Forbes: David Schwab on How Brands can Work with MusiciansThought Leadership, David Schwab, Forbes, Musicians, Media, First Call
Ahead of the Grammys, Octagon First Call's Managing Director, David Schwab, continued his regular contributions to Forbes with this piece on how brands and musicians can pair up.
As the Grammys approach, there are a number of ways for brands to work with musicians to create engaging experiences and content for their brand. I asked my colleague Clare O’Boyle, who books 100-plus speakers and musicians annually for corporate appearances, to share five tips brands must consider before they book a music act.
1. Make sure the artist or band is the right fit. This is a universal rule for marketers seeking celebrity and music brand ambassadors. The two parties have to feel like a natural fit, or else the messaging, the creative and the experience will fall flat and come off as strictly a paid appearance. Brands should exercise the due diligence and take the time to match brand ambassadors with both the brand and the product they’re trying to promote. For example, Wynton Marsalis is a talented trumpeter, composer, teacher, music educator and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. He is an iconic musician and masterful storyteller. He integrates his content around the event theme and objectives. Aloe Blacc also is an excellent storyteller and engaging performer. He talks about his inspirational journey that gave him the mindset to write his songs.
2. Strike the right deal. Bands and music artists, and their management teams, are brand marketers in their own right. Figure out if the act has marketing needs for an upcoming album, a tour or other endeavor. Determine if your brand offers a geographical spread that can help them grow their name, or do you have other marketing assets that may help sweeten the deal and save cash. Take a look at musicians’ touring schedules. If you can figure out a gig in between previously scheduled ones along the way, pricing will come down.
3. Know your setting/vibe. Brands need to determine their overall vision for the event and then align with the artist that can help deliver that. For an intimate event, use storytellers that can talk to an intimate audience and then supplement with a stripped down performance. For a surprise and delight experience, seek an ambassador that enjoys being part of the surprise and wants to engage directly with fans. And for performance-based vision, look for an artist or group that is going to put on a great, high-energy show.
4. Learn to read a technical rider. Brand marketers working in the music space should make the effort to educate themselves and speak the language. Knowing what is needed to put on a good show is an important part of the process. Artists know how they want to present themselves and their music, and that will be represented in their rider during the negotiation. The production and venue costs should be part of the overall budget process to ensure the brand can deliver a show that meets the artist’s standards. Make sure the buyer has a venue that can accommodate the stage size, ceiling height for rigging, dressing rooms, etc. required for the artist. Happy production manager often means happy artist.
5. It’s not just about the performance. Guests, business contacts and consumers will remember and share their entire experience. Consider how the brand can leverage the partnership on the red carpet, with social media shout outs, a private meet and greet, or hosting an intimate group at sound check. The artist will be booked for the entire evening or half day leading into the event, so take advantage of their time and consider building other commitments and deliverables in to the deal.