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Music can play an important part in influencing how people choose brands. A recent study tested a random sample of people by showing them a fictitious mineral water brand with three versions of musical accompaniment. Two of these accompaniments were designed specifically for the test (i.e. they were unfamiliar to the respondees) while the third was a well-known tune.  More people responded to the third brand option as the more familiar tune triggered memories and emotions already associated with the piece resulting in a ready-made deeper association with the fictitious brand.

In this instance, the familiarity of the music acted as a subconscious short-cut to the consumers’ emotions proving that music is intrinsically linked to memory, and if designed correctly, can reinforce positive associations and enhance trust in the product or brand with which it is associated.

Of course, the alternative to using an existing composition is to commission a bespoke piece which is unique to your brand. This will help differentiate it within the marketplace by enhancing its unique brand personality so that it not only looks but sounds, different to any other brand. Adding more layers of depth and experience to a brands’ holistic communication stimulates more areas of the brain and implants brand associations more deeply. This can be evidenced by a tune or soundscape that becomes stuck in our heads; a condition often referred to as a ‘cognitive itch’.

Context is everything

Research has demonstrated that playing classical music in a wine shop or restaurant can lead to increased customer spending, as introducing an air of sophistication often influences people to adjust their own behaviour as a result. On a similar note (pardon the pun) McDonald’s has begun to play soothing classical music when open late at night as its soothing effect can calm down the various belligerent late night revellers, who often the worse for wear, stumble in for their comforting munchies after a night out.

The rise of rich content

Of course, playing background music is one thing, but it’s often more beneficial to brands when used to accompany video. With video proven to increase dwell-time on brand websites (this year it will account for 69% of all consumer internet travel), the requirement for relevant, unique and memorable soundscapes and music to accompany them and amplify their messaging has never been greater.

And that’s why it’s so important to get it right. Selecting pieces from music libraries is a skill in itself (and is often the first port of call where budget is limited), but rarely achieves the emotional cut-through with the viewer that a bespoke composition tailored to amplify the brand communication can.

However commissioning a piece doesn’t have to be time-consuming or place too much stress on budget.  As DECIDE’s audio branding consultant, I understand how to create music which creates a visceral connection with its audience.

When composing, there are certain things that crop up time and time again when I’m commissioned to write a piece to accompany video.  Here are a few things worth taking into consideration;

  • Watch the video with any current audio attached muted to get a full and undisturbed first viewing of the visuals. The first viewing is one of the most important as it allows me to assess initial associations and therefore ideas.
  • Look for inspiration through other corporate videos or successful ads that stand the test of time and ensure that what I propose will ensure a point of difference.
  • Compose a variety of initial snippets of ideas so the client can choose from and hone in on the most suitable accompaniment.
  • Send recorded ideas as I go to ensure compatibility on all fronts and ensure most cost-effective use of time recording and producing.
  • Constantly refer back to the brief as I go, am I hitting the points outlined? Am I appealing to the intended target market? Is the music complimentary to the visuals and the brand’s message? Would I find this piece of music entertaining and engaging if I heard it composed by someone else?

All of which points to the fact, that when applied correctly as part of the marketing mix, music can play an important part in branding communications – which should be music to the ears of all marketers!

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James Quinn DECIDE. 2017

Awards presented to Decide include: DBA Design Effecttiveness Award Winner; IPM Awards Silver Winner 2019; The Luxury Packaging Awards Finalist 2014; MDA Marketing Design Awards Finalist 2014 Awards presented to Decide include: DBA Design Effecttiveness Award Winner; IPM Awards Silver Winner 2019; The Luxury Packaging Awards Finalist 2014; MDA Marketing Design Awards Finalist 2014