Category News & Work

Sound…Are You Thinking About It Enough?


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Radio Center investigates the power of sound.

On Thursday 5th November, a couple of the account management team here at Chalk & Ward headed up to Bristol to attend the RadioWorks open day.

Greeted with tea, coffee and croissants (which went down a treat!) at the Arnolfini centre in Bristol, the event consisted of 3 speakers (with an extra appearance from Downsy at Sam FM) who each presented on various topics, ranging from Spotify to the RadioCentre.

The first speaker up was David from Spotify. He went into detail on how different audiences engage with their platform and how Spotify is predominantly a mobile company as two thirds of users’ stream from mobile.

Spotify investigates the power of sound

Spotify have created different tools to help advertisers reach their audiences which are being missed through radio. These tools use a variety of different data including age and gender, genre of music, platform and location. They have even got more targeted in terms of when the user is listening. For example one of the newest tools targets the audience via their playlist name. Some of the top names were: workout, commute, party and study playlist. A surprising amount of people also call their playlist ‘music’!

It isn’t just the advertising tools that Spotify have enhanced, it’s also the way that an audience member users Spotify. For example, there are many keen runners out there so Spotify has created an app which detects the tempo of their heart beat and adjusts a particular track (produced by no other than Tiesto!) to the rate. If you then slow down or speed up it will adjust to that speed and keep you motivated for longer. Pretty cool ‘ey?

Up next was Sam Crowther from Bauer Media. He delivered a speech on the power of sound which was exceptional. He didn’t use any slides or props for his presentation just different sounds and his own voice.

He demonstrated that the closest sense to memory, after smell, is sound. He explained how the frequency of sound is meant to match as closely as possible to our heartbeats. For example if you breathe together, as they do in choirs, then your heartbeats will synchronise meaning your singing will synchronise – who knew?

Music in branding when influencing audiences

Sam went on to explain about the psychology of influence explaining that there are 6 universal weapons of influence and each of these plays a key part in branding.

  1. Liking– people are more likely to say yes to things they know and like.
  2. Authority – as demonstrated in the Milligram experiment (a series of social psychologyexperiments) we are more likely to do something if a voice in authority is telling us to do it. That’s because these people generally have a different tone of voice and will speak slower to the audience.
  3. Commitment and Consistency – an audience likes to have that familiarity with a brand.
  4. Emotion – A good example of this is hunger and our favourite M&S ads do this very well. By describing the food to the audience they instantly tap in to their appetite rather than rational thinking and go and purchase the ‘Dine in for two’ offer!
  5. Scarce resource – an audience values things more if they think that there aren’t many left. Many companies do this to entice audiences in, when little do they know, the retailer will probably have another sale with the same items a month later!
  6. Story telling – an audience will always react better to a true story. A customer review is often more powerful than how the brand sells the product. Brands are all about what people say about them, as this is stronger than what they say about themselves.

All of this links in to psychology conditioning and how we make decisions based on emotional memory which is what the music in certain brands trigger. This isn’t something that we consciously think about and isn’t something that we even realise we are doing! It is all done sub-consciously. A great example of this is GO-COMPARE. Yes, I know we all consciously dislike the opera singer but while our mind is telling us how annoying he is, our sub-conscious remembers what the brand was and where to search.

And have you ever considered how car brands tap into their audience’s sub-conscious? They know exactly who their audience is and what they want. For example, a Renault Clio is often driven by fairly young women so Renault will play catchy, popular music on their ads to tap in to the sub-conscious mind of that audience member. The audience for a Saloon car however would be very different. For this type of ad the brand knows that its audience is predominately male, high class and in a level of power and will therefore play orchestral music to the audience to demonstrate all the different elements that go together to make the sound and the power of the drive. Now that we have mentioned this you won’t be able to stop noticing it.

The last speaker of the day was Donna from the RadioCentre. She spoke about the different experiments that they have been carrying out and how music should be a strategic move at the beginning of a marketing plan as opposed to a secondary thought at the end.

To demonstrate how effective music can be in aiding decision making, she told us about an experiment that had been conducted in a supermarket with French and German wine. For one week, the supermarket played out French music in the wine aisle and offered both French and German wines for the same price. The following week they swapped this by plying German music. During the first week, the French wine outsold the German wine 5 bottles to 1. The second week, the German bottles outsold the French wine. When asked at the till if the music has influenced their choice of purchase, only one person had consciously noticed the music!

Brand identity with music

Music is a powerful tool and is not something all brands are realising!

The next time you’re thinking of a campaign, the music and sounds that you want to use should be at the top of the agenda.

For help on any campaigns you have coming up, speak to our experts here at Chalk & Ward Advertising.