Music has long been a part of our society. It can tell stories, showcase creativity and open the window to a person’s soul. Music can also showcase aspects of corporate communication through the narrative it creates. Our group has defined corporate communication as the process through which an organization uses symbols to get its message across. Symbols can be found within music and our group chose one particular musician whose lyrics have generated considerable influence and have offered plenty of symbols representing himself and society.
The musician who we think best represents corporate communication is Jimmy Buffett. Mr. Buffett is an individual whose music and lyrics have generated a fan base of millions and created a lucrative franchise market. Jimmy Buffett’s musical style blends tropical, country, pop and rock to create a genre known as gulf and western, which appeals to a broad range of music lovers. His tunes emphasize easy living and idyllic life on the seaside. In the past, Buffett has cultivated the image of a cheerful beachcomber. Jimmy Buffett still maintains his happy, carefree lifestyle to this day and his fans continue to show unwavering loyalty.
Mr. Buffett’s fans are affectionately known as Parrotheads (I, Sean, happen to be one). I have had the pleasure of attending two concerts in my life and I have gotten a glimpse of the Parrothead culture. Concert attendees wear wild and outlandish getups to show their devotion to Jimmy Buffet. These outfits include Hawaiian shirts, grass skirts, animal outfits (typically parrots and sharks), and leis. There is widespread tailgating prior to concerts, which includes barbecues and margaritas. This idea of a Parrothead culture gives fans a way to express themselves and identify with Buffett’s music and all that it stands for. Here is a visual aid:
Aside from his concerts, Jimmy Buffett has other business ventures. He has built his brand to include several best-selling novels, he owns his own beer line, and he even has his own station on Sirius Radio. He also owns two restaurant chains consisting of Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville and Cheeseburger in Paradise (named after two of his songs). These restaurants have a distinct feel to them that is easily recognizable upon entrance. The restaurants include gift shops where customers can purchase memorabilia with all of their favorite Jimmy Buffet sayings. Buffett demonstrates corporate social responsibility through his support of conservation. He has performed charity concerts, including his most recent one at the Gulf Coast after the oil spill. Buffett has built up a large empire through his music and franchising and he continues to do what earned him this success in the first place; perform concerts all across the globe.
From a corporate communication standpoint, Buffett uses music to create a narrative for his brand. His lyrics contain symbols of his lifestyle, his experiences and his views on society, which his fans can relate to. He has continued to communicate his message to a tremendous collection of people through his books, restaurants and merchandise. The Parrotheads not only represent stakeholders, but they are also loyal followers who demonstrate just how much enthusiasm people can have in response to a unique message. Buffet has always had considerable influence and his music will continue to communicate his message for years to come.
If anyone would like to listen to the song that started it all, check out this Youtube video:
Eliza, Jocelyn, Sarah, Sean