What Your Music Says About Your Venue. A Quick Guide to Audio Branding

What Your Music Says About Your Venue. A Quick Guide to Audio Branding

Branding is the process of creating a company's identity and image in the minds of its customers. It can include visual design elements such as in-store décor and website design, auditory elements, and messaging.

In this article, we will narrow this process down to the field of audio branding and how you can incorporate it into your business strategically. We'll show you how larger companies elevate their brand in the eyes and ears of their customers, and we'll introduce you to archetypal branding so you can make in-store music choices more easily.

Read on to learn how to adjust your soundscape to leave a positive lasting impression on your customers.

What Is Audio Branding?

Audio branding (also known as sonic branding or audio marketing) refers to how a business expresses itself through sound. It goes hand in hand with visual branding by adding another dimension to the way you present your company to the world.

Common types of audio branding include jingles, audio logos, theme songs, podcasts, background music for businesses, and more.

Audio Branding Vs. Sonic Branding

Although it’s often used interchangeably, the theory behind audio branding currently makes a slight distinction between the two notions. Sound is everything you hear around you — acoustic waves propagated through a gas, liquid, or solid medium — while audio is a representation of sound, either analog or digital.

For example, on the one hand, we could categorise packaging sounds as sonic branding (think about opening a can of coke or the crinkling of a bag of chips); these sounds are often set to produce a specific perception in consumers. ASMR, which has recently risen in popularity, could be another example of sonic branding. On the other hand, composing a tune for a specific product or broadcasting background music for businesses through a music subscription service would fall under audio branding.

Essentially, audio branding is a more processed method of marketing.

What Is Audio Branding For? Top Three Benefits

The connection between branding and music becomes apparent when we hear certain jingles from our youth. They can take us back to our previous experience with a product and evoke certain emotions.

For example:

  • 20th Century Fox’s snare drum intro can make you remember a movie night with your family;
  • The “Ba Da Ba Ba Bah, I'm Lovin' It!” jingle is instantly associated with no other brand than McDonald’s;
  • The Windows error sound — yes, that’s also classified as audio branding — might amuse you now even though it seemed like a nightmare when the computer screen froze.

Without further ado, here are the key benefits of incorporating music into your marketing strategy:

  1. Music Increases Brand Memorability

    A catchy jingle sticks with you for a long time, and so does well-chosen background music. For businesses, it’s a way to influence and strengthen consumer perceptions, promote a positive image, and inspire loyalty.

    Starbucks, for example, shares its playlists with its customers, with titles like: “80s party”, “Yacht rock”, and “Starbucks coffeehouse pop”. During the pandemic, people often searched for Starbucks’ playlists on Spotify to recreate the venue’s cosy atmosphere in their own homes.

    Tip: You can engage with your customers too via Storeplay Connect. Enhance customers’ experience by allowing them to vote for their favourite in-store music and add it to their Spotify playlists.

  2. Choosing the Right Music for Brands Builds Trust

    According to a recent study conducted by PHMG in Australia, most Generation Z and Millennial consumers determine a brand’s reliability and professionalism through its music, particularly if it’s customised and well thought out.

  3. Reach More Customers with Audio Branding

    A soundbite can be more powerful than a visual message. It takes some effort to notice a visual sign — such as stepping in front of a digital display at the mall to read about an offer. In contrast, sound can reach our minds even when we’re not paying attention.

    Furthermore, according to a Nielsen report done for Spotify in 2017, audio ads are 24% more memorable and motivating than display ads. They are also twice as likely to increase purchase intent.

    This is not to say that displays are inefficient; after all, we are visual beings, with 30% of our cortex neurons dedicated to vision. However, it’s best to combine audiovisual elements to increase the effectiveness of your advertisements.

Tips to Amplify Your Brand with the Right In-store Music

If you're wondering how to use audio branding to better connect with your customers and reflect your company's story and values, here are a few key points to consider:

  1. Be Intentional

    Every brand communicates with its customers through sound. When you ignore audio branding, you not only miss out on a hidden marketing gem, but you can do more harm with poorly chosen music that doesn't align with your company's purpose and audience, or by infringing copyright norms.

    Make sure to always play on-brand background music legally. StorePlay is ready to help you with carefully curated music that you can broadcast through our music subscription service.

  2. Choose Music that Evokes Feelings

    Nowadays, we have the terrific opportunity to employ Artificial Intelligence software to determine the best moods and songs for a specific audience group. But we must also remember to “feel” the music. Above all, music is a representation of our soul and feelings, and it is ultimately up to you to determine how on-brand a certain melody is.

    Many years ago, Siemens tried to come up with an audio logo based on the Fibonacci sequence. Their audio branding company at the time (Heye & Partner, who also created McDonald’s most famous jingle) completed the task, but eventually dropped the idea because the tune “had no soul”. It turns out that relying solely on computers is not a foolproof strategy in audio branding.

    “The more you think you can calculate what moves people, the more you lose the emotion." (Heye & Partner)

  3. Know Thyself — Learn About Your Brand Archetype

    “Know thyself” is a philosophical quest that not only every individual should undertake, but brands should, too. In order to find your niche and connect to the right customers, you must craft your messaging around your core values — your ‘Why’.

    A good way to understand the essence of your brand is by identifying which brand archetype you relate to the most.

    Archetypal branding is a marketing tool inspired by the set of personality archetypes in Jungian psychology. It is meant to align a company’s personality to a specific consumer persona in order to deliver authentic and engaging marketing campaigns.

    Are you a Hero brand like Nike, inspiring your audience to realise their full potential? Or a nurturing and generous Caregiver like Johnson&Johnson? There are twelve different personality types, each with distinct characteristics that can inspire your business path.

    Now you may wonder, what is the link between archetype branding and music?

    Music, as we all know, has the ability to uplift, comfort, inspire, and challenge. You can tell your organisation's story and attract like-minded people to your products and services by selecting the best background music for your venue:

    • Thought-provoking lyrics can encourage Sage customers to attend your personal development workshops;
    • Easy-listening, uplifting music attracts Creators to your sustainable fashion shop;
    • Alternative music draws problem-solving Rebels to your tech startup, ready to create positive change.

What Does Your Brand Sound Like?

With this quick guide on audio branding on hand, you will know what to do next in crafting a multisensorial marketing strategy that reflects your personality and the interests of your customers.

If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out our music channels (you will find a section on archetype music too). Whenever you’re ready, get in touch with us to learn more about our music subscription service and how to create a memorable sound for your brand.