How To

Working With Brands

Photograph of the blog post author, Music Gateway Team

Music Gateway Team


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Our friends over at ForTunes wrote this blog to share their top tips for musicians to keep in mind when working with brands.

Working with brands – vital things musicians should keep in mind

Various forms of brand partnerships can act as exposure catalysts, leading to audience expansion and traction increase. They might open a given music catalogue to new spheres of listeners, while broadening the story, the narrative that is developed around an artist or performer. It’s a delicate process, though – and a vigilant eye should be kept on numerous, important factors.

This article is aimed at different kinds of artists and musicians, with possible connections to brands and maybe even some collaborations waiting to be ignited.

Establish a shared agenda

As with many other steps of the creative process – communication is key. Being honest about the goals of a partnership, and establish a common roadmap to push things towards a solid direction. The clearer you are about your agenda, and what you are hoping to get from this collaboration, the better. You can also demand this from your brand representatives: Marketing schemes might be sugar-coated, or downplayed, in an effort to dock onto an artistic vision. This can lead to misunderstandings further down the line, when unforeseen demands or interpretations of contractual demands are presented. You are dealing with a company here, be ready to engage in company-think.

Put the artistic scheme first

Be stoic about your artistic scheme. Don’t trip beyond your comfort zone, and be aware of your personal boundaries. The reason a brand wants to work with you is most likely tied to your very own, artistic vision. Don’t compromise that, by bending too much beyond the core of what makes your own brand work. Everything else will follow.

Again – be firm when communicating. The earlier you express this, the less friction will be prone to arise in the course of the shared journey. Remember – pretending to be conciliatory while raging inside is not a mode to kick off a shared agenda. Honesty should act as a cornerstone to every part of this campaign.

Evaluate a collaboration – be smart about it

An incredibly important aspect of working with brands is the evaluation of collaborative efforts. This means keeping an eye on the metrics – how does the campaign influence your followers? Is growth limited to or exceedingly high on certain platforms? How about other media? Does the campaign initiate a snowball dynamic of blogs and playlists jumping on to the action?

This is where ForTunes steps in. With ForTunes you can track the development of your music across multiple channels. You can see – in near real time – which metrics are buzzing in the course of a branded campaign, how your audience develops or your playlist reach is influenced etc.

Use ForTunes to evaluate, whether any collaboration actually produces the results you were hoping for, or were promised by third parties. Remember – it’s your music, your data.

Demand contractual clarity

Be sure to go into contractual detail EARLY in the process. And be sure to establish clarity on both sides. Demands should be stated, but also limits of what can be expected. Sometimes there are politics involved, like exclusivity. Be clear about the quality of your  working relationship, and make sure you have it signed and delivered.

Design a tryout phase

Just like every creative team has to find a groove while trying out certain things, brand partnerships and especially the project-management applied should also work within a tryout-phase. Things will not necessarily run smoothly, they never do. But the level of compatibility between brand and artist camp should trial-run, in any case. Remember – for an artist, a brand partnership might be a singular event – for a company, it might be one among many. Keep the daily business in mind, and the fact, that you’re a singular part of what’s going on in the grand scheme of this firm. Not unimportant, but the faster you come to terms with it, the less personal you will perceive various issues.

Keep your channels tight

Make sure you keep a strong grip on the tonality and style of social media content you are expected to release. Your voice, and the way you communicate to your audience is just as much part of your artistic personality as the music, the videos, and so on. Call upon the trust of the marketing team, and stress the fact, that you will actually get the message across. But – most importantly- in your own way, in a language that is authentic and credible. If a brand is really interested in working with you, and is run by marketing professionals, they will be glad to dip into your expertise – and understand that content placement is a delicate matter. To reach beyond the output of a two-dimensional billboard, they’ll have to accept certain rules and mannerisms, and play along the lines of what you find appropriate. Make sure you’re comfortable with every step of the way, and be straight-up about it.

If you want to put these tips into practice and start collaborating now click here.

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