Partnerships: I'm with the brand
Chair: ADAM BUTTERS, Frukt (UK)
Chair Adam Butters opened the session offering some case studies on successful brand partnerships, mentioning the famous Converse sponsorship of the 100 Club, and asked the panellists how they have made brand partnerships work.
Mark Lambert, who manages the naming rights partnership at the O2, spoke of the longevity and versatility of the brand’s partnership with the arena. “It’s a constantly evolving piece of work,” he said, referencing the transition from a purely customer-focused platform to a business-to-business platform with O2 Live.
Tom Carson, music manager at Jägermeister, referenced the difficulties of promoting an alcohol brand as “you only get bad press.” For Carson, a successful partnership needs to be a “joint process with the artists” to maintain relevance and ensure engagement.
“It has to be a mutually beneficial relationship,” said Carson, explaining that both artist and brand are attempting to reach the same audience.
Jane Beese from the Roundhouse mentioned the venue’s “two big brand moments” with BBC Electric Proms and Apple’s iTunes Festival. “We are looking for the next opportunity now,” said Beese. “It’s not as straightforward as finding who is right for us but rather finding the right engagement.”
Music events or products are attractive to brand managers as “music is a way to reach the youth,” explained DHP Family’s head of brand partnerships, Richard Deeney. Young people nowadays tend to be much more aware and sceptical of advertising techniques, so brands need to market themselves more cleverly.
“It’s about how brands evolve with customer needs,” agreed Lambert, saying that branding is no longer about “just sticking your name on it.”
Tim Hoffmann from ICS Festival Service spoke of the importance of thinking about how a brand or product fits in with an environment, particularly at a festival. Hoffmann mentioned the brand activation of washing machine company Miele at Lowlands festival, saying “it’s about storytelling and thinking about how the brand can enhance the festival.”
“It has to be a mutually beneficial relationship”
Can this love affair between brands and the live music industry continue, asked Butters, and what does the future hold?
Deeney stressed the importance of technology, especially wearable tech, for maintaining fan engagement and creating “immersive content,” and Lambert spoke of the need for integrated rewards platforms to incentivise fans and allow for “deeper integration” of brands.
Carson explained that brands no longer activate in the aggressive way they once did, “Fans can now see that brands are trying to help,” he said.