More than a logo
|Colm O Riagain notes that the days of merely strategically placing the music sponsor's brand at the back of the stage are well and truly exhausted|
Music sponsorship in Ireland is on its way to saturation
point as more and more brands create through-the-line campaigns that aim to hit
the right note with consumers. But as brands rush to get in, they are getting
involved with activities, largely sponsorships, that fail to capture their
brand values and as a result consumers are not getting a valued experience and the
brand often wastes its investment.
Part of the problem is that some music
marketing campaigns do not fit with or are not relevant to consumers' lives and
brands fail to achieve an authentic and credible link. Brands need to understand that fans want an
added value experience and any association needs to have a proper strategy that
starts from the grassroots up.
Consumers, now more than ever, are aware of
companies trying to get their attention through music in a bid to get them “on-side”,
brands must give consumers ‘added value'
– often in the manifestation of something they cannot get elsewhere.
A survey by UK agency, Entertainment Media
Research, highlighted this issue. When consumers
were asked their opinion about brands working in the music space, 82 per cent
of those surveyed said that there were few brands interested in music and the
rest are just jumping on the bandwagon. As
many as 86 per cent thought brands needed to do a lot more than logo placement
to gain their respect.
More importantly for bands (not brands), 75
per cent thought that bands sell out too easily to brand sponsorship deals. These
figures mirror the results from a recent straw poll conducted by Slattery
Communications in the Irish market. Our clients include Nokia and Edward Dillon
drinks brands Bacardi, Jack Daniel's and Hennessy.
The results highlight the need to get it
right, to generate awareness and to ensure there is an emotional relationship between
the brand and the consumer. Music is not a quick fix for brands. Those interested
in marketing through music must have a long-term strategy in place and they
need to ensure that their association is a collusion of brand, brand experience
and interactivity that fits with music and the marketer's objectives.
More crucially, big brands should not settle
for a trite association; they need to be a conduit and if the concept is not
working really well after say three years, the likelihood is it never will. In
other words, it is time to consider pulling the plug.
Take a look at mobile phone operator 02. In
a brave move last year, it opened its own music venue, transforming the much-maligned
Millennium Dome in London's
Docklands to The O2, a state of the art music venue with a 23,000 capacity.
When it was planning its involvement, O2
knew that it would be much more than a branding exercise and it pushed itself
into unfamiliar territory. It was forced to look at O2's values and consider
what kind of a space it would like to design.