SINGAPORE: Brand collaborations with artists should include focus on creative freedom, shared values and mutual respect, according to marketing experts in Singapore.

“Brands are starting to look beyond just selling their product. They are looking at connecting on a deeper and emotional way with the target consumers,” said Conrad Mendoza, senior regional marketing manager at HP, during the recent Creative Cities event held by The Drum in Singapore.

However, uneasy tensions can exist between the two, which means shared values and proactive communication is important. (For more on how brands can collaborate effectively with artists, read WARC’s report: ‘Don’t buy a dog and bark yourself’ – how brands should work with artists.)

“Part of the friction and disconnect between the art side and brands is [that] one is all about commercialisation and pushing people to use this and buy more of that, while the other one is saying, ‘Let’s be real, let’s be authentic, let’s have purpose and do meaningful stuff’,” said Matthias Schuecking, former Unilever executive and ex-Airbnb APAC marketing head, a fellow panelist.

Of the brands that HP works with, Mendoza observed that there is an alignment with the ethos of the brand and the ethos of the artist.

“The brand would say, ‘This is where it stands, this is my position’, and they would look for an artist who has the same individuality…they use it as a way to engage,” he said.

Schuecking challenged agencies to get brands to go beyond the immediate objectives of, say, boosting sales with packaging or growing market share.

“Push them to talk about purpose. Ask them, ‘What are your values?’ Ask them, ‘How do you make a difference? How do you actually add value?’,” he said.

“Once you have the core values and purpose, and you’re clear of that, you’re going to have it a lot easier to find artists who would work with you. It would be easier for you to find more commonalities and have more authenticity at the end.”

Sourced from WARC