Last month, KRPT curated a sold out event in collaboration with the Young Guns Network; with Arsenal FC, Ministry of Sound and GRM Daily as our panelists. The aim was to discuss and highlight how these exciting brands are diversifying their revenue streams and reaching new audiences.
Key topics ranged from starting with merchandise as the natural extension of your brand to developing your own IP, expanding into new markets and finally the role for commercial partnerships and licensing.
Clothing was the first topic of discussion as it seems to be the most natural way for a brand to extend their presence. It works especially well for companies that have a loyal audience and all three brands on the panel had developed their own approaches.
Lauren (COO at GRM Daily) mentioned that it’s not about making their fans walking billboards. It was also important to balance limited ranges that also linked to a more accessible collection.
We then moved onto Ministry of Sound and their previous strategy on developing products. From vodka to speakers and headphones, the MoS brand had a massive expansion (some successful and others not so much). Andrew Akuffo (Director of Brands & Events) described the importance of focussing this strategy and creating products that would represent the quality of the brand.
Once a brand reaches a certain level, they are able to scale their presence across the globe. Organisations like Arsenal have some of the largest fan communities in the world and licensing their brand to new regions can prove to be extremely profitable and effective.
Amiel Walia (Senior Partnerships, Arsenal) mentioned that it’s not about just giving the brand asset or player rights to a partner in a new region but also developing a strategy that would not damage the company.
One interesting case study was a partnership between Star Lager and Arsenal. Star Lager is a Nigerian beer and the brand wanted to use the Arsenal logo on a number of bottles. As a result they had sold millions of bottles and it proved how valuable these partnerships can be for the right brands.
As a result of the partnership, Star Lager Beer’s customers and Arsenal fans in Nigeria will be offered a range of club-related benefits, including official merchandise and match tickets to see the team in action at Emirates Stadium.
This partnership helped the club get closer to its fans in Nigeria where they have a huge following. Star Lager Beer was able to directly engage with these millions of supporters through the club’s digital platforms and in-person by offering access to coaching clinics taking place once a season in Nigeria.
It was a natural evolution to start discussing the role of brand partnerships further.
GRM Daily started as a YouTube channel and has quickly become one of the leading players in UK music. They managed numerous campaigns with brands and developed strategies that ranged from experiential to content. One example we discussed was their recent campaign with Netflix where GRM Daily had a leading musician (Ghetts) giving fans a chance to win a day in the studio with the artist. Fans were encouraged to send their freestyles and this generated tons of UGC. When the audience visited the digital channels they were also exposed to full web-takeovers from Netflix and their latest show (The Get Down).
Lauren mentioned that GRM Daily will be launching their own agency model to help brands. They would be traditionally seen as a media channel and felt it was vital to develop the agency as a way to offer brands value beyond their own publication and help develop global campaigns.
For Ministry of Sound, brand partnerships also played a key role in a number of ways and they even have a section on their site dedicated to past case studies. An interesting case study was their partnership with Dolby.
MoS is known for having one of the best sound systems in the world and were the first club to install the Dolby Atmos system. Dolby Atmos allows for a more immersive experience by giving artists the power to control where certain sounds are sent across the space. Entire albums have been remastered and new material is in the making, all engineered to absorb you in the music.
Andrew mentioned that traditionally it would be very difficult to propose installing such a system into the club and prove the value. But with Dolby partnering on this project it was much more feasible as large costs would be alleviated. It also helped reposition the club in a competitive & changing nightclub market.
For Arsenal, brand partnerships also played a key role. We briefly touched on their latest partnership with Konami and Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 which you can read about here.
We moved on to discussing new models and ways to drive innovation, specifically touching on the Arsenal Innovation Lab. It’s described on the site as “Arsenal Football Club has thrived on a pioneering and innovative spirit since its formation in 1886. The Arsenal Innovation Lab is the latest step in our desire to be at the forefront of the game on and off the pitch. We are looking for smart-thinking businesses to help us identify ground-breaking ideas to take us forwards.”
Many organisations are taking inspiration from startup/tech culture and launching or hosting their own hackathons and incubators. This was a great way to drive innovation and explore new products.
Amiel discussed a range of new ideas for example the evolution of virtual reality and how these new mediums could massively increase their revenue streams and proposition. It’s clear that many sports clubs are increasingly looking at themselves as media channels and developing strategies that revolve around enhancing and repurposing content.
We then touched on the first ever single GRM Daily had just released featuring Chip and Kojo Fundz which you can read about here. The single is part of a partnership between GRM Daily and Parlaphone Records and seems like a natural transition as the brand have been the leading influencers in UK music for many years now.
The next point of discussion was around new audiences, specifically looking at Ministry does Fitness, the latest venture from the leading megaclub. “First, we brought you the Arches, where Ministry Does Fitness in a hidden booze vault in Elephant and Castle. Think the biggest soundsystem, club lights and disco vibes rolled into a high intensity circuit class with legendary coaches”
THE NEXT GENERATION
Finally, to wrap things up I had to finish the panel with a question that really defines a key part of what we want to achieve as a business.
“How can your brand support the next generation or make a difference to people’s lives in a positive way?”
GRM Daily regularly support the next wave of artists through their platform but Lauren mentioned they also do work with local youth centres and have also hosted numerous workshops to share their knowledge, many times in collaboration with brands like adidas.
For Ministry of Sound the focus was on developing new ways to engage the next generation by giving them a chance to play in their club and looking at collaborating with tech brands who could host workshops and training.
The Arsenal Foundation was then discussed which uses the power of football to inspire and support the next generation.
Words: Inder Phull Inder is the CEO of KRPT, a creative agency that helps brands create art instead of ads. The KRPT Network is a global movement made up of leaders in art, music, skate an
d tech culture. Learn more at krpt.co.uk