Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pump Up The Volume

We all have a soundtrack to our lives: the music that was thumping the night you had your first kiss; the football song you sing to cheer your team on; the nursery rhymes you teach to your children; that karaoke number that you feel you can really knock people’s socks off with; the track you always put on when you want to relax. Your favorite radio station. Your iPod playlists. Your new devotion to Spotify. The special song you have with your partner, and on it goes.

Music is such an integral part of our lives, so entwined with who we are, and who we want to be, that a new study on branding in music from Jakob Lusensky and his team at Heartbeats International shocked me. Check out this statistic: 97% of brand managers surveyed think that music can strengthen their brand. But 7 out of 10 spend 5% or less of their marketing budget on music. Can there have ever been another time in history where music moved people less to action than this example?

You’d have to ask Brand Managers why exactly they don’t invest in music. Luckily, Heartbeats did. The responses were short-sighted and “no-can-do” in nature. 38% of respondees say that it’s too hard to measure return on investment. And thereby lies the problem. In asking the wrong question you automatically arrive at the wrong answer. In the new Participation Economy, the only measurement they need is return on involvement. Measure the right ROI and the sound of branding will instantly improve.

Branding with music can be pervasive and persuasive without being oppressive. If hearing is the second most used sense in brand communication today – then radio advertising, in-store, website, TV and even telephone hold music needs a real boost. There are some good examples out there – T-Mobile’s audio logotype is instantly recognizable, and Starbucks have jumped in with both feet with their own record label, and some clever deals. But when Heartbeats report a study that says “brands with music fitting their brand identity are 96 percent more likely to be recalled than those with non-fitting music or no music at all”, then you know there’s a crisis in courage in brandmanagerland. We need talk to the consumer in our universal language, music.

Brand managers, get a great DJ and turn it up to 11!