TopNotch is a record label, which was best known for its editions of Dutch hip hop. Today, TopNotch is the market leader of Dutch hip hop. Popular rappers such as Lil’Kleine, Ronnie Flex and Broederliefde are all included in this huge label. TopNotch is a brand that is very successful, but there is always room for improvement. The assignment was to map the brand identity of TopNotch: what are the values of this brand, how do you see this, what are the touch points, but most importantly, who is TopNotch? Based on these answers, a “passport” from TopNotch comes into the picture. With this “passport” an advice can be written about what this brand can improve to achieve even more success!
Clarify the brand’s positioning and the customers they serve.
What is your story? Your story is an important aspect to display the core values of your brand. Without a good story, few people will engage with your brand. A story must be experienced by the target group. This can be done by stimulating various senses and by using “touchpoint” experiences. How and where does the target group come into contact with the brand?
Topnotch is a big record label with many different artists. All these artists each have their own personality. The challenge for us is to give TopNotch a certain face that speaks for all artists and their personalities.
We looked at the entire history of Topnotch: Where did they start and where are they now. What is the total development of Topnotch?
The Topnotch Family: A family tree that has been divided into a number of generations
Topnotch’s story is like a family tree that has been divided into a number of generations. Like every family, it has its own family rituals, recipes and oddities. The family was born in 1995 by two fathers: Founder Kees de Koning & Rapper Extince.
A new generation is coming. Papa Kees and Father Extince have put Dutch HipHop on the map. Their sons made the scene even bigger. Artists like Dio, The Partysquad, Kempi, Fresku, The Opposites and Opgezwolle are taking the lead and dominate the scene.
The grandsons: New Wave
Put a group of talented young artists together for ten days on the island Schiermonnikoog (NL) and what do you get? The grandsons of TopNotch:New Wave. A combination of rap, pop, catchy tunes and choruses, colorful swinging beats and melodic hooks is characteristic of the style of the youngest generation of artists. They are called the “social media generation” because of the dominant role that the artists have on social media. Millions of views / streams, record-breaking hits and the world at their feet. The grandsons of TopNotch have raised Dutch HipHop to a higher level. What once was the garden of the two Fathers, became the playground of the Sons and has now become a paradise for grandsons.
Today, TopNotch does much more than HipHop only. Nowadays they produce also classics, punk, reggae and poetic songs. They are working together with other Labels and they have a big impact in the total media & entertainment industry.
Defining the Family recipe:
Many visions & ingredients. 1 mission & recipe.
TopNotch has many different artists. All have their own style and specialty, but each of them has success on a large scale. How is that possible? What is the family recipe? Every artist does his own thing, but follows the same valuable ingredients that ensure the TopNotch Success. We put those ingredients together:
Defining the sensory experiences & touchpoints
Based on the family story, we were capable to define sensory experiences. How can the public feel, smell, see, hear and taste Topnotch’s story. Touchpoints were created (the places in the digital and physical domain where the target group gets in contact with the brand) to map out a customer journey that maps the total experience of the brand thru the eyes of the target group. The strengths and weaknesses of the brand will be clear. Strengths can be made even stronger and weaknesses improved: the advice for the brand.
Book design: Lyrics & smell will tell
The lyrics of artists tell the story to the public: That is the main reason why the world also knows TopNotch. To make the entire brand Identity more attractive to read, every page is supported with a matching line from a number of a Topnotch artist. You can read the entire book by rapping and singing the lines, and still know what it is all about.
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