to be a trend to follow), the success of the approach shows good reason to flex your trendspotting muscles and see what’s running hot at the moment.  Even if it isn’t the genesis of a new business, it could help guide marketing strategy or some other aspect of the business.

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