BOF 101 Music Marketing
101: Brand Marketing Through Music event attendees actively engaged with leading brand leaders as they participated in unique BOF “Birds Of A Feather” interactive group discussions. Each group was presented with a real-life situation that relates to branding/marketing using music & live entertainment to collectively discuss challenges and find solutions. The results will ultimately be critiqued by our presenters and shared here.

Leader: Chivan Wang – House Of Blues


SCENARIO You want to utilize an artist for your company’s general brand building campaign. However the artist wants you to invest in their passion project about helping their community & personal charity that they feel will be perfect for the situation. The idea could work, but needs adaptation and the artist is very enthusiastic about it. How do you go about adapting this “passion project” into the goals of your company.

1) Identify the goals of the organization and find an angle that aligns with your brand.

2) Turn this into an opportunity to reach broader audiences.

3) Formulate a campaign where the brand takes a backseat and the artist’s passion project leads awareness.

4) Find like-minded sponsors to support socially and monetarily.

Company: Live Nation
Artist: Pharrell Williams
Passion Project: Red Star Rescue, an organization that supports American Humane Society’s animal rescue efforts.
Partner Sponsor: Heineken

-Live Nation wants to promote Pharrell’s new album.
-Pharrell is passionate about animal rescue and wants to incorporate support for Red Star Rescue.
-Live Nation identifies 3-5 venues in pet-friendly cities to host a tour of fundraising concerts.
-Partner with existing sponsor, Heineken, who happens to have a red star in their logo.
-Live Nation + Heineken build an app that becomes a vessel to link users with local shelters associated with the cause. App provides opportunity for users to donate, share stories and ultimately adopt a pet.
-Donate a portion of tour proceeds to Red Star Rescue.
-Live stream performances on a custom website with a “Get Involved” link for more information on the cause, the app and links to the album/tour.
-Additional exposure gained through Pharrell’s social campaign– behind-the-scenes content, live feeds, pet POV footage.
-Live Nation and Heineken reap benefits of awareness through these multi-channels. Pharrell spreads the word about animal rescue and Red Star Rescue on a large scale with the support of two well-recognized brands.

Leader: Cristina Kown – Fender


SCENARIO You are an apparel brand that has worked with multiple hip-hop artists on collaboration products. In the past, your product launches have received a decent amount of digital and social media exposure. However, there are still a lot of music media channels that you have failed to reach. How do you bring multiple artists together to work on a single project that will increase brand awareness outside of the normal apparel space and reach new customers?

-Music mixtape
-Festival: sponsorship
-Nike Air Max Day –Midnight Run – playlist by multiple artists – popo up concerts at the end (Travi$ Scott)
-How do we let artists lead the creative decision making? Charitable idea. Converse (design a shoe)
-All the artists design looks or pieces of apparel – signature items within the line
-How can a brand try to get into the new space of music/culture that isn’t currently there.
-New brand new space, old brand trying to come back.

Under Armor or other performance brand trying to establish presence in music/culture space.
-Multiple artists collaborate with a local athlete to raise funds for local charity (Hosted across multiple cities)
-“All Star” type Game with Artist/athletes/local celebrities, and charity recipients
-Artist performance – raises money thru ticket sales
-Merchandise developed from apparel company for sale –proceeds donated to charity

Targeting Music Media: Develop video from performances, live streaming, behind the scenes, mix tape, outlet exclusivity with all of the above

Leader: Danny Evans – Ethika


SCENARIO Your cell phone brand has a new product coming out that features a new technology that is vastly different than anything in the market. You have very limited funds to trumpet this new product and great opportunity for your brand. What do you do to spread the word utilizing partnerships with concerts, music festivals and venues on this incredible offering that isn’t expensive and serves the product’s innovation in an innovative way.

Above all else, you have to know your brand and know your customer. Once you figure out what makes your new phone better than the competition, you can figure out the demographic that will exploit that feature the best. Next, we will pick a strategic venue partner to run a month long contest with. For the purposes of this event, we chose Live Nation venue House of Blues. The next step is to look at the venues performance schedule and pick the artists who’s fanbases are most similar to your target demographic that we already defined.

Now that we have chosen the venue and selected the artists’ fanbases we want to target, we can initiate a contest that is built around using the technology in the new phone. Concert attendees will be selected to receive the new phone when they enter the venue. They will be challenged to document their experience that night using the features in the new phone. There will be a webpage setup where the user can go to after the concert and review the new phone and the artist they saw. Upon completion the user will be entered to win a grand prize trip to major music festival. The experiences documented by the user can then be blasted out to the venue partner’s database.

Leader: Dave Curtin – Music Industry Exec.


SCENARIO You run marketing for leading retail chain aimed at women ages 18-35. Research tells you that your brand’s target audience loves music. You want to create a music program/platform that supports music engagement year round but your brand has no music strategy. Given that there are so many different ways to tap into music and live entertainment what do you do to develop that strategy and what framework and KPIs do you put in place to assess when to engage those different areas to showcase ROI?

Orange Candle Clothing (a fictitious young women’s retail clothing store)

In order to engage in the demo that the retailer serves which is young women ages 18-35, we decided to create the following music branding strategy and several executions to integrate the brand into the music space that is meaningful, resonates and produces results. Results could be: Brand Awareness, Foot Traffic and Sales.

+ Identify the brand sound: Pop, Alt. Rock, etc.

+ Custom curate the music being piped into the brick & mortars.

+ Replicate this sound and playlist via spotify/ apple music and create shareable links for social media.

+ Integrate the right artist(s) in print campaigns.

+ Music Festival on-site pop stores to have a presence and show consistency.

+ Integrate the right artist(s) to execute signature line so brand can draft of artists socials and equity.

+ Execute in-store performances to be broadcast on FB Live to create bigger audiences.

+ Ticket stub or receipt reuse: this execution could go either way and be effective. Brand could push a specific item and if the item is purchased, customer receives a discount of a specific show ticket. Reverse would be: bring your ticket stub from a specific show to get a discount at the retailer of a specific item.

We all felt if all this steps were executed properly, the retailer would see KPIs and ROIs that would be worth the investment and establish this retailer as an authentic brand in the music space.


Leader: Toni Wallace – United Talent Agency


SCENARIO Your brand, a pudding snack line, is sponsoring a summer music tour targeting families and kids age 10 – 16. Challenge is how would you market & promote tickets to kids age 10-16 if they don’t have credit cards? How do you market to the kids in a way that they encourage their parents to buy and engage with your brand?

GOAL: Build awareness and excitement for kids 10-16 as well as their parents. We must market the event to both groups so that kids demand attendance, and parents feel safe and comfortable with their purchase.

We will run two promotions targeting kids and their families:

1) THE IDOL CHALLENGE ( Create a social media campaign on where kids will come up with a jingle for the pudding and one winner in each market will open for the artist. This will not only create a ton of excitement for the kids that want to participate but their friends, family, and community will all want to get in on the action. Think American Idol online but instead of covers, jingles. We will also create UGC around the content leading up to the event to encourage more fans to participate. The more shares and votes you get the more likely you, your friends, or your kids are likely to win!
2) THE PUDDING CHALLENGE (Instagram/Snapchat/Facebook): we will partner with digital influencers to create unique videos and images featuring pudding. Got a milk mustache? Or in this case a pudding mustache? Is it time for your favorite game? Do you have your pudding eye black? These creative uses will be featured on the pudding’s website and the artists tour website. The digital influencers will share their creative videos/photos and ask kids and parents to join in. We will select a winner in every market along the tour. That winner will get a chance to go to the show and a lifetime supply of pudding! We will also have one grand prize winner with the most shares/likes. The grand prize package is a pool party with your friends! But this isn’t just any pool party, it’s a pool full of pudding!! What could be more fun that than!

In addition to all the earned and owned media we will be driving, we also want to generate buzz and trust with parents and local communities.

1) SCHOOLS: we will donate a select amount of funds in each market along the tour to pay for music education, instruments, and a special visit by the artist in one market to teach a music class.
2) GROCERY STORES: we will also run an on-pack promotion (text to win) at retailers and coop marketing programs to ensure we are reaching the parents in-store as well as creating incentive to purchase tickets and driving pudding sales.

Leader: Eric Jacks – Collab Inc


SCENARIO Your hotel chain wants to reach the highly sought after millennial customer, but its core business isn’t an easy or obvious fit like other categories that they have a natural affinity for like gaming, fashion or energy drinks. How would you go about developing a strategic plan utilizing music & related content to reach out and connect with youth and get them interested in your brand’s products and/or services?

Overarching Theme: “The Soundtrack of Your Stay”

Initial Booking Experience:
+ When you book your hotel room, you’re asked to select which equipment you would like to use to play music in your room (ie: Bluetooth, Spotify, Apple Music, etc.)
+ From there, you’re asked to select your favorite artists and/or playlists which are stored and attached to your user profile.
+ Have elements of the hotel loyalty program tied to notification for special events, discounts and networking with other hotel guests.

Upon Hotel Arrival:
+ Create some environment whereby people can share experiences as soon as they get there (ie: selfie walls, step-and-repeat, etc. with suggested tags)
+ When you check into the hotel, there’s music playing in the library (it’s a mix of the music from selected playlists that were submitted by hotel guests based on when they check in)

Hotel Programming:
+ Similar to Taco Bell’s “Feed the Beat,” make a certain number of hotel room nights available for free to musicians that are on the road on tour.
+ Build recording studios and select properties that musicians can use for recording.
+ Make music from participating artists available to hotel guests and ask them to participate in creating original content using the music. (One idea was to ask hotel guests to submit memorable moments during their stay that correspond to the music. You’re basically crowd-sourcing both social content and premium content that could be used for promoting the brand/hotel.)
+ Offer the ability to create “match-making” scenarios (upon opt in) for guests who would like to mingle or meet with other hotel guests that have similar music interests
— Curate dining and activity experiences for guests to do together during their stay
+ When you check out of the hotel, the songs that you’ve played during your stay would be available as a branded “Story of Your Stay”. It could be available as a download, or as a physical item that was branded by the hotel, etc.

Leader: Blair Young


SCENARIO Your headphone brand is suffering in the market and as a result you have minimal dollars to fund the marketing it will take to beat your competitors. What do you do utilizing existing relationships within music industry & artists to keep your brand’s integrity, foster deeper relationships with the retailers who are most important to you and earn market share with your existing products?

CONCEPT: Music is a powerful thing that moves people of all cultures and backgrounds. We want to cultivate an idea with our consumer that we’re not just selling a “product”, but we’re evoking a feeling. “Music is not to hear, it is to feel” kind of thing and our product helps people connect to that feeling (the music).

+ Identify our best selling, most popular product
+ Take our most popular headphone and create a short series of limited edition co-branded pieces with artists and/or brands
+ Create a roll-out campaign for each limited edition piece that includes a strategic marketing plan with the artists, retailers, and other partners
+ The marketing plan will focus on engaging storytelling that our consumers can relate to and be inspired by
+ The campaign will include pop-up music events with select retail partners nationwide leading up to local festival dates
+ Create listening booths onsite for consumers to test our headphones
+ Listening booth to include artistic background with organically integrated branding. Selfie’s with headphones on will be encouraged; hashtags & handles to be provided
+ The pop-up music events will feature live music and a brief Q&A (post set) to keep up with the storytelling theme
+ We’ll Facebook Live the music sets to broaden our audience
+ Conduct an “Enter to Win” headphone giveaway contest by having attendees list “Top 5 Songs” they currently have on heavy rotation on Spotify
+ Post-events we’ll curate a Spotify playlist from what the attendees shared on their contest entry form; we’ll share the playlists on our social platforms and encourage our artists, partners, and retailers to do the same. The hope would be to get people engaged on our social, conversing + sharing music

In conclusion, we’re looking to create an engaging music experience for our target audience through retail pop-up events, online storytelling, and limited edition products. We’re building a community that connects the audience to the music in more ways than only through a pair of headphones.

Leader: Mark Sperling – Group Y


SCENARIO Your company is launching a product collaboration with a well-known musician who is lending his name and likeness to the product. Create a digital strategy to generate awareness of the collaboration with the musician’s several million Facebook, email, and social media fan base.

Brainstorm Questions:
How do we utilize, build and continue to create a members of this Tribe?
How do we talk to this p[articular Tribe/Community?
What Platforms are they on and why do they like using those platforms?
What’s the distribution plan?
Does the artist have a tour planned or a means of promoting this collaboration to these tribe members?


Digital Execution by Channel

Instagram – This is where we will create engagement
Facebook – This is where we will create a awareness and push advertising spend
Snapchat- This is where we will talk specifically to kids, activate in unique ways
Youtube – This is where we will target a community and make our concept viral
Twitter- This is where we will give our tribe relevant updates and important details , bring them connivence
Email Blasts – This is where we target our database growth and drive against conversion
Ecomm – This is where we will create a visual experience
Microsite – This is where we will drive against SEO and continue to create a visual experience driving traffic to the website

Additional Activation Drivers

Influencer and Celebrity takeovers
Live Streaming Content
Meet and Greats
Sound Checks
Digital Ad Buys
Press Release
BTS Content
College Street Teams
SMU Styles