Break the Rules: How Creatives and Sponsors are Innovating New Business Models

Artists listen up. It’s no longer enough to be a talented and hard working. You also have to be a business strategist. From music to publishing, anyone making their living from their creative talent now faces the additional hurdle of re-inventing the business of the business–from production to distribution and marketing. The economy is forcing artists to become business leaders in ways unexpected.

A while back, the Black Eyed Peas caught my attention for their innovative work with sponsors. The band embraced corporate sponsorship without alienating their audiences or losing control of their brand. In fact, sponsorship has helped elevate their brand with additional media. How’d they do it?

Here’s the recipe for Black Eyed Peas Sponsorship Stew:
1. Set up a 501-c-3 foundation to create a cause-marketing platform.
2. Seek charitable partners to extend messaging into their communities.
3. Sign up sponsors for charitable tours and events.
4. Require sponsors to help with free media and co-promotions to drive consumer transactions to support the cause–including MP3 downloads and concert ticket purchases.
5. Set up a website that brings sponsors into the Black Eyed Peas community as cause-related partners.
Heat, stir and serve.
Easy, peasy.