When I started my career in the music industry a decade ago, I never expected to end up as a specialist in brand and music partnerships. I started in artist management and now I work at a talent agency handling brand partnerships for our artist clients.
Working with brands is creative and different from other aspects of the music industry. Beyond having a grip on the latest trends in music, It’s important to understand the goals of a brand and what they are trying to do with their marketing. Every partnership is unique and brands are always trying to do something new.
For brands, finding the right way to reach distracted consumers is difficult and ever-changing. Using music partnerships as a tactic cuts through the noise – but brands first need an effective strategy.
A brand might be tempted to license the latest hit song for a commercial or invest in sponsoring a festival, but it’s best to take a step back to check what makes sense for your brand and your ideal consumer.
Music triggers emotions. Make fans instead of customers.
Here are some effective ways to attract fans with music, artists, live events and specialty TV programming.
12 MUSIC PARTNERSHIPS IDEAS FOR SAVVY BRANDS
1. License music in commercials or content
Licensing songs for commercials or digital content is a great way to help define the tone of a brand. By using the right music, the brand message will connect with consumers on a deeper, emotional level. Licensing hit songs can bring a feeling of familiarness. Exposing new, cutting-edge songs will position the brand as a tastemaker.
2. Use an artist to endorse a product
Studies show that effective celebrity endorsements can increase sales and brand awareness. Use a relevant music celebrity to connect with your target consumer. Strive for a balance of organic association with the talent as well as a targeted connection with the talent’s fanbase.
3. Sponsor a concert tour
Tour sponsorships are much more than experiential activations and branding on site. As demonstrated by this One Direction / Nabisco partnership; social media, retail promotions, and original content are now commonplace in sponsorships. Live Music leads Sports Events, TV Shows, and Award Shows in brand affinity and purchase-intent.
4. Sponsor a music festival
An effective music festival sponsorship provides tangible value to fans through a unique and experiential activation. This will create loyal fans of the brand and future customers.
5. Partner with a radio network
Radio networks have gone digital and live. The largest US radio network, iHeartMedia, combines terrestrial radio stations, syndicated programing, digital radio network, live events and outdoor networks to create music and entertainment solutions for brands.
6. Partner with a digital music service
Digital music services like Pandora and Spotify deliver hyper-targeted advertising to users. They also use listening data to create custom concert series experiences for brands. The user data provided by these networks offers an opportunity to target with laser-like focus.
7. Launch a new brand in partnership with a music artist
Giving an artist an equity stake or a percentage of profits forges a long-term relationship and ensures that incentives align. Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs helped Diageo grow Ciroc Vodka from 40K cases annually to over 2M.
8. Sponsor a music awards show
An effective music awards show sponsorship might include product integration in the broadcast, custom commercial spots and access to talent and national promotions. Events and parties around the telecast offer further extensions to brand partners.
9. Sponsor a music based TV show
Music competition shows like The Voice or X Factor offer brands exclusive content, integration and access to talent. Enable fan passion by owning a part of the viewing experience.
10. Deliver exclusive content
Brands can work with artists to create exclusive music around a product launch and use the content along with experiences as a platform. Here is a recent example from Jeep.
11. Brand launch events
Brand launch events can generate favorable press and engage tastemakers in major markets. Brands have greater control of the experience and they can bring in top tier talent. Positive press and social media is generally the result of a well-crafted launch event.
12. Branded Tour
Brands can extend the impact of an event by launching a branded tour. Mercedes Benz launched a five market tour to showcase the GLA and CLA. Budweiser extended the experience of the Made in America festival with the Made in America tour, localizing the experience around the US.
The beauty of a brand partnering with music talent or properties is that there are no rules. Unlike sports partnerships, music partnerships are only limited by the creativity of the people involved.
Analyze the right opportunities for your brand and confidently pursue a direction.
Feel free to contact me if you have a specific idea or opportunity in mind.