Another mesmerizing panel I had the opportunity to observe was the one on Creating Brand Experiences with Music Moderated by Manpreet Kochar (Founder, A&M Studio), Samar Singh Shekhawat (CMO, United Breweries), Saahil Kumar (Head Marketing, Sennheiser India), Subroto Chattopadhyay (Chairman, The Peninsula Studios), Subramanian Iyer (MD & CEO, The Entertainment Company), Varun Patra (Co-Founder, Homegrown) and Jaideep Singh (Director, Arré).
The panel discussed the importance of creating properties on the essence of the brand.
Starting off with Subroto Chattopadhyay the discussion followed on to how brand properties are incredibly critical. He cited examples of WILLS program in cricket and Pepsi’s campaign with Christina Aguilera and Rimmy Martin and went on to state that “Property should be central to the theme of the brand. The magic sauce is to work in the shoes of the brand.”
Quickly the conversation shifted to Samar Singh Shekhawat who emphasized how common it is to make the mistake of deciding that a particular genre only aligns with your brand identity. He went on to give examples with Kingfisher Storm that has simple design aesthetic and aims to the younger crowd and hence oozes the ‘Punjabi Swag’ vibe and is therefore paired with that genre and how Kingfisher Ultra is related to a more premium brand aesthetic and is accordingly paired with Justin Bieber concert or Avicii concert.
Varun Patra shared light on how music is the most grown culture, unlike art, fashion and others, and how everyone wants a piece of that pie – especially when it comes to Hip-Hop these days. While some intend to push the genre, others wish to ride the wave. He clarified that it is essential to look at the music industry as an eco-system and not look at it as just a brand sponsor. He cited the example of BUD X property that was launched in India and is now active in other parts of the world as well to help grow the music industry over there. He pointed towards the value in ‘Experiential Properties’ to make it fruitful for everyone involved.
The discussion shifted to Jaideep Singh, who provided his insight on the business aspect, whether, from a brand owner or a content creator’s perspective, you will have to look at things from two buckets.
One being the Tactical Need which looks into the reach numbers, brand objectives and the outgrowth achieved. The other being the Long-term Plan which seems into building the audience and leveraging the right talent and keeping in mind the stakeholders as well.
He stated that “It is essential to establish the property on the essence of the brand. And then you have you have to look at the Audience and gauge what they want, craft the product accordingly and then let the creativity come into play. Success lies in the insights you attain from your audience.”
Subroto Chattopadhyay chimed in, “Music is the only truth I know! It connects to every human being in his/her’s moment of joy. How you dig into that is what matters!”
After which, Saahil Kumar spoke about understanding what the brand stands for, knowing your audience and eventually present tailor-made properties. He gave the example of Sennheiser’s TOP50 property that is focusing on the Independent Music scene and is now in its fourth year.
Subramanian Iyer joined in pointed towards the lack of knowledge prevalent in the industry and how there is a need for a forum to understand this in further detail and to find out to connect with the brand or the talent. He also mentioned that “Integrating the brand with the festival (property) without compromising on the essence of the festival is quintessential.”
Towards the end, tieing it all together, Subroto Chattopadhyay emphasized how he dislikes the term ‘Sponsor’ and prefers the term ‘Partner’ instead. He stated that “If you stay the course and walk in the shoes of the Brand Manager, then you would be helping the Brand Manager build Brand Muscle through the work put in.” He also went on to talk about the importance of a long-term relationship, emphasizing the commitment to be for at least 3-5 years and be able to see the property evolve into something better and then improvise on the creativity front. And finally, to finish it off he parted with the most important thing to keep in mind – “Always treat the talent with respect. Everyone involved (the musician, technician, etc.), the entire production should be handled very carefully. If you look after your artists, they become the spokesperson for your brand.”
To summarize it all, Manpreet Kochar finished off with “Treat my business as if it was your own. Treat my music as if it was your own.”