Guide: How to Secure Brand Partnerships

Monday, January 21st, 2019 |

Brand partnerships, when done right, can help elevate an artist’s career to the next level while also expanding a brand’s awareness and reach with new audiences. With the right combination of artist and company, a brand partnership can create a symbiotic relationship that’ll allow both parties to grow their following and spread their music and message via authentic, engaging and entertaining campaigns. That’s on top of providing an extra source of income for artists, for paid partnerships, complimentary gear and products and all sorts of marketing opportunities.

But navigating the brand partnership process can be difficult and confusing, especially for newer artists with little to no experience in the branding world. Even the initial steps—finding the perfect brand partner and pitching them your proposal—can be intimidating.

In a recent post on the TuneCore blog, Angela Mastrogiacomo, founder and CEO of boutique entertainment public relations and digital marketing firm Muddy Paw PR, outlined the essential steps and information you’ll need to secure and foster successful brand partnerships for artists. Read some of the key takeaways below.

Learn more about brand partnerships at our upcoming Brands x Artists x Culture: How To Create An Authentic Music Strategy panel at the34th annual Winter Music Conference 2019, which takes place Monday, March 25, through Thursday, March 28, at the Faena Forum at the Faena District in Miami Beach, FL.

WMC 2019 Industry and Access badges and registration are now available.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Know the Difference Between Sponsorships and Partnerships

As Mastrogiacomo mentions, a sponsorship “entails a company giving you free product in exchange for exposure to your audience,” while a partnership is a “more involved, collaborative process in which brand and artist come together for a more hands-on exchange that can open you up to an entirely new world of opportunities, fans, and experiences.” This is key information to know when approaching brands for official collaborations.

Know What YOU Are Looking for

Every artist wants to land that million-dollar deal with international brands like Nike and Red Bull. The bigger the brand, the bigger the budget and reach. But for a partnership to succeed, the brand must align with an artist’s vision. Oftentimes, a smaller, local or online-only brand will provide more support and marketing power than the mega brands with massive budgets. That’s especially the case for younger artists, who don’t have the clout of major headlining acts and therefore do not receive the same attention or support from larger brands. A smaller, more supportive brand can often be a smarter, better partner for up-and-coming artists.

Know What THEY Are Looking for

As much as you carefully determine the brands you want to work with, they too are selecting the artists they want to partner with based on a number of important factors. (Remember, this is a two-way street.) Your artist brand and your coinciding values are some of the major elements in consideration here: Do your artist values align with their brand values? Know this before pitching yourself. This is one of the main scenarios where having a strong artist brand will come in handy.

Know How to Pitch Brands

After you’ve decided on the brand partnerships you’d like to pursue, it’s now time to pitch yourself to the appropriate brand reps. But how?

When reaching out, whether via phone, email or in-person, be specific with your ideas and overall vision. Rather than providing vague concepts (e.g. “I’d like to market your energy drink using my socials”), come with specific plans (e.g. “I’d like to market your energy drink via a five-episode parody web series to live on my Instagram account, which counts +4 million followers”).

Keep your initial pitch short and straightforward, but with enough details to pique a brand’s interest. In your follow-up, whether that’s a in-person meeting, conference call or emailed proposal, outline the specifics, including timeline, costs/budget, deliverables and more. Pro tip: Make sure your contact information is easy to find and don’t forget to include your EPK or one-sheet if you have one. You may not hear back after your initial outreach, so make sure to follow up with your contact; just don’t bombard them with daily emails or phone calls asking them to read your email. Be professional.

Read Angela Mastrogiacomo’s full guide to securing brand partnerships over at the TuneCore blog.

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Before there was Ultra Music Festival, there was The Winter Music Conference, the annual coming together of the dance music tribes. Miami in March is a fundamental place to be from a business perspective, and has always given me endless opportunities for discovering new partnerships and talent. WMC brings together the dance music industry and surrounding culture like no other event in America. I’ve been attending WMC for nearly 20 years, and I’m very much looking forward to experiencing its evolution in 2019.

Matt Colon

Director, North America - YM&U Music

WMC is and has always been the lifeblood of the dance music scene. Never missed a year since ’96, I can’t imagine Amsterdam Dance Event or Ibiza Music Summit existing without the blueprint that WMC originated. Seeing this revived is absolutely essential to reunifying the North American scene surrounding electronic music and its fringes.

Tommie Sunshine

Producer/DJ/Activist/Netflix Host

Winter Music Conference was the cream of the crop of conferences. Every label owner, label A&R, DJ and artist knew they had to go network at the Fontainebleau where the conference was hosted. The conference was not only one of the most important time of the year as it relates to dance music but it was also a place where records were broken and became summer hits. Some of my best DJ memories are from the events I played during WMC in the last 20 years.

Erick Morillo

DJ / Producer / Label Boss - Subliminal Records

Miami has always been a place I’ve considered home and WMC was essential for me and the label in many ways. From showcasing our new music to keeping up with all the new artists and releases. It was the official kickoff of the year and I’m happy to see it thriving again.

Louie Vega

DJ/Vega Records

Having only missed the very first year of WMC in 1985, it was 1986-1990 that initially placed me on the map globally due to the international attendance of the entire dance music community. All throughout the 90s I was often getting written about by various high profile mags and websites for having contributed to help break many artists, DJs, producers and remixers. WMC enabled me to bring many top industry people together all under one roof, especially at Groove Jet, where house music officially met Techno in my sets and it’s all been uphill since…TBC

Danny Tenaglia

DJ, Producer