A challenge that companies in advertising and marketing often face is how to generate buzz for a particular product or service. Firms fall all over themselves trying to get the right stars to sport their wares, or they spend loads of dough to secure product placements in hit television shows and movies. More recently, companies have even made pricey purchases on auction sites like eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) and Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK) to grab some publicity.

These marketing schemes all have some merit, but there is another way to reach consumers and make them loyal buyers. It's a riskier strategy that requires time and some patience, but if it's successful, the benefits can be significant. Toyota (NYSE:TM) may now be experimenting with just such an approach.

According to The New York Times, the automaker recently founded its own record label. The label, called Scion A/V, is named for after the company's Scion brand. At the moment, Scion A/V is a pretty minimal effort, but the idea is for Toyota to tap into youth culture via underground music. In some respects, this may seem just a step beyond the classic-rock or country anthems that automakers use in commercials to push their latest models. But in fact, Toyota is looking to make an even deeper association with its customers.

To get a sense of where Toyota might be heading, think of Starbucks (NYSE:SBUX). That company doesn't just sell coffee. It sells a lifestyle. Pop into your neighborhood Starbucks and you can surf the Web wirelessly, as well as buy CDs, coffee mugs and other assorted tableware, coffee makers, candies, and games. With all of these goods and services, Starbucks has created its own image, without flashy advertising or celebrity endorsements. And it's this image that in some respects keeps people coming back to Starbucks stores.

For Toyota, of course, the possibilities might be more limited. People are pretty loyal to car brands and are unlikely to switch just because Toyota owns a record label. But the company's experimentation with the Scion line may prove to be well worth the effort.

For a related topic, check out "When Auctions Collide."

Fool contributor Brian Gorman is a freelance writer in Chicago. He does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.