Think outside of the box when you appeal to people.
A major challenge for brands today is reaching their targeted audience, but it isn’t easy to establish a lasting bond with potential clients.
Music and sound can help to forge that connection using one of the following paths.
#1 — Speak to the rational mind
When an ad shows an explicit message to their audience like:
“Our brand is better than others because of the following characteristics…”
it’s engaging to our rational mindset.
It tries to influence our purchase intention by listing the advantages of that product hoping we’ll buy it because of these features. Now, this can be very straightforward and it can feel very dry to swallow or it can be less notorious but much more appealing thanks to music.
Let’s take the jingle as an example. During the Great Depression in the ’30s in the US, Pepsi was able to overcome the crisis thanks to its famous “Nickel, Nickel” jingle, even doubling its profits.
In this ad, Pepsi announced that with the same 5 cents they used to be able to buy a 177cc can, now they could get one double the size, unlike their competitor that still sold 177cc cans. Thanks to the creative way in which they informed their audience about this change, their revenue skyrocketed.
We see that music can be used to convey information about a product in an inventive and memorable way. This musical form, the jingle, has been widely used throughout the years to boost the consumer´s brand recall. Nonetheless, this musical form is becoming rather obsolete. For instance, it has become the less used form in Spanish TV.
- Pros: it tends to encourage short-term behaviors and it’s highly effective for special sales, discount ad campaigns according to Binet & Field (2013).
- Cons: it doesn’t forge a long-lasting relationship with the brand (Binet, Müllensiefen, & Morrison, 2015). The emotional connection to the consumer is rather low or non-existent.
Now let’s see how to get the most out of music when boosting a brand.
# 2 — Communicate to the heart directly
People tend to look at advertisements on TV or on the Internet, without paying attention to the musical aspect, unless it really stands out.
And this is a good thing!
This phenomenon allows for the music to be processed unconsciously, traveling throughout the brain without a rational filter.
Brands that have a more implicit and emotional approach engage in creating story-telling ads that are familiar to the consumer. The public will feel more connected with the message of the ad.
The music accompanies and supports the emotions of the scene and sets a tone that captures the whole attention of the observer. The emotions that arise are transmitted unconsciously to the brand by association.
The company adam&eve DDB is an excellent example of this type of emotional approach to their customers. They’ve been collaborating with the British high-end department store company John Lewis & Partners for quite a while. And they’ve done a lot of very emotional commercials for them.
They tend to use mainstream songs but with a twist: rearranged by other artists (also known as a cover). Look at their rendition of Queen’s famous Bohemian Rhapsody. They were able to charm the public and attract new clients by doing a modern representation of the song.
Music is not only a great support to advertisement, and by the association to the brand, but also it also encourages the audience to transmit those positive feelings to others.
When commercials generate interest in the public, they feel the need to transmit it to other people, inviting them to live a similar experience.
It boosts the effectiveness of an ad campaign.
It enhances the reach of the ad as well as the brand.
It increases the probability of product purchase
Getting the right fit between content and music is challenging. There are times when these two don’t mix well damaging the brand in the process.
It’s a more expensive approach.
Emotion is a powerful tool for brands, more compelling than the logical-rational part. In fact, emotional arousal is related directly to the performance of an ad campaign. If the advertising campaign manages to thrill the customer, sales can increase up to 30% (Binet, Müllensiefen, & Morrison, 2015).
However, a marketing campaign using the power of music will be incomplete if the brand doesn’t know its target audience.
The musical consumer
This doesn’t relate to people consuming music but rather the way they perceive and behave when exposed to it.
Music is a central part of people’s lives. It’s so important that while we are awake, we spend 14% of the time listening to music (Mehl y Pennebaker, 2003). Now that’s an effective way for brands to bond with their target audience.
So what does the consumer look like?
There are several scientific studies that can guide us towards an effective conceptualization of an ad campaign mixed with the musical preferences of our potential clients.
Firstly, if the brand knows the age range of its consumers, it will know what type of music they listened to (Bonneville-Roussy, Rentfrow, Xu, & Potter, 2013). The elderly tend to be interested in more sophisticated genres (e.g. classical music, opera, jazz). And as individuals get older, their interest in certain musical styles (e.g. heavy metal, punk) decreases significantly.
Secondly, brands can take advantage of the music period relevant to their customers based on when they were forming their identities. People tend to strengthen their musical preferences in early adulthood (Schindler & Holbrook, 2003).
So considering the decade their target audience experienced early adulthood (their early 20s), they can find out which bands they’ll most likely listen to and use those in their marketing campaigns.
What they listened to while shaping their identity will have a great impact later in life. That’s when nostalgia kicks in (or any positive emotion) and these feelings can be transferred to the brand by association.
When I mention that the preference for contemporary music decays with older age, I mean that the decline refers to the current variant of a particular genre that we used to listen to in our youth.
It doesn’t mean that the person dislikes pop style, for instance, it’s just that he/she is less inclined to listen to what is currently shown as pop compared to the pop from their youth.
The challenge is to create or use musical pieces that are adjusted to the brand’s target audience.
The brand can try to persuade their customer by appealing to their rational mind, using jingles for instance, or try to connect on an emotional level with them. Both ways can be effective if used for specific goals in mind.
Sound can act as a bridge between the musical consumer and the brand. By understanding how the customer interacts with music due to their age, identity, and personality traits, brands are able to connect more profoundly with their audience.
We have a powerful tool at our disposal and the way we use sound and music to connect with our audience will define if what we create are emotional bridges with our customers or just a nonsense pile of blocks no one can relate to.
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