GETTING INTO THE RETAIL GROOVE

By Jamie Davies and Ben Curwin, Mood Media, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 28 May 2010 12:00AM

The changing music landscape makes brand and band partnerships an attractive proposition for both parties.

Aligning your brand with a relevant music artist will help deliver real ROI and ensure you get closer to your consumer. That's well understood. But what are the mechanics involved in using the power of music to create an exceptional shopper experience?

Over the past 12 months, we've seen some distinctive campaigns develop with artists in the retail industry - Gabriella Cilmi performing a live acoustic set at a collection launch party for Dorothy Perkins, Iglu & Hartly promoted as the headline act for the Toni&Guy Wella Awards and Debbie Mac DJing at a new Oasis store. Or Kasabian, Escala and The Script performing live for more than 400 retailers at Sony's London headquarters.

Headway has certainly been made in terms of brand and band collaboration, showcasing to both retailers and the music industry how such campaigns can be mutually beneficial.

Factors that are speeding up the adoption of more retail and music-related initiatives are the changing landscape of the music industry and the rise in social media and new consumer technologies.

The music industry has seen a radical change in the past decade in the way music is consumed. With music available digitally in small and manageable file formats and artists no longer needing a record company to release new material, the sheer volume of music and number of people enjoying a wider variety of music has rocketed. This all means that artists and record labels need to find new and innovative ways to reach consumers.

Social media too is altering the way customers interact with services and how music is consumed. Simple tools such as adding music to your website or a download invitation to a music event - for example, an in-store performance or a free gig - are just some of the ways of adding great value to a consumer's experience.

How consumers interact with brands is also undergoing change as handheld and interactive media technologies rapidly increase. Being able to offer value-added features, such as a new music app or the ability to touch a screen in-store and listen to a favourite track, are just some of the new ways in which brand managers can enhance the retail experience.

Mood Media acts as a channel between a music label and its brand partners. We offer artists the ability to reach a global store network of between 75 million and 100 million listeners every week. This is significant, even in comparison with traditional media such as TV, print and radio.

The value-add is simple. As competition increases for media space, retail networks can offer a new and vast channel to reach consumers and effectively target specific demographics. After all, brands know their customers. At the core of this is strategic music consultancy.

Before any campaign involving brand and artist collaboration is developed, it's vital that the mechanics offer benefits to both parties. The brand owner needs to work with an artist who has positive associations with the brand's target audience and who fits the specific campaign. For the music label, the brand should reflect its artist's image and be timely, ie. promote an emerging artist or new album.

We act as the conduit to develop mutually beneficial relationships to promote both brands and artists through a wide range of commercial and promotional activities.

The clothing retailer Lipsy approached us to source an artist around which it could build a commercial property. After a number of concepts were presented, a joint-venture clothing line was decided. The next step was to find a shortlist of artists who would fit the brand: Pixie Lott was selected and the campaign mechanics were developed. Lott would get exclusive airplay on the Lipsy channel and video content promoting her co-branded fashion line on the visual infrastructure. She would also make appearances for the in-store launch, promoting the collection and her music.

The collaboration with Lott will generate new business opportunities for Lipsy and become a significant new revenue stream. This is a positive brand association with a big PR upside - extending the ROI both in terms of customer experience and sales. Indeed, 60 per cent of the collection was pre-sold before the launch.

"Pixie has strong ideas about fashion, understands product and has her own unique style," Jeremy Stakol, the chief executive of Lipsy, says. "She is exactly what Lipsy is all about in terms of fashion and our customers identify with her - we're really pleased with the collection and are confident it will be at the top of every girl's shopping list this summer."

In another example, we were approached by Sony to source a retail partner and deliver a promotional campaign to support the launch of Daniel Merriweather's debut album.

Republic was chosen as the right partner for the campaign and a competition mechanic was devised to run over three weeks on both aboveand below-the-line media channels. Customers could enter the competition via Republic's website, where a specific landing page promoted the artist with unique assets, editorial and video available exclusively for the promotion.

Online links to both the retail and brand websites and social networking profiles also became an integral part of this campaign. Communication was delivered via print, e-mail, in-store audio channels and in-store performances. The results were positive, with more than 140,864 page views, 80,939 unique page views and 35,003 entries. A total of 9,537 customers opted in for further brand news.

Delivering a brand and band partnership can add greater value to the retail experience, an improved brand association and an opportunity to stand out in consumers' minds. And all this before you consider the new revenue streams and greater brand awareness.

With increased competition, tighter budgets and more emphasis on ROI, brand owners are starting to realise that it may be time to consider a collaboration with the right artist to create a standout campaign.

- Jamie Davies is the creative director and Ben Curwin is the chief concept officer at Mood Media.

TAKE-OUTS

  • Retail and music collaborations are becoming increasingly popular due to the changing landscape of the music industry and the rise in social media and consumer technologies
  • Aligning your brand to the right artist in a campaign will benefit both retailer and record label, as well as enhance the in-store and online experience for the consumer.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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