Steve Stoute Talks Music, Marketing
Nas’ former manager explains how he went from record exec to top branding figure.
The transition from noted Hip Hop music executive to successful marketing mogul is not a feat one sees very often. Although rappers have straddled the line separating music and advertising, none have created a name for him or herself quite like branding tycoon Steve Stoute.
Stoute is best known in Hip Hop for his role as Nas’ former manager. Having helped the rapper finesse his image before releasing the double-platinum It Was Written, Stoute realized that he could have even more influence in advertising.
“I knew that I could sell more sneakers and cameras than records,” he told Time Magazine, “and there was the opportunity for me to go into that.”
While other marketing firms found it difficult to relate to the youth, Stoute used his knowledge of Hip Hop culture and music to reach out to the younger generation. “I like to say I’m a cultural anthropologist. I’m paying attention to what’s going on. I’m looking at why people start wearing baggy pants or what is in their iPod playlists. Like how there is rap in a white kid’s life when it is a black person’s music and how Coldplay is on a black kid’s iPod when it’s not marketed to blacks.”
Stoute’s branding agency, Translation LLC is responsible for the rebranding of companies like Target, Wrigley’s Gum, and McDonalds (which utilized Stoute’s idea to feature Justin Timberlake on their ‘I’m Lovin’ It’ campaign). In 2008, Stoute teamed up with Jay-Z to create Translation Advertising, which markets to multicultural consumers.
“I take advantage. I look where companies fall short in understanding how consumers are interpreting their products and services. My world is the blurring of those lines.”
Excerpt from HipHopDx.com