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Opinion and Insight

How Does Your Brand Sound to Your Consumer?

“What does my Brand sound like?” is the question every brand intending to use music in its marketing should ask and be able to answer

How Does Your Brand Sound to Your Consumer?

In recent years, consumer purchase decisions have become more about emotion rather than function -- as we become increasingly ‘high tech’ we seem to crave personalisation and ‘high touch.’ In response, experienced-based marketing that communicates the emotional values of Brands is growing.

Television and cinema commercials have historically been the platform to set out a brand’s values and where agencies have used music to support a visual narrative. But with the many multimedia platforms providing new touch-points, how can brands ensure that these brand values not only retain their integrity but reach a range of target markets in different contexts?

The answer is music. In just a few seconds it can create a mood, unlock an emotion, and deeply move people. Choose an artist or genre specific to a moment in time and it can also reflect a culture, a time period and lifestyle.

Music has the magic to extend a brand’s reach and ability to impact the consumer. Brand partnerships, branded content, endorsement and sponsorships create new opportunities for brands to express who they are through the music and artists with whom they align themselves. Something that is not lost on the music industry.

As more and more people switch to streaming music, historical music revenue from sales is drying up. The industry’s response is not only to embrace music being used in a commercials but set up departments specifically to court ‘band/brand’ relationships.

The brand/agency response, I have been told, is to choose alliances based on how many YouTube viewers an artist enjoys.

“What does my Brand sound like?” is the question every brand intending to use music in its marketing should ask and be able to answer. This isn’t to be confused with “Sonic Branding”, which is the audio logo best demonstrated by the four note ‘Intel Inside’ melody or McDonald’s “I’m loving it”.

The “Sound of a Brand” is more complex. What a consumer knows and understands of a brand’s values should be reflected by what they hear. The “Sound of the Brand” is about the connection made by the consumer on a conscious or subconscious level between the brand and the music. This connection happens fast on a purely emotional level and will hook potential customers before they hit the ‘Skip Ad’ button. With so much power, it means that every piece of music used by a brand, whether in a commercial, supporting native content, or a band sponsorship, needs to follow agreed Brand Sound guidelines.

Where compelling messages, consistent delivery and emotional experiences are at the heart of a brand’s success, the need to actively develop fully integrated and powerful multimedia music strategies is becoming an imperative. A clear and strong music identity can represent what an organisation wants their brand to stand for now and in the future. Music can provide an external picture for customers and can act as the internal pulse of business strategy.

A shift in thinking from regarding music as a soft service to a cornerstone of business strategy needs to occur. More understanding is vital so that each party in the collaboration appreciates the value of each other’s strengths, looking at the other as partners over a period of time and not a one-off transaction. If self-interest is replaced with collaboration and respect, win-win benefits will result for both the Brands and the Music Industry.

Genre: Music & Sound Design