A maestro in music brand property creation: Stromae

[Guest post from Anne Charbonneau, Managing Parter based in Amsterdam]

Last night, I went to see Stromae live in Amsterdam, along with 15,999 other people. If you’ve been on a desert island for the last 2 years, you may have missed the global hits of this half Rwandese, half Belgian artist: Papaouetai, Alors on Dance and Formidable.  "Papaoutai," went to the top of the iTunes singles charts in more than a dozen countries and the visually stunning video has been viewed more than 200 million times.

This was not only a ‘formidable’ evening, but also a fun and inspiring example of how an artist can create a music brand with strong and unique brand properties.


Stromea has developed a unique dance style, which are dramatized in video and on stage unique shadow and side shots. His slightly strange facial expressions also serve as consistent branding devices: eyebrow movements, eyes looking up etc. And there is the famous Stromae ‘handwaving”, a sort of third of 3rd degree royal wave used when he closed the concert, of course.

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Stromea has invented a unique design and clothing territory where the most prominent and recurring elements are the bowtie, the knitted cardigan, the short and high socks. To amplify his style and market it, he has even launched a limited edition range of polos and shirts, exactly like the ones he wears in videos and on stage. This range is called Mosaert  (an anagram of his stage name, which is itself Mastreo backwards, a form of French slang). If you like his unique mixture of "'English school' cuts, the checker and isometric patterns and the warm colors of the African wax”, go check out the range here.  

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What is amazing with Stromae’s brand properties is the way they are amplified online and offline: on his site, in his video clips, on stage; everything fits naturally and authentically. As a French speaking artist with a global presence, including countries where people have no idea what he’s singing, Stromae is right to bring the full experience to life. He communicate not just with lyrics, but also signs, images, icons and moves that he can put his stamp on. “I’m not ashamed of doing marketing”, says Stromae. He has even made his own wax statue, which appears in his video and on stage, fully dressed in Moseart clothes. 

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In conclusion, Stromae is an accomplished musician. He's also maestro in marketing, showing the power of creating and amplifying distinctive brand properties.