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How to integrate music into branding

How to integrate music into branding

By Ruth Simmons, MD of Soundlounge

When David Cameron strode onto the stage in October last year to the thunderous rock chords of The Killers single “ All These Things I have Done”, The Tory party marketing team clearly demonstrated their skills as a great marketers for without him having to utter a single word.

They confirmed their sophisticated understanding how music can act as a catalyst for expressing complex social issues in a contemporary voice. Within a few seconds, Cameron shifted expectations and set the stage to tell the world that this was a party that had new values.

But great branding is not just one great moment. It is a series of experiences that gives the consumer a consistent sense of identity; a way to express how they feel about themselves and a brand and in order for it to be really effective it has to be more than a one off performance or a even a series of disparate tactical music executions.

In a highly competitive market, any edge that brands can take to make the difference is critical. Music can do this. It is a powerful medium that can bring the emotional qualities and help activate the brand promise.

However, because access to music is now greater than ever, the real power of music and how to use it to achieve greater success is often undervalued and relegated to simply taking a creative support role.

To harness its full potential in marketing we need to take the time to understand all aspects of the "sound of a brand" and how the whole language of music, can be used to communicate with a specific audience in an unmistakable voice across all specified demographics.

soundlounge, a London-based music consultancy, has identified that the ‘sound of a brand’ is more than eight octaves or some catchy melodic identity. It is also not just about genre, words, artist profiles, or the media carrier.

It is about relating brand core values, activity, business practices and the way that people behave in communicating these to music and its usages. They say that means exploring and evaluating the full range of different music options, to ensure that music solutions are consistent and congruent with the brand values.

The first stage in this process is to really get to grips with Brand’s Music Identity to really understand of all the critical components that contribute to what the brand needs the customer to hear.

By looking at music much earlier in the process brands can assess existing collateral and music equity and protect any music equity that exists in order to build future music IP.

When everyone understands this in terms of music, the impact will be:

 - Consistent, insightful briefing at all levels and for every project

 - Consistent, insightful briefing at all levels and for every project

 - Improved practices in the way that brands select and integrate music into a campaign

 - Music that is synergistic with the brand values and consistently engages the target market in the desired way

 - And the capability to use music in more powerful inspirational ways that have an impact on bottom line ROI

Five years ago M&S were considered a high street institution. Three years ago M&S was suffering from brand image with profits falling to an almost catastrophic level and just two years ago, M&S a set out to completely captivate a new audience and re-inspire existing customers through TV advertising which was a new marketing medium for the brand.

The creative teams at RKCR/Y&R were adamant that music was to be part of the overall M&S strategy.

Over the last 18 months, soundlounge have with the agency on understanding the sound of M&S to the point where they can simply look down a list of tracks and know almost immediately what will work and what will not get off the blocks.
The M&S style of advertising is now unique and judging from the change in direction of its competitors, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

The M&S story is quite a success. From a standing start in TV advertising, according to Campaign “M&S have the self assurance of a company confident about its offering and the communication of it”.

In November 2006 M&S won IPA Effectiveness Grand Prix award and in Dec 2006, M&S announce highest first half profit figures for almost half a decade. Steven Sharpe Marketing Chief of M&S is obviously delighted “M&S advertising is finally coming of age.”

Over the last 18 months, soundlounge has worked with the agency on understanding the sound of M&S to the point where they can simply look down a list of tracks and know almost immediately what will work and what will not get off the blocks.

The M&S style of advertising is now unique and judging from the change in direction of its competitors, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

© Ruth Simmons

AJR
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