How Country Music Influencers Take a Brand to Another Level
Having been in the industry for over 20 years with a roster of music industry accolades under his belt, Thom Oliphant, Executive Producer and Head of Branded Content at Taillight, was the perfect person to sit down with to discuss the music industry and the effect it can have on branded content. This is his take on how country music influencers can take a brand and its marketing to another level.
Q: What is branded content?
A: Branded content is any content created for a company with the purpose to promote their brand in the market. At Taillight we develop and produce the content in collaboration with and exclusively for a brand client with the purpose of creating measurable successes.
At Taillight the formula is: The right artist + the right content + the right strategy = real results
Q: Why include a music influencer?
A: A star influencer, or in our case the right music artist, allows a brand to promote themselves through a voice that has an already established following. Influencers have loyal, engaged audiences, most often on social media or in the digital eco-system. At Taillight, we are experts at casting successful music artists as influencers. Our sweet spot is harnessing the incredibly popular and incredibly authentic power of country music artists, but lately we have started to leverage the worldwide popularity of hip hop artists as well.
Q: How does Taillight find the right influencer?
.A: We use data, our industry relationships, and tribal knowledge. For instance, we build affinity models that measure key characteristics of a brand’s existing customer base and compare those profiles to various artists’ audience profiles. Where there is overlap we can start to build out a picture of which audience shows an affinity for your brand. With this data, we can find a fingerprint that points to the right influencer match. The data, coupled with our years of experience and relationships in the industry are what sets Taillight apart.
Q: When should a company use branded content?
A: The 5 best times to consider a branded content program are:
To cut through the clutter in a saturated market
When it’s time to create scale for a business
When it’s time to re-brand and take your brand to the next level
When it’s time to connect with an entirely new audience or demographic
When there a cause that could benefit from an influencer’s voice to raise awareness or drive donations
Q: What is Taillight’s branded strategy?
A: It starts with developing the right content, in partnership with the brand direct or with their agency of record. In the development phase, we do a lot of listening to understand the problem, the history, the mission, possible solutions, probable hurdles, and to determine clear, measurable goals for success. Then we develop the creative, often in tandem with the agency of record. Next, we work with our clients to find the right influencer for the program, often providing data to support this decision. We make the deal with the influencer and manage that relationship from start to finish. Next, we produce the content, edit it, and deliver the versions necessary to insure we reach the largest audience possible. Sometimes it ends here, but we also have the team to deliver the content, create a robust social media and digital strategy, amplify it, create a paid strategy, and then measure and refine our approach to make sure we are hitting the goals and the targets that make the program a success.
The Process: Idea development -> find and secure talent -> produce content -> measure and hit goals
Q: How do you measure branded content?
A: Once the content is produced and rolled out, we track the content all through its lifecycle on social media. Reach, engagement, impressions, actions taken, time spent watching content, clicks to shopping sites, purchase funnel activity, activity at retail are only few of the data points we use and provide to make sure our content is hitting the right eyeballs and having the right effect.
What makes branded content different is, unlike a broadcast campaign or a billboard/print campaign, branded content has hundreds of trackable, measurable data touch points.
Q: Is branded content the future?
A: Yes. We see that music artists are trend makers and prime mover influencers of pop
culture. More than ever before, they have longer career paths, larger and more diverse audiences, and more honest connections with their audience. They see the right relationships with brands as not just potentially profitable but also a way to round out their personal brands. By attaching themselves to a brand they are passionate about, they are able to find affinity with their fans, and are given an opportunity to create an image of themselves as real people, not trapped in a celebrity bubble. They are fellow customers of the brand, right there on life’s journey alongside their fans.