Are You Always On Theme?

Whether or not the Fifty Shades Freed or the Black Panther soundtrack are your “thing,” there’s another lesson (besides yesterday’s) that I want to point out.

Both soundtracks consistently stay on theme with their films. The soundtrack matches the movie, the movie matches the soundtrack. While both could exist independently, they’re also both better off coexisting together.

Soundtracks are not the new (or the old) playlists (or mixtapes). They have now, and always have had the designated purpose of deepening and widening the universe that the film exists in. Successful soundtracks provide a reminder of the “vibe” of the film itself. Successful singles provide a reminder of their source. Think of “I Will Always Love You,” “Let It Go,” or “My Heart Will Go On.” Best-case examples like those show how a soundtrack can deepen your associations, emotional response, and overall experience with the product.

The corollary to “theme” in business is the vision statement (or sometimes the mission statement depending how you frame it). When we admire how “on theme” the soundtrack is, it’s the same thing as admiring how every detail of a business supports its vision statement.

Amazon says they want to be “earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” Think of the website, the Prime packages, the tape they use to seal them, the customer service when something goes wrong – that’s how you stay on theme.

Like a successful soundtrack, the goal of any business that wants to achieve its vision is to make sure that all of the details, all of the reminders, all of the daily chance AND chosen encounters somebody might have with the business’ broader work – each will support the vision that the business is trying to realize.

It takes work, but ask E.L. James, Kendrick Lamar, or Jeff Bezos – if you can build a universe around your vision, you can reward everybody involved, from the contributors to the consumers. Isn’t that the purpose?