How To: Working with a Major Brand
So you convinced Coca-Cola to work with you on your next musical project. Now what do you do? Let’s start with a little congratulations; finding a budget to fund any musical project in general is extremely difficult. So pat yourself on the back. Now, lets focus on how to keep the brand happy, which will in-turn keep you happy. It’s a vicious game, but if played correctly, third party brand investing will save the music industry. At least that’s my opinion.
Before you do anything, make sure the brand partnership makes sense. If you’re a Disney artist, I wouldn’t recommend Coors Light as a sponsor. But that’s me. Then understand that brands are like labels, except brands have money and usually let you cut up the budgets. Yes. Money. Budget. Music. Control. Oh, now you’re listening?
Many artists make the mistake of thinking once the deal is signed, the hardest part is over. However, in order to make the most of a major branded sponsorship is to ignore the word “sponsorship” and replace it with “partnership”. This is key. Once you accept that you and your brand are “partners”, you will both see your musical endeavor grow exponentially.
After speaking at a Billboard seminar last October on brand partnerships from an artist standpoint, I realized that most artists like to remain on the outside of the deal. This is a huge mistake. Letting the manager or agent take the brunt of the deal will disconnect the brand from the artist. Let me say this as clearly as possible so you don’t make a very common mistake: As an artist, stay in direct contact with the brand product manager or agent directing the deal. Doing something as simple as keeping cc’d on emails between the brand and your manager will increase moral across the board, and will hopefully activate that first option deal in your contract for another year.
Your goal as an artist, assuming you like money, is to turn everyone at the brand into a fan of yours! Invested interest is priceless. Do everything required of your deal with the brand but also do a little extra with every project. Adding an extra tweet, shout-out, or Facebook post could turn your $10,000 deal into an $80,000 deal because everyone at the brand likes your hustle. Again, invested interest from a major brand can turn into a bigger budget.
Major brands are the only market where musicians can go for guaranteed budget dollars. Once you find a brand willing to invest in you, realize that you need to be ready to invest time back into them. Do more then expected and the budget will surprisingly open up.