As an artist, you may at some point be approached by a brand that wants to partner with you – and not in the traditional “I’ll give you money to sing in front of a banner with my logo on it,” arrangement, but in a true partnership where both parties get long-term value out of the deal.
When you do get an opportunity to partner with a brand, ask yourself these 3 questions to be sure that you’re maximizing the value of the partnership:
How do I personally feel about the brand?
In the same way that artists are intimately connected to their fans, brands are very much in tune with their customers. And while you are cautious about which brands you align yourself with, brands are also extremely careful when it comes to deciding which artists to work with – leaning heavily on data to help them make these decisions. If a brand has approached you for a partnership, it’s most likely because they have data that suggests that your music will resonate with their customers, and that their brand fits into the lifestyle of your fans.
But brands are looking for artists who are also genuine fans of their brand. As John Maxwell pointed out, the foundation of any successful brand-artist partnership is authenticity. So, if you’re approached for a partnership with Coca-Cola, but you’re really more of a Dr Pepper fan, be honest about that — to yourself and to the brand. They’ll appreciate your honesty, and it will only strengthen your authenticity as an artist.
What do I get from this partnership?
Before we get into discussing this question, if you haven’t already read George Howard’s article, The Two Things You Must Do for People to Care About Your Music, I highly recommend doing that now before reading further. Go ahead…I’ll wait for you.
So here’s the deal: if you’ve been approached by a brand, you probably already have the first piece of George’s advice in place for the most part. But that second piece – actually getting your music in front of people who are predisposed to like it – that’s the tricky part.
By entering partnerships with brands that already have data that pointed them to your music in the first place – brands that can increase your exposure to the right people – that’s how you get your music into the ears of more listeners, which generates more downloads/streams, and ultimately drives more fans at your shows. The targeted exposure a brand can give you is invaluable.
What does the brand expect from me?
Not a fan of overt product endorsements that sound nothing like something you’d actually say? Well, neither are brands. While most brand-artist partnerships do have some terms that outline what an artist is expected to contribute, the artists who really seem to thrive and get the most value out of brand partnerships are the ones who simply incorporate the brand into their authentic voice, using their preferred methods of communicating. If you’re a big user of Instagram, snap a photo of yourself using the brand in real-life context and post it with a clever caption. If you regularly post videos to Facebook from your tour bus, give a shout-out to the brand for supporting your music in your next video. It’s that simple.
Here’s a great example of singer/songwriter, Luke Wade, posting on Facebook about his partnership with North Texas Chevy Dealers:
So there you have it. At the end of the day, good artist-brand partnerships are about being human and connecting with people in an authentic voice that doesn’t feel contrived. The opportunities for artists and brands to work together are becoming more abundant every day. It’s all in how you approach it – the more thought you put into really understanding the potential value of the partnership, the more likely you are to get maximum value out of it. What other questions do you think are important for artists to consider? Tell me in the comments below.