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Archive for the ‘Music and Marketing’ Category
As a marketer, it’s your job to allow as many people as possible to learn about your products and services. Granted, segmentation will play a key role in who you target, but you shouldn’t make it hard for certain people to understand the value of what you are trying to sell.
This post is part of our series on audio branding knowledge.
Emotion is one of the things that music can most effectively manage. When you hear happy sounding music you instantly change your mood. Of course this has many health benifits, but as a merketer this ability can have an impact on your bottom line too.
As a marketer you understand the difference between tactical and strategic moves – the tactical moves are the individual parts that make up an overall strategy. This is marketing 101. Without a vision for the success down the road your individual tactics will be hit and miss.
Traditionally music studios have been about creating tactical creative work. Everything from radio commercials to on-hold music. These are the individual pieces. As audio branding professionals we look at how each of these elements combine, what is the overall effect?
One of the problems with the tactical approach is that it’s hard to know which tactics to use without a strategy behind it. You end up going in a different direction for each campaign. It also makes it harder for consumers to connect with your brand. In fact, a recent study done be Katz Marketing shows that 87% of consumers can recognize certain brands by its sound alone.
Think about the difference that you can make when you ask “How can we select music and sound that will help build our brand for the long term?” Instead of “What music can we use for this one campaign?”
Individual tactics work great when you know the direction you are heading, but without a strategy behind your tactics it can be tough to move the ball forward. Just remember to think about the sound of your company over the long term and the impact that each touchpoint has on your customers.
Here in London, Ontario the World figure skating championships have come and gone, but one thing I’ve realized from watching the skaters is music and motion are connected in a powerful way. From an audio branding perspective this is really important to understand. Lets dig in!
For example, people tend to move at the speed at which music is played. So, if you are listening to slow music you will have a tendency to move slower and if the music picks up you will start to move faster. We’ve seen this in action many times on the dance floor or ice rink, but even if you are sitting down you’ll want to tap your feet to the beat.
Looking to academia for a minute we’ll find that there are several studies on music tempo and commercial operations. The first of which discusses both employee and customer actions in response to tempo changes. The results showed that in slow music treatments there was a increase in both time to serve a meal and the time a customer spent in the restaurant. Even more exciting is the $7.00 increase in profits per meal and the decrease in potential customers abandoning before being seated.
Another interesting study investigates how music tempo impacts supermarket shoppers. In this study, researchers played music with varying tempos during specific periods of time. Similar to the first study, researchers found that shoppers spent more time in the store and spent more money when slow music was played.
All of this is encouraging, however, you still need to remember the influence music will have on your brand. If you run a store where your target demographic is young females a slow tempo track won’t cut it.
In the end remember who your customer is and what you’d like them to do. Once you have that nailed down selecting the right music becomes much easier.
- How does music move you?
- Have you ever noticed different music speeds in restaurants and different times of the day?
The world we live in today is quite visually based. We run into visual symbols and icons throughout the day as we go about our work. We use these visual references to help us communicate meaning and get stuff done. In a world that moves a million miles a minute anything we can do to speed up communication can be beneficial.
An earcon is the audio equivalent of an icon and just like visual icons we hear earcons throughout the day. Its job is to communicate meaning through the use of sound. What’s powerful about this and sound in general is that even though light travels faster then sound we process sound quicker.
Some examples of earcons:
- Empty trash sound on your computer
- Microwave end beeps (some models sing a song now)
- Seatbelt on warning signal in your car
- Car doors locked horn honk
- Beeps when you press a button on your phone
As you can see from the list above eacons are useful for helping people understand what to do. Combined with visual references this is powerful in helping customers use your product.
Many earcons are instinctively understood, however, as a marketer you need know when people might not understand the meaning of the sound. Failing to do this can cause frustration and deflection from the product/brand.
Again, going back to what makes a successful audio brand will help you create better earcons for your product.
Over the past few weeks I’ve noticed a frustrating trend that as a marketer you need to be aware of. First, a little backstory.
There have been a couple of studies released recently discussing the importance of music in advertising. I won’t go into the full details today but you can read them here (Ad Age) and here (Marketing). Furthermore, in our own work with clients we’ve seen clients increase customer leads by 108% with radio alone.
For many cities design can plan a role in helping to grow a metropolitan area by making things simpler and helping people live better lives. And as your city grows it becomes important to do two things:
- Create an image or brand for your city
- Move people to where they need to go as quickly as possible
For a large city like New York or Toronto this can present some challenges. If you thought it was hard to build a brand for a company of a thousand people try to build one for millions. This is because a significant part of how people perceive your brand is how people represent the brand itself. Good design goes a long way in helping both tourists and locals communicate in a consistent way.
Recently New York City redesigned their parking signs to make them easier to read and follow. This helps the locals, but also for visitors it makes the city more friendly and helpful.
The Art of Moving People
When you first visit a large city one of the first experiences you will have is on the rapid transit system so it seems important to make it easy to navigate. Cities that use smart design use a combination of visual and audio cues to help people move to where they need to go. In many cases this has created an image for the city such as the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) three note ding, New York’s “Stand clear of the closing doors” and London’s Underground “Mind the gap”. Check out the videos below to see and hear what I mean.
TTC Three Note Ding (start of video)
New York MTA
A World Outside
Now, looking outside the city’s limits, some do a significant amount of advertising to get people to visit. This makes perfect sense because the more money that goes into a city the more taxes get paid and then more services can be created. But advertising alone won’t get people to visit your city – you need to give people a reason to visit. Showing off the culture and community is a good start.
If you’ve ever been attracted to a foreign accent you’ll know that music and sound are powerful tools for communicating emotion and displaying culture. The City of Vienna and its tourism board a few years back decided to create their very own audio brand. The audio brand for Vienna is used across many of its marketing channels including, on-hold, in videos and on the radio. This helped Vienna tap into their history of being a great music centre but also helped to show off their culture as well.
Smart cities of the future will continue to help those whole live in the city lead better lives but also help newcomers feel right at home. Providing great design will help get you there.
There is no industry that I can think of that has been hit harder over the last few years then the banking and financial industries. I’m not going to tell you what went wrong in this article, but I want to point to the future of your local bank.
Traditionally you may have used these words to describe your bank;
If you are manager of a company where people used these words to describe you I’d be worried too. However, one thing banks have started to do is listen.
Lately, you may have noticed the increased focus on client care at your local bank; the staff knows your name, there are comfy chairs to sit in and a Wal-Mart like greeter at the front of the branch welcomes you inside. You will also notice many banks are updating their look to rid of the dark and drab vibes they seemed to have acquired over the years. You’ll also notice industry experts refer to the industry as retail banking.
All of this new focus certainly makes sense as new players such as customer friendly credit unions have arrived on the scene. You now have options for where you want to put your money. Simply just showing up doesn’t make people want to do business with you.
Of course I can’t help but point out one area seems to be missing – music. For one reason or another most banks refuse to play music in their branches or they play it at a level that makes little use of the speakers they’ve purchased. The problem with this aside from wasting their investment on a sound system is that it leaves a feeling of emptiness in the branch due to the size and quietness of most big banks.
I envision a bank where music and sound set the tone for a relaxing mortgage negotiation or business loan approval. This is a place where customers want to share their experience.