LONDON: Brands and artists are increasingly forging mutually beneficial partnerships and brands need to think about consciously developing a music strategy, according to an industry figure.

"It doesn't need to be a frontline strategy," explained Mark Knight, strategy director at MEC Access. "But every brand will have music in their TV ad," he told Marketing. "So understanding the music profile of their audience should be part of their marketing plan."

The music business has made significant strides in making this process simpler for brands. Sony Music, for example, has done a lot of research in this area across the Asia Pacific region, and has identified 26-28 consumer segments in each market which has helped to plan the marketing around its own artists, as well as providing a focal point for brands.

Daniel Hall, senior director/insight and planning at Sony Music, noted consumer attitudes were changing.

Where once an artist would have been seen as "selling out" by getting involved with a brand, "modern consumers, young consumers, see it as a symbol of success", he said.

But it's important that brands not get carried away by seeking links with the most popular artist of the moment, as one of Hall's colleagues outlined.

Gavin Parry, evp/digital and business development Asia & ANZ, Sony Music, told an event last year that many brands wanted to work with UK pop band One Direction simply because they were "really hot ... [brands] weren't really that worried about what they were trying to achieve strategically".

"In a lot of cases it was all because the CEO really wanted to meet Harry [Styles]," he added.

Music is one of the most important, if not the most important, passion points for many consumers, and Hall observed that it gave brands an opportunity to establish an "intense emotional connection."

The medium itself, he added, was a fertile one for telling rich and emotive stories.

Knight pointed out that there were three parties in the mix – the brand, the artist and the audience. "As long as you keep those three things in mind it has to be a win-win-win for all of those three."

Data sourced from Marketing; additional content by Warc staff