panel (L-R) Courtney Blacker, Umut Ozaydinli, Panos Panay, Dan Vinh, and Brad Josling discuss music marketing on the Next Stage in the Austin Convention Center (Photo: Jeff Miller)

A panel entitled "Social Media Marketing: Bands, Brands, and Fans" and moderated by SonicBids founder Panos Panay suggested an eye to the future of marketing, so it's surprising that a key theme of the five-participant panel was marketing's history with music. Umut Ozaydinli of Deviant Ventures described his surprise when he found out that his client Coca-Cola has been using music for marketing since the early 1900s, first with opera, and then with pop artists like Aretha Franklin.

"Music has always been an amazing way for marketeers to build a relationship," he said. "With social media, it's more colorful - you can do a lot more."

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The rest of the panel agreed. Courtney Blacker, of JanSport, described the way her company - known for backpacks and bags geared towards the youth demographic - found that music played a key role in expanding their visibility. "We found our brand had great synergy with music," she said, after describing their successful partnership with SonicBids. "Music is a big part of who our consumer is."

Panelist Dan Vinh works with the music programming at Renaissance Hotels, who've been putting on concerts at their properties as part of a venture to reposition the brand in the lifestyle space expanding on their reputation as a place for, as he put it, "a bed and a hot shower." "We have to make sure it's an organic and authentic experience," he said of their recent initiative to have concerts in their lobbies. "We have to make sure that everyone at the hotel really believes it and lives it."

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Vinh also talked about the connection between musicians who play at a Renaissance and their social media fans, explaining that he'd like fans who discover bands at his hotels to have a relationship with them that extends much further than a one-off experience. But Brad Josling, from HIP Digital, who works with brands like Bacardi on their music marketing, took a more hard-and-fast number approach to the benefits of marketing digitally. "You can find out a lot about your customer," he said. "Where they're shopping. How they're engaged on social media. We provide pretty extensive reporting."

Added Ozaydinli, "Brands used to be all about impressions. Now it's about expressions. If I can get you to like the brand [based on our music relationships], and say something on your social network, a friend of yours is more likely to make a purchase decision."

Of course, that only works if the fan trusts the brand in the first place. "The most succesful brands," Panay said, "are the ones where music fits into the brand ethos. Music has actually been part of marketing for over 100 years. It's about sticking around for the long term."

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