5 Tips for Incorporating Music Into Your Brand

Does your brand have a sound?

It's a question more businesses are asking themselves—and answering—by adding music to their aesthetic and giving their brand a game-changing dimension.

According to Forbes.com, "music helps brands form an emotional connection with their target audience in a unique way, affecting a wider audience than most other forms of artistic expression."

Brands that understand and appreciate this connection have a leg up on competitors who don't. Here's a step-by-step guide to doing it right.

Step One: Observe with Your Ears

The next time you're out shopping, dining, or simply walking the mall to get your steps in, listen closely to the venues you're in.

Is music a part of the experience? If so, what type of music or genre is it? Does it add to the experience and make you feel good? Or is it off-putting to the point it makes you want to leave?

When adding music to your brand aesthetic, you'll want to consider these questions. Moreover, take note of the use of music in brand advertising. It's hard to imagine a Target ad without the energetic pop rhythms and sounds that have made the brand a national retail powerhouse. Or the iconic musical jingle of a firm like Roto-Rooter.

Step Two: Set Some Parameters

Once you've observed and listened, it’s time to define what you want music to achieve as part of your brand. It helps to think in terms of questions, such as:

What emotions do I want my customers to feel when they 'hear' my brand?

Whether you're looking to relax, energize or make customers happy, defining the emotional impact of your music is vital.

What customers do I want to appeal to most with music?

Of course, you'll want to align your music with your target market, but it can be a 'chicken or egg' proposition. Should your brand define the sound, or should your customers? In a perfect scenario, the answer is both brand and customer aligning musically.

Step Three: Consider the Bandwidth

Once you understand how music fits into your brand and customer mix, it's time to consider scope. There are so many areas where music and its closely related cousin, sound design, can enhance your brand experience.

Your job is to consider as many of them as possible. Externally, you'll want to consider the use of music in your venue, your ads, your website—even your on-hold environment when customers call in.

Internally, consider how music might impact your employees or whether you want to incorporate it in places customers won't hear but can still have an impact. Warehouses, kitchens, and other hands-off areas for customers can benefit from the right audio component that motivates employees. When branding includes music and is done right, these will naturally sync up.

Step Four: Consider the Sources

At this point, you may be on board with adding music to your brand aesthetic but asking yourself, "where do I start?" Fortunately, you're running a business at a time when resources are more plentiful and accessible than ever.

But first, we'll answer a question that may have crossed your mind: No, you can't just play your personal Pandora or Spotify playlist in your place of business. As explained by Axis Legal Counsel, doing so 'can be considered a public performance,’ making you ‘liable for copyright infringement.

The good news is Pandora, Spotify and a host of other sources provide solutions for businesses that allow you to stream from extensive music libraries without breaking the law. This blog on Homebase outlines a multitude of options, along with license purchase fees. Most run in the $25 per month range, making it affordable to most enterprise businesses.

Stop Five: Pull it all Together

Once you've done some homework, defined the sound of your brand, considered how deeply you want to incorporate it, and landed on a resource, your next role is to keep everything in line like a good conductor would.

So, in a perfect world, if you ran a chain of convenience stores, someone listening to your radio advertising would hear the same kind of music in your ad as they would at your place of business. Moreover, if they called and did not get through, the on-hold music would align with everything else.

And when everything synchs up perfectly, this can be music to your ears, your bottom line, and most importantly, your brand.