How can music earn you the loyalty of a customer, make them feel connected with your brand, and like they belong in your stores?
Retailers have known that in-store music affects shopper behaviour since the 1960’s, when some of the first studies into “shopping atmospheres” and the impact of sensory cues on customers were published. But our understanding of the real impact of in-store music continues to evolve to this day.
Shoppers can be affected (positively or negatively) by the tempo, volume, genre and tone of the music played in stores; setting the right mood with customers, encouraging them to linger for longer in store etc.
But retailers are increasingly finding that their music selections are perceived as a strong statement of branding, rather than just something pleasant playing in the background.
Survey data shows that millennial audiences are less likely to perceive music played in a commercial setting as artist “sell outs” and they’re more likely to see music as a deliberate identity choice made by a brand (or by that brand’s customers).
Giving brands a voice
The KVH Studios music team have designed, built and developed the musical identity and perfect sound for hundreds of brands over the years. So, who better to ask about how to create the sound of a brand than our experts, Head of Music, Nick Bewes, and Music Profiler, Matt Moore…
How do you know what a brand should sound like?
There are quite a lot of factors that we take into consideration when putting together a music policy for a client, the key ones being:
- Core Values/brand strategy – What does the clients brand stand for? Are they built on rich heritage? Or are they spearheading a cutting-edge new proposition in their marketplace? This greatly impacts on how we would approach the musical identity.
- Target Audience – Who do they primarily want to talk to? How are they currently talking to them? When are they most likely to be in store? We would always strive for the core listeners, both customer and colleagues, without alienating people who fall outside of this demographic. It’s a fine balance!
What’s the process for building a bespoke audio atmosphere for their stores?
We work with our clients to understand all of their brand and listener information as outlined above and then we can set about using our years of music and audio expertise in order to translate this into an effective audio service for that brand. The beauty of us working the way we do is that we approach every service differently and tailor it to the client’s specific needs. No two services are built in the same way and everything is from scratch.
Is music really that important? Can’t shops just play what’s popular? Or play a radio station?
It really is that important! Imagine your favourite scene from your favourite film. Every single piece of music is painstakingly recorded, designed and curated to elicit the exact range of emotions from you that the director wants you to feel. That same film scene without the sound would be like trying to drive a car without wheels or an engine! It wouldn’t work very well!
The same applies to retail and commercial environments. The music and audio is an extension of the brand experience that plays on the senses as much as all of the visual communication that you encounter in-store. If we’ve done our job right, it should blend in seamlessly with the rest of the branding.
On a much more practical level, we screen all of our music to make sure that it is right for the environment. We listen to all lyrics for profanities as well as contextual references. Simply playing the radio carries no guarantees that it will be right for your listeners and your stores. You want all your listeners to have an enjoyable, comfortable and motivational experience in store which, for customers, leads to increased dwell time and more spend, and for your colleagues, an effect on their positivity, which will spill into their interactions with customers.
What’re some of your favourite examples of brands using music well?
McDonald’s changed the game in 2003 when they launched the ‘I’m Lovin’ it’ campaign with a jingle performed by none other than Justin Timberlake. This was quickly upgraded to a full 3-minute, 42 second song, performed by Timberlake and produced by the Neptunes. This was the first time we were introduced to the new McDonald’s sonic logo which is still in existence today! After the popularity of the song faded, we were so familiar with the sonic logo, that it didn’t matter whether we heard it whistled, on sleigh bells or on pan pipes! We instantly associated those 5 notes with McDonald’s. Surely that campaign was worth its weight in gold(en arches!).
If you’re interested in speaking to one of our music consultants about creating a sound for your brand, whether that’s through in-store music, podcasts or sonic logos, give us a call on 0113 233 7800.