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    The impact of music on businesses in public places #1

    Music is important for businesses in public places such as shops, restaurants and more. However, it’s not only important to play music. It’s important to play ‘the right music’, i.e. music that fits the brand or business profile, at the right volume. Then consumers will stay longer, re-visit, recommend your business to others as well as buy more from you. But music is not only of value for businesses in public places, it has a positive impact on workplaces as well; it makes workplaces more relaxed and your employees more productive.

    These are some of the results our survey reveals, conducted on 1000 Swedes between the ages of 16-64. The respondents in the survey have been asked questions about the impact of music on their everyday lives, public places and at work (public places is used as a generic term for businesses such as shops, shopping malls, supermarkets, restaurants, hotels, transportation services, sports stadiums, gym and workplaces).

    The results from the survey are published in a report in Swedish, Myten om musik besannad: En undersökning om musikens betydelse för verksamheter i offentlig miljö (Uncovering a musical myth: A survey on music’s impact in public spaces). Below are some of the results.

    The importance of music for people in their everyday lives

    As regards the importance of music to people, music is ranked as more difficult to live without in everyday life than sports, movies and newspapers. Music also beats TV, radio, arts and literature. Only Internet and mobile phones are ranked higher.


    More than 6 out of 10 say that music is important or very important to them in their lives. As for 16-24 year olds, that figure rises to 74%.


    The impact music has on businesses in public places

    As regards businesses, the survey reveals that ‘the right music’ makes almost 4 out of 10 stay longer in a business in a public place. That figure rises to 50% when it comes to 16-24 year olds. Further, 31% of all people return to a business in a public place which plays music that is appreciated by the visitor, or consumer. 21% recommend the business to others and 14% also say they buy more.

    What music is it that is appreciated then? Which music is ‘right’, from the consumers’ point of view?

    First and foremost, the music that is played in a shop or a restaurant for example, has to have the right volume. Secondly, it has to match the business’ profile, or brand. It is less important that the music corresponds to the consumers’ personal taste or that it hits the radio charts and they recognise it.

    It’s important or very important that the music played in a shop or at a restaurant…


    The survey further reveals that ‘the wrong music’, as in noisy or irritating, makes 44% of consumers and visitors leave a business and 38% wont come back. Almost 4 out of 10 also say that ‘the wrong music’ makes them buy less.

    The impact music has on employees and workplaces

    As regards music in workplaces, more than 6 out of 10 people and as many as 8 out of 10 16-24 year olds listen to music everyday, or at least once a week when they’re at work.

    66% of those who listen to music everyday, or at least once a week, think that music affects them in a positive or very positive way at work. Almost 50% of the 16-24 years olds say they love to listen to music at work, and just as many say that music makes them more productive while they’re working. Further, 43% of all people say that music makes the work environment more relaxed. As regards 16-24 year olds, that figure rises to 56%.


    You find more results here.

    Download full report

    (Note: the full report is in Swedish)


    10 Most Read Articles on Sounds Like Branding in 2010


    We welcome 2011 by giving you the ten most read articles published here in 2010. Enjoy reading!

    1. The Manual - How to build a successful strategy to interest brands

    2. Heartbeats in conversation with Gerd Leonhard

    3. How to use social media in the music industry

    4. Marketing with a higher purpose

    5. How to turn a customer into a fan

    6. The Sounds like Branding beta version is yours for a tweet

    7. Lady Gaga - living proof of music branding

    8. A new marketing mix for the 21st century: 4Es (with audio)

    9. Heartbeats Trend Report : New York

    10. The philosophy of the four Es – why brands need to embrace this model in their marketing


    Exclusivity – Being truly unique (4Es)

    A Nielsen study suggests that the majority of customers only recall two of the countless advertising messages we are exposed to daily. No wonder. By the age of 65, the average consumer will have seen more than 2 Million TV commercials (that equals eight hours advertising a day, seven days a week, six years in a row). Thus, an authentic and consistent brand identity is crucial for brands striving to stand out and reach through the media clutter.


    To differentiate from competitors, brands need to create and care for their identities, also referred to as brand personalities. However, a brand can’t just tell their audience what it is and stands for, and make that the common truth. A brand personality is the outcome of what customers experience from the brand. Just as with human personalities, brand personalities are affected by everything that is associated with the brand. This makes it more important than ever for a brand to act the way it wants to be perceived. Only an authentic and consistent brand personality will make a sustainable point of differentiation, and stand out as genuine and unique, being the natural brand of choice. It’s about ‘owning’ an exclusive position in the consciousness of the customers.

    Above you find one of McDonald’s many ‘i’m lovin’ it‘ commercials. The campaign was launched in Germany in 2003, under the title ‘ich liebe es‘, then spread globally. A consistent use of the slogan, the golden arches, as well as a uniform interior and menu, has successfully made many instinctively think of McDonald’s as the preferable hamburger brand.

    In previous posts you can read about the philosophy of the four Es, emotions, experiences and engagement. In the posts to follow, we will provide you with case studies of brands working successfully with the four Es, as well as a rundown of the marketing model.


    #4 EXCLUSIVITY (4Es of music branding)

    When in Tokyo I recommend a visit to a ‘Pachinko hall’. It’s a type of game hall with vending machines and a games called ‘Pachinko’. The sound wave when entering is shocking - your senses are literally bombarded by flashing lights, spinning wheels and hysteric techno music. What fascinates me is that the people don’t pay any attention to all the noise and flashing lights anymore but just sit quietly playing their game. They have become numb and have learnt how to screen out all the messages and focus on their interest.

    The Pachinko halls work as a metaphor for today’s market place. More and more brands compete for our attention but we pay less attention to them. Statistics show that more than 20 000 new brands are launched every year but only a few survive the two first years. Research tells us that we are confronted with more than 2500 advertising messages on a daily basis, but only remember around 8% of them. An ANC Nielsen study shows that we only remember in an average of two of the advertisements we’ve seen in a day.

    In a reality that increasingly resembles Tokyo, the need to differentiate your brand and take a unique and exclusive position in the mind of your audience is more important then ever. Sound and music here play a great role especially as a tool to create consistency in how the brand sounds on the different platforms of contact with the customer. A sonic identity can be created (an audio version of the graphic identity) that defines how the brand sounds and this is then activated as a sound logotype, in-store music program, presentations and hold music. In this way you can hold the customers’ attention also when they are not looking your way and create a more unique brand experience and exclusivity.

    There is of course a reason why Coca-cola has worked with sonic branding for more than 20 years, and everyone recognises McDonalds ‘Da da da da dah, I’m loving it‘. Research from Dr Adrian North of Leicester University shows that it’s working; brands with music in their brand identity are 96% more likely to be recalled then those without (or non-fitting music).


    Food for thought

    china_skyscraperBeing a great fan of both food and music I found this piece from the University of Gastronimic sciences quite interesting. I am pretty sensitive to when the two do not correlate. I don’t know how many times I have had to tell the waiter to change the selection of music. In my world, the level of understanding of music as a way to enhance the eating experience is greatly underestimated. Of course there are exceptions: I can’t wait to get back to Tokyo to once again to experience dining at the China Blue on the 28th floor of the Conrad Hotel. A beatiful experience for all senses where the Philip Glass inspired music selection greatly enhances the magic of the experience.

    Read the full article here.