Ministry of Sound brings in senior marketers as it looks to ‘redefine clubbing’

Global music and entertainment company Ministry of Sound has appointed Matthew Kershaw and Alexis James to the newly created roles of group marketing director and commercial director as it looks to promote awareness of its premium music portfolio and ‘redefine clubbing for the next 25 years’.

As group marketing director, Kershaw, who has previously held senior positions at MTV and BBH as well as roles at The Guardian, BBC, Bauer, Channel 4 and Mixmag, will look to develop the company’s portfolio of brands, which includes its popular London club venue, an independent record label, compilation albums, international events, a radio station as well as a wide digital presence.

Meanwhile, James, previously commercial director of Blinkx who has held positions at UKTV, ITV and Centaur, will look to create partnerships with brands.

The move is part of the company’s goal to “take it to the next level” as it approaches its 25th anniversary as a brand next year.

Kershaw told Marketing Week: “There’s this incredible collection of businesses under the recognised banner of Ministry of Sound, but people aren’t aware of how much we’ve got and how much we do. My role, and Alexis’ role, is to start to communicate that.”

The company is looking to relocate its London club in 2018, set to hold 3,000 clubbers in a bigger space. It is also launching a new range of speakers and headphones, according to Kershaw, who believes these new launches open up opportunities for technology, drinks and experiential brand partnerships.

“There’s a massive digital opportunity with the four to five million audience we have online,” he says. “We’re also creating a state of the art venue with some of the world’s leading architects and stage designers.”

As part of its marketing push, the brand will also look to reposition its offering under one umbrella identity by being less reliant on its logo and investing the brand “with a bit more meaning”, according to Kershaw.

“We have an incredible heritage of music,” he adds. “Unlike Bose or Sonos, we can actually demonstrate our passion for music on a weekly basis, whether that’s booking DJs in a club or signing acts like London Grammar to our label.

“We want to show the great history we’ve got and the passion we have for music, and hammer the logo a bit less,” he adds.

With many brands looking to form dance music tie-ups in an effort to reach millennial audiences, Ministry of Sound’s offering could prove to be an attractive one.

Cadbury recently partnered with DJ David Guetta to promote the 100th anniversary of its Milk Tray product, while brands such as 7up, Smirnoff, Bacardi and K-Swiss have partnered with Tiesto, Steve Aoki, Calvin Harris and Diplo on recent campaigns.

However, Kershaw says that while individual acts can come and go, Ministry of Sound hopes to determine the next 25 years of dance culture rather than become a “flavour of the month”.

“Dance music has largely become pop music in many respects,” he says. “It’s such a dominant genre at the moment, particularly in the US, and has been very reliant on big names.

“What we’re trying to do is invest equity in a brand which we think that has a longer term life,” he adds.

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