Khalid and Uber. Chance the Rapper and Kit Kat. Chris Stapleton and Ram. Most people are familiar with these big brand partnerships between major artists and well-known brands, but what about smaller brand partnerships?
Developing artists often excuse the idea of obtaining a brand partnership early in their career, but pursuing these relationships early can lead to opportunities to reinforce your brand image, reach more potential fans, secure much needed marketing money, and position yourself as a legitimate artist.
BREAKING DOWN THE BRAND PARTNERSHIP
What exactly is a brand partnership? Essentially, a brand partnership is just two or more brands working together to help each other. In the business world, brands will team up to release a product or run a marketing campaign. It is a great way for brands to penetrate new markets and decrease product rollout costs.
In music, it is easy to confuse a brand partnership with a sponsorship. Sponsorships are often just one-time deals where a brand will cover some or all of a cost, usually a show or event, in exchange for brand promotion.
A lot of brand partnerships actually start with sponsorships. If a sponsored event goes over well, the artist and brand may decide to keep things going and help each other out. Before you know it, there is a brand partnership contract headed your way!
WHO TO PARTNER WITH
Above all, the brand that you pursue a partnership with should be a good addition to your own brand. Elements of their brand will quickly become infused with your own brand, and these elements should mix to paint an authentic picture of you. Chris Stapleton and Ram trucks paint a much better picture than Ariana Grande and Ram trucks would.
It is very rare that a developing artist will secure a partnership with a large and well-established brand, and that is okay. If you have a fair-sized local following, try reaching out to local brands involved in the community. They will be much more likely to listen to your pitch than a corporate office anywhere will.
A great start would be the food and beverage industry. Micro-breweries and micro-distilleries are popping up everywhere, and alcohol and music have a long history of success together. Another great start can be found in boutique fashion outlets. Many boutiques love the idea of somebody putting on a show in front of 50 - 100 people in their clothes, and a discounted wardrobe is always a huge plus for developing artists.
Be creative when searching for a brand partnership. Exercise you network and try to find people that have potential partnership leads for you. Most of all, don’t wait around for it to fall in your lap. Be proactive and start exploring the options now. It is tricky to navigate the music career in its early stages, but it is a lot lease tricky when you have another brand backing you up.
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