Music Industry Program Hosts Branding and Sponsorship Panel Discussion

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The Music Industry Program and the Office of Career Advancement put together a three-week virtual series called “Let’s Talk Music,” with the latest installment “Branding and Sponsorship” being held Tuesday, Nov. 16.

The three panelists were Yvonne McNair, Michelle Huff Elliott and Serena Boyd. McNair is the founder of the Captivate Marketing Group and an Emmy-nominated event producer. Elliott worked with numerous artists, including Ashanti. Boyd is a senior account executive at Tracey Miller & Associates and worked with musical acts such as Prince and Amy Winehouse. Each of these women brought their experience and knowledge to the discussion that gave students insights into their journeys.

One of the most important tools a musician can use today is social media. With a variety of different platforms to choose from, it’s easier than ever to start creating a brand and narrative that suits your needs. Social media is a priority for both current and new artists.

“I think it’s really important to have a voice on social media. It is a marketing promotional tool for you to promote new projects, new partnerships or whatever it is you want to do. People will look at it,” Elliott said. 

While it’s important to post new projects, musicians must remember to use social media to tell their own stories.

“Music is a product. It’s personal, it’s emotional. There’s not that many products out there that can impact people the way music can,” Boyd said. “In this day and age, people connect through social media. That’s personal and it’s important to think about how that is going to reflect who you are and who your music is.”

It may be difficult to figure out where to start but the panel offered simple pieces of advice.

“Understand what you’re trying to achieve because there are ways to do things smartly,” McNair said.

The journey as a musician can be a costly process but there are ways to start creating your brand that are cost effective. Reaching out to those around you is one of the best ways to start the journey because you never know where those people may end up.

“Look at the people who are around you on your level and they’re starting out. You have someone in your group who’s good at graphic design. You have someone who’s good at social media,” Elliott said. “Think about the people in your circle that you know and they can get more visibility in their industry.”

The panel made sure to highlight the importance of networking and following through after meeting someone, but they also made sure to showcase that you have to use your mentors and step outside your comfort zone.

“I think for anyone in this industry, especially for women, I think it’s important to not be afraid to apply for a job or to try for a gig,” Boyd said. “One of the blessings I’ve had has been some phenomenal mentors. I am so happy to have had these women who have supported me and encouraged me.”

“I want my deck to speak for me when I’m not in the room. Make sure that your deck is clear and concise. It tells the story of whatever I’m trying to tell and that it leaves them without any questions.” McNair said.

The next panel of the series is “Let’s Talk Festivals,” which will be held Wednesday, Dec. 1  at 6:30 p.m.

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