Not long ago I read a quote attributed to pop singer Adele in which she says “I don’t make music for eyes. I make music for ears.”
Coming from an artist that makes perfect sense of course.
However, in our world of marketing and advertising — especially in today’s highly visual world where Pinterest, Instagram and other image-based platforms are becoming more popular with each passing day — the need is paramount for the right music to be married to the right brand. Not to say that music in advertising was not always important. On the contrary. Last September, in a piece I wrote for Branding Magazine entitled Music to a Brand’s Ears, I made reference to a paper written by David Huron, a professor at School of Music at Ohio State University entitled “Music in Advertising: An Analytic Paradigm.”
In the paper, which was written all the way back in 1989, Huron wrote that when it comes to the use of music in advertising and branding “music can serve the overall promotional goals in one or more of several capacities.”
His words still ring true today for sure.
But, what about the role music can play in establishing, maintaining and even growing the equity of a given brand?
How Does Music Build Value For a Given Brand?
It’s a very open-ended question and one that would surely solicit a wide array of responses.
Why what do you know? Here’s some responses now.
Eric Sheinkop, President/CEO, Music Dealers and co-author of Hit Brands: How Music Builds Value for the World’s Smartest Brands
“Music brings value to a brand in three ways: identity, engagement, currency. Specifically, using music to establish an emotional connection with a brand, increases brand recognition, creates excitement and buzz beyond the brand’s core products or services, and can empower consumers, giving them valuable content to discover and share. Music creates the value that brands need to win the war for attention and develop a genuine connection with their consumers. When used correctly, music not only creates loyalty, but true advocacy.”
“Brands increasingly need to stand out in a cluttered world and music is one of the best ways to resonate with their customers. As for the role music can play – a song choice can reinforce the particular message the brand is trying to convey and demonstrate a brands’ personality.”
“Music helps brands to form an emotional connection with their target audience in a unique way, in that it affects a wider audience than most other forms of artistic expression. With so much competition for attention, advertisers can’t afford not to use every tool in their shed, especially one as emotive as music.”
As for my thoughts on how music builds value for a brand. I agree with pretty much everything already said. Music absolutely hits that emotional nerve in all of us; a nerve that connects us as Sheinkop and Sommer say. Not sure I agree with Sheinkop when he says that music, when used correctly, can create loyalty and true advocacy. I won’t get too deep into the overall topic of brand loyalty, but I will say music can play a role in that creation, if you will, but it is surely not the only contributing factor.
A Little Specificity Please
Ok, so that’s some thoughts on how music can build value for a specific brand.
But what about the role it plays in a specific TV spot and/or campaign?
White: “Music is a universal language so I think that brands and ad agencies that are able to find the right music and sound for their product will dramatically improve the results of the campaign. For instance, if the brand stands for new and cool and is able to break a new artist as part of the campaign they will benefit from the song and potentially career growth of that act. Brands that use music as part of the campaign can drive the longevity and improve perception in the marketplace way more than if no music was selected.”
Sommer: “Music is critical to the feel and tone of almost any piece of video content. Simply changing the backing track for a video can totally change the mood, and sometimes even the implied meaning of the content. Be careful about the ‘right’ piece of music, though. Just because the editor was cutting the video to the Rolling Stones, doesn’t mean you’ll have a Rolling Stones sized music licensing budget. There are plenty of the ‘right’ song out there if you’re willing to spend the time to look.
Sheinkop: ”Music has just as much of an impact as the visual on the screen. At the most basic level, music, when heard in conjunction with a visual, is designed to pull the viewer in and help them experience the feeling of the story. Music is the emotional connection to anything visual. The right music makes the visuals more valuable and the product seemingly more meaningful. If there isn’t any music, the visuals better be hilarious or that campaign could suck. Music is what will make you look over at the TV when washing dishes after dinner. Music makes people talk about campaigns and share them with their networks.
For example, one of the most emotional campaigns on TV recently is the P&G Moms Olympic spots (example below). Watch those spots without music and see if you even know what’s going on. Without music, a brilliant campaign can go unnoticed. With music, a subpar creative production can go viral.”
My take? Well, the guys above are again, right on the money. There’s no question that the right music paired with the right brand in the right spot/campaign can increase the success of it exponentially. Music is that missing piece when it comes to advertising if you think about it.
A print ad, at least most print ads, cannot include music so they rely on the words and the images to tell the story. Same with outdoor and so on. Radio advertising obviously relies heavily on music along with copy.
But TV and video? Music becomes that missing link; that third piece to the puzzle. The piece that ties it all together.
Assuming of course the right music is paired with the right brand in the right spot/campaign.
Music & Advertising – What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
One final question I posed to Sheinkop, Sommer and White was “Are there negative consequences to not having the right music/artist paired with the right product?”
I liked all the replies I received to this query but one part of the reply I got from Sheinkop encapsulated perfectly my own take on this topic.
“A classic example of a common mistake brands make in their use of music is thinking like fans first. Specifically, not pairing the right artist with the right product but instead using their personal favorite well-known, popular personality instead of an artist loved by their consumers and who represents the brands personality and values.”
One word: Amen.
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