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'Billboard' Latin Conference: Branding Deal Pitfalls

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Don’t sponsor artists just because they’re a big name. Artists and brands, be transparent about what you need from each other in a campaign. And use social media in a pinpointed, strategic way.

Hispanic marketing experts pointed out some common pitfalls in aligning brands with artists during the “Branding for Music/Music for a Brand” panel Tuesday at the Billboard Latin Music Conference at the Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza in San Juan, Puerto Rico:

Pitfall 1
Choosing the wrong artist. Jorge Martel, T-Mobile’s marketing vp for Puerto Rico, said the brand turned away some big names because they didn’t fit T-Mobile’s image. The brand partnered early on with Wisin & Yandel, but also with La Quinta Estacion, which wasn’t as well-known in Puerto Rico but whose fresh look and sound was an asset.

Added Relay Worldwide’s Marco Lopez, “Work with artists that fit your consumer and your brand,” rather than artists that you -- or your brand’s CEO -- happen to like.

Pitfall 2
Lack of transparency when negotiating a branding deal. Alex Lopez Negrete of Lopez Negrete Communications says agencies and brands should be clear in communicating their goals, whether they be an increase in sales volume or household penetration of the product. “The artist should be equally candid: ‘I haven’t had a hit in four years. Jesus Christ, help me,’” he said.

Pitfall 3
Unstrategic use of social media. “Don’t force it,” said T-Mobile’s Martel. “We try to do one promotion in which we integrate it seamlessly.” Case in point: the company held auditions at malls in Puerto Rico for people to win the chance to interview artists at the Billboard conference for T-Mobile. Audition videos were posted on T-Mobile Puerto Rico’s YouTube channel and people voted for their favorites via text.