Technology brands have always partnered with musicians in one way or another. From the days of the odd banners at concerts to U2-branded iPods and beyond, tech brands have always approached musicians with lucrative deals and musicians have rarely said no.
Brand/musician partnerships are a simple but effective way to build a brand or musician’s reputation. Reputations are built on what you do, what you say and what people say about you. A good partnership offers the chance to influence those conversations and actions.
Brand/musician partnerships provide an opportunity to create an experience that garners an emotional connection that permeates the consumer psyche beyond the ‘buy now’ response. It creates an integrated brand story, which becomes as much a part of the story as the quality of the product.
Everybody’s a winner
Technology brand Goji, co-owned by Currys and PC World, recently announced they have teamed up with UK rapper Tinchy Stryder to launch a range of headphones and audio speakers bearing his name. A clear move to boost the sales and appeal of a previously relatively unknown brand.
Of course there are issues of fit, originality and longevity and those will never change. But it is interesting to observe the paradigm shift that means brands are now partnering with musicians, not because they endorse or ‘want to support’ the musician but to enhance their appeal and perhaps even to introduce their brand to a new audience. If negotiated with mutual respect, these deals can offer significant mutual benefits
HP, for example, sponsored 30 Seconds to Mars’ 19-date 2011 tour, and an interactive campaign that saw fans print directly from their mobile devices to the band’s own personal HP printer in an attempt to prove pictorially why they were the band’s biggest fan. The band then picked the ultimate winner from all the entries to meet them at one of the later legs of their tour. This saw the coming together of one of the most well-known brands in printing and one of the coolest artists to illustrate the benefits of HP ePrint’s cutting edge technology.
Impact is the currency of partnership
It’s all a matter of influence and impact. And with the influence today’s musicians have on their fans and the number of obsessed fans out there, partnering with a chart-topping musician makes sense on so many levels for consumer technology brands. Although they don’t come cheap, a good partnership not only positions your product in front of an army of fans that are waiting to do as their ‘commander’ dictates, the brand can also tap into the musician’s starlight to help sell their product. One tweet from your superstar and you could be selling millions.
In terms of impact, that goes beyond retweets, Google +1s or Facebook ‘likes’. And as much as these can be pointers to how well the campaign is being received, the true test of the impact of a brand/musician partnership, or any partnership at all, is the attitude towards to brand and the conversations the partnership stimulates. It is useless having a good idea that no one gets to hear about, hence why it is important to get your campaign in front of people that have the ability to influence others and get them talking and taking actions. This will only enhance the chances of success and a good ROI.
As mentioned earlier, brand/musician partnerships have always been with us and probably will forever. All that will change is the way they happen. How long the current incarnation will last is anyone’s guess but what we know for sure is that this is just the beginning and the partnerships and dynamics will only get more interesting from here.