Today’s article is a guest post from subscriber and musician Adam Meachem, who reached out to me recently about sponsorships and endorsements.
Adam has lots of experience in this department, so I asked if he’d consider writing an article.
Here it is . . . thanks Adam!
Sponsorships and Endorsements for Musicians and Performers
Guest post by Adam Meachem (bio below)
Endorsement and sponsorship opportunities are great for artists! They help add credibility and recognition behind the careers of the musician or performer.
In this article, I will go over aspects to contemplate when going for an endorsement such as a product from a gear company, or sponsorship for an event.
Part 1 – The Old Numbers Game
“Numbers and more numbers…the future of mankind has come down to decimals. I guess you will figure that out, eventually.”― Anthony T. Hincks
Being as prepared as possible before ever reaching out is the key message of this article.
A good strategy is to build a list of companies that you are interested in, that have some kind of relation to your own business, and share a similar audience.
When you find the overlaps between your businesses, the things you have in common create a bridge in which to form a relationship with individuals in the chosen company.
Be prepared to get stonewalled, rejected, put on hold, maybe even completely ignored!
But also be prepared for highly enthusiastic interest, “yes’s”, and offers you didn’t know existed!
In short, don’t get too attached to any outcomes. This shouldn’t be looked at as a way to get free stuff, or really great deals, but rather as an investment of time and value to your own business through affiliation with other brands and businesses.
Of course, the free and cheap gear is an added bonus; it’s just not the best thing to focus on for the long term.
Look at a sponsorship as creating a type of partnership where you are helping each others’ businesses.
Ideally, you want to be creating a list of all the potential prospects, qualifying them from “best” to “worst” and contacting them in the order of importance to your project, unless otherwise specified.
“Best” could mean the company you really want to work with, or maybe the most likely company to say “yes” – these are parameters you must decide for your own project.
The essence of each business you approach should fit within the scope of what the project or event is all about, but that is more a rule of thumb; don’t limit yourself, stay open to other opportunities and ideas as well, as you never know what can come up!
Banks and Credit Unions are known to sponsor many local events, and already knowing someone in a given organization can be a great starting point.
But, cold calling is still a must in these types of situations.
It’s a good idea to research all the companies you want to talk to, and also research who has sponsored other people’s projects and events similar to your own, as this will give you an idea on who to approach or what types of companies actively participate in the community in this way.
There are many companies out there, so be picky, follow the data, and always be friendly! Be very specific in your requests and offers, and always follow up by keeping track in a calendar.
Part 2 – W.I.I.F.T. (What’s In It For Them)
For artists and creative types seeking out their first endorsement, building a case for your role in the interaction is what we will broadly explore here.
You’ll want to show the prospect the value you will bring to this particular engagement, and into the future.
Start by making a list of the things you are willing to offer, from items such as social media exposure, to direct customer referrals and sales, to everything in between!
A quick mention – having a large online social media following definitely helps in the eyes of the company you are dealing with, but is not completely necessary. Definitely leverage that if you can, although it is not advised to “buy” followers or “likes” through online services, as this can skew your true numbers for actual engagement with people.
If you are an independent artist, chances are you are running your own business in an entrepreneurial sense. So, you should have a good idea of your target market.
Tips for your proposal
- Thinking “Win-Win” is key
- Build a correlation between the company’s target market and your own
- Make sure your proposal is realistic
- Know what you want from them
- A visually attractive proposal is a big plus
What you are offering should actually be perceived as being even more valuable than what you are asking of them.
Go above and beyond here, as it will definitely raise your odds of getting a “yes.”
If you can get creative and generate a list of ideas on your own, and then explain how you are able to follow through on each item, this will create appeal.
A few examples…
- You will be placing their products or brand logos in all, or some, of your future photoshoots, or videos…
- Maybe you can wear their merch, like a shirt with their logo…
- Talk about their products on social media posts…
Get creative with these ideas – think big, think small, think in all ways!
Do you have your own projects that could incorporate their brand?
See a space where they can help within the scope of your project?
Approach them with a proposal showing how they fit into the bigger picture of your project and how much of an impact their company could have to enhance your vision.
Studying the art of the pitch is going to be a great asset in your skillset. Fortunately, if you aren’t confident in this area, there are many resources, training programs, books and audio that you can learn from.
Obtaining different sponsorships as you reach out can help fill gaps and move the project along to completion. This third-party backing can also give your project more credibility in the eyes of the public and other prospects.
Midsize to large scale events are also a great way to draw in and create interest, whereby you can pitch your proposal to specific companies that fit within the scope of the event.
To get a bit more specific on which companies are available for endorsements to artists, this goes back to having the common interests and target audience.
For example, a violinist could approach a string company, and with a large enough following possibly offer to sell the packs of strings at a local music school or get all her students using them in exchange for obtaining the endorsement of that particular brand of strings.
They might end up sending her a bunch of packs of strings for free, or at a highly discounted price!
For events, sponsorship examples range from realty companies, banks and credit unions, restaurants, fitness facilities, to pretty much any other local company wanting to advertise at your event(s).
Endorsements are slightly different in that there is usually a balance between the company wanting to advertise through you, and you having the endorsement and affiliation to their product. That connection is valuable and puts you in another light of professionalism.
A guitarist, for example, could have several endorsements for each aspect of that discipline. There are string companies, strap companies, guitar picks, effects pedals, cables, amps, pickups, and so on…
Usually one company per category is the norm. Don’t limit your thinking, but don’t breach any agreements you have with previous companies.
This formula can be repeated for every other discipline in the artistic arena.
To sum it all up, be prepared with your “ask,” knowing many facets and the answers to any possible questions you will be asked.
Organize, qualify, and rate your lists of prospects and companies. Make the calls, send the emails, meet the people, do the appropriate actions!
Follow up, follow up, follow up, etc.!
If you are able to repeat these patterns for each deal, you will have an abundance of opportunities which can help propel your business forward, and hopefully create lasting business relationships that flow into the future.
Feel free to post your comments in the section below.
About The Author
Adam Meachem is a full-time professional guitarist and composer for film and television.
He is based in the beautiful Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada.
More info at: AdamMeachem.com