Branding:The Nickelback Effect

Everyone I know hates Nickelback. In fact, it seems like sport to hate on them. Yet, they don’t seem to be suffering any. In fact, they’ve sold over 50 million albums worldwide. They’re the 2nd best selling foreign act in the U.S. behind The Beatles for the 2000s and Billboard ranks them the top Rock group of the decade. Weird, right?

Nickelback knows their audience – the working class, blue-collar, small town North American. It’s feel-good rock and roll with big guitar riffs, catchy hooks without much thinking required. They don’t try to pretend to be Indy-rockers or to be sophisticated musicians with deep lyrics. Their music doesn’t deviate from this formula. That’s what makes their brand powerful. They’ve got something that works well, that connects with their audience and they continue to produce music that their fans love.

All too often brands try to be all things to all people. They want to appeal to everyone and are too afraid to alienate people, rather than focusing on a specific audience and not worrying about the masses. A horribly flawed formula. Love ’em or hate ’em, Nickelback know their audience and their success can’t be argued. They’re not afraid to be hated.