Brand partnerships are not a new thing. For years we have witnessed how the biggest industries have succeeded thanks to companies creating the most ingenious branding get-togethers like Nike and Apple doing it for the runners with Nike+, all the way to Red Bull and Go Pro doing it for the historic world record skydive in Stratos. Thanks to their ability to see beyond their product, these companies have been able to exploit their hidden potential and create long and lasting partnerships that have extended their outreach to other markets and bigger consumer audiences.
The music industry has not been unknown to these practices. We can give countless examples of partnerships that have made it big through the years just like when Pepsi and Michael Jackson joined forces for the “Pepsi generation” add campaign, and later Michael’s Bad World Tour. In fact, we have also seen branding partnerships in music itself: Walk This Way by Aerosmith and Run DMC is one example. Great brands like to get together; it is almost like an unavoidable move in order to grow any business.
Even though we see the big and wealthy brands creating these collaborations, thanks to the addition of social media platforms into the workspace, there has been a boom of branding partnerships and endorsements between smaller scale businesses also trying to stand out utilizing the Internet as their publicity tool. This has been especially beneficial for Independent Musicians, since now everyone has the opportunity to have a public profile on social media and the ability to promote content and manage a following, this applies to anyone from the singer-songwriter, to the studio performer, to the music producer, to the band manager. Partnering has to be done with intelligence.
Partnering a music career can be done with any kind of industry. In fact, there are countless numbers of small companies that are tying to go big, just like independent musicians are. The most common industries that would partner with music would be music gear and equipment, or fashion, but there is room for any other that will develop the message that feels true to the musician: it can be a food brand to show off a certain kind of healthy lifestyle, or protein shakes for workout sessions, even a car manufacturer if the musician’s career can be amplified through it. Imagination creates the limit to these partnerships and opportunities to exploit potential.
Matching the right brand partnership is the crucial move. It is not only scoring a deal with anyone, it has to be done strategically with one brand (or various) that aligns to the image and message of the musician’s brand: there is no point in spending time (and possibly money) with someone that will misrepresent values and followers. It is important to be serious about the partnership, because audiences are becoming more and more aware, critical, and now have the power to publicly “comment” and criticize on every post out there. It is crucial to look beyond the product and really identify what brings people together to like a product or service.
Co-Branding partnerships bring many benefits to both sides of the table: if done right, both partners can get to utilize it as a way to get a lot of “noise” and media outreach in the other’s industry. Through thoughtful planning, a musician can get to perform at some convention hosted by the partner brand, or can also become the face for the partner’s new collection, and getting a lot of exposure through these. At the same time, the partner brand can get to appeal the musician’s following and make presence outside their “original” target market reaching many others.
Also, it is important to acknowledge the number of emerging companies and brands in all markets. Sometimes musicians tend to look at the big brands and work day and night to get some kind of attention and approach to them. But technology has brought us closer together, and because of that all independent musicians should take a look around and find upcoming brands and companies they can work with. These strong bonds can be created early in the game and will for sure bring good results in the long run. Just like a start-up business looking for investors, we as musicians should look out for the same and create these reciprocal opportunities.
If you would like to know more about branding yourself as a musician check out this great post: The ONE thing artists overlook when creating their brand, and also join Stereotheque to connect with musicians and industry professionals to develop your career!