How can brands get involved with live music?

campaignlive.co.uk, Thursday, 19 April 2012 08:00AM

Utilising the latest technology and music festival innovations are just two ways for brands to extend reach in the live music sphere, two experts suggest.

Jaime Williams, Music Partnerships Manager, Brandamp

Jaime Williams, Music Partnerships Manager, Brandamp

JAIME WILLIAMS, MUSIC PARTNERSHIPS MANAGER, BRANDAMP

- What value can involvement in the live music space bring to a brand?

Involvement with live music provides brands with the opportunity to become aligned with a genuine consumer passion point. It allows clients to interact with their audiences in the best possible mindset - when they're having the time of their lives. This type of association can build brand loyalty, affinity and trust too. On top of this, given the sheer amount of people attending gigs and festivals on an annual basis, a consistent involvement in this area provides a very healthy reach.

- How has social media changed the gig experience?

Social media has improved the live music experience. It plays a major role pre-, during and post-event, and this is for the better. The planning process has now become part of the experience. Fans can keep their friends and followers in the loop by posting updates and sharing content during the event itself. Furthermore, social media provides a platform to reminisce and swap memories. The smart brands capitalise on this and become part of every stage of the experience, not just the gig itself.

- How else can brands truly connect with live music fans?

The key is adding value and improving the overall experience. Be helpful, particularly at festivals, by putting your product and its capabilities at the heart of your involvement (ie. the Carling Cold Beer Amnesty, where festival-goers can swap any can of warm beer for a cold can of Carling, or the Lynx Man Wash, where male festival-goers get to be lathered and hosed down by attractive ladies). Providing your audience with an experience not available to fellow attendees is also an effective means to connect. Credibility is crucial: the association has to make sense. Finally, make sure your involvement is enduring - do not dip in and out.

- How has consumer technology influenced the way people consume live music?

Consumer technology hasn't diluted the power of "being there", but it has improved the options for those not lucky enough to be in attendance. High-quality live streams are now relatively commonplace, opening up major events to a wider, cross-territory audience. Technology has also played a part in empowering gig-goers in their newfound ability to capture personal content and subsequently relive the moment.

- When compared with other ways brands can become involved in music, how does the live music sector fare?

In a perfect world, brands should aim to position themselves across a variety of touchpoints. This approach provides a deeper and more convincing association. But when pitted against other options at the disposal of marketers, live music stands tall. The much-discussed "devaluing" of music as a consequence of the digital age does not apply to live music: it presents the extraordinary and binds together brand, band and fan like little else.

- What has changed about how brands' work with bands?

Brand and band deals have become the norm. Consumers are now accepting of brand involvement in music and often welcome the support and patronage clients can deliver. However, with this comes a new challenge: beating the clutter. In light of the need to outshine the rest, we've seen a major improvement in the quality of work. Advertisers, the music industry and music fans are all the better for it.

CAT BOTIBOL, CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR, PD3

- What value can involvement in the live music space bring to a brand?

One word: fans. Whether you are a brand owner or a band, creating a loyal and engaged fan base is the goal. Forming an emotional connection with a consumer is the ultimate mission for brands. Live music fans are passionate in their fandom - which includes telling all those around them about it too. The live music space gives brands the opportunity to tap into that fandom and, if done in the right way, can turn those passionate people into fans of the brand too.

- How has social media changed the gig experience?

The gig experience used to be about you and your three mates who were at the gig venue with you. Now, with the rise of smartphones, it's about you and your 300 mates via your social media communities. It's no longer just about that night of the gig either. The whole experience can be recorded, snapped and shared, and will live on long past your hangover.

- How else can brands truly connect with live music fans?

Brands ... don't get in the way! Seamlessly weave your way into the live music space using the language and aesthetics of that space. Don't try to shoehorn irrelevant product messages into a live event space that has such passionate followers. If a brand can truly enhance the gig experience in some way, then it will truly connect with live music fans.

- How has consumer technology influenced the way people consume live music?

Advancements in mobile technology have made it so easy for fans to get closer to the bands and the music they love. They can create their own recordings of the gig, as well as finding out what the band had for breakfast via Twitter. Mobile technology has vastly improved in terms of handset picture quality, not to mention picture-enhancing apps such as Instagram. But mobile audio recording still has some way to go. At Pd3, we've been working with O2 to create fan-cam live music videos, taking fan recordings of O2 Academy gigs and editing them with the live recording from the mixing desk to put back on to YouTube.

- When compared with other ways brands can become involved in music, how does the live music sector fare?

Live allows you to truly be part of a legacy and infiltrate culture. Elvis' comeback performance in 1968, Oasis at Knebworth in 1996, the stage invasion at Iggy Pop in Glastonbury 2007 (a personal favourite of mine as, yes, I was on that stage). None of these performances were going to be legendary before they happened, demonstrating another key difference - unpredictability. You have to be as prepared for a riot as you are for a legendary night to be created.

- What has changed about how brands' work with bands?

Brands and bands now need to see their partnerships as creative and credible collaborations that are mutually beneficial to both brand and band. Brands - your agencies should be coming up with ideas that bands jump at the chance to get involved with, as they know what their fans are going to love.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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