Most people who know me have heard me rant about my passion for music. I love its unique ability to connect with listeners and elicit an emotional response. Whether it’s getting me pumped for a night on the town, helping me relax after a long day at work or just on in the background, music adds something special. And you know what — I don’t think I’m alone in that thought.
Two-thirds of Americans own an audio-consumption device such as a smartphone, according to Pew Research Center, and there are 2.6 billion smartphone subscriptions globally, according to this TechCrunch report on Ericsson data. This culture of mobile technology has fostered the development of more devices, including tablets, the AppleWatch and Apple CarPlay, and various music platforms such as streaming and user-generated music services — all of which have made music more accessible than ever before. And the effects are clear: Americans consume more than four hours of audio per day, Edison Research found.
With those numbers, I will be so bold as to say that music could be in the content world what chocolate is in the food world — available everywhere and well-loved. People’s constant consumption of it has caused it to shoot to the top of the popularity ranks. As content marketers, shouldn’t we be leveraging this popularity? I mean, music is a universally loved form of content; imagine the audience reach if it were part of your marketing strategy. Here are a few ideas on how to do just that.
Create a soundtrack for your brand
You know how, when you hear a particular song, it can instantly put you in a particular mood or make you think of something or someone? U2’s “With or Without You” can make me feel wistful and somewhat sad… but I cheer right up when Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” starts playing. Well, imagine if music did the same for your brand — if it could make audiences feel a certain way about your company and ultimately, helped shape your brand personality.
Whether it’s adding background music to your other content (podcasts, interviews and ads) or including music in the use of your product or service, music enhances the brand experience. Virgin Airlines has a soundtrack of calming music, played during the boarding process, which assists in attaching a sense of relaxation to the Virgin experience. Despite its fine dining and fancy wine, the upscale NYC restaurant Charlie Bird plays ’90s hip-hop to dissipate pretentiousness and create a funky and unique brand personality. Drinking aged wine while listening to Tupac? Brilliant.
Whatever mood you want to emanate, music will do the trick. Not sure where to start? Explore the YouTube Audio Library, a free gallery of audio selections in which you can search tunes by genre, instrument and even mood.
You could also hire someone to create original music for you. Check out Marmoset — this Portland, Oregon-based agency connects brands with independent artists creating original music.
Build a brand-name playlist on Spotify
Dubbed “arguably the most well-known streaming service” by CNET, Spotify boasts cool curation and social sharing features, exclusives from top artists and around 100 million users, according to Digital Music News. It’s time your brand started taking advantage of it.
The playlist targeting feature enables brands to track listeners across devices and target their audiences based on demographics, what they’re listening to, and when and how they consume music — giving brands a unique way to interact with customers.
Nike is one of many brands that uses this feature to increase audience engagement. The Nike Running Tempo Mix is a Spotify-exclusive playlist with tracks from artists like Zhu, Empire of the Sun and Santigold — perfect to keep you going on your morning run.
Similarly, The Reebok Fit List provides user-voted playlists for activities including running, yoga and dancing. To add to this, Reebok had their sponsored athletes create playlists of their favorite workout music. Check out Eli Manning’s Conditioning Exercises FitList. Is there anything cooler than working out to the same music that your favorite athlete works out to? Probably not.
Use Spotify in similar ways to maximize your audience’s brand experience. You could even integrate user-generated content, like Starbucks does. The partnership between Spotify and Starbucks allows the cafe’s members exclusive access to Starbucks music on Spotify and gives them the opportunity to contribute personalized in-store playlists. Not only does this keep things creative, it boosts audience engagement and highlights brand loyalty.
Create a music-focused campaign
Coming up with creative and unique campaigns that will attract followers can be grueling. Let music help.
Burberry is one brand that leveraged our love of music in its marketing. The Burberry Acoustic Campaign is a series of online videos that highlight emerging British musicians. The musicians wear Burberry clothing while playing in the videos, thereby integrating the brand with the creativity and originality of the music. And the company didn’t stop there. Talking with The Guardian about the effectiveness of music in any marketing strategy, chief creative officer Christopher Bailey said he now invites musicians to perform on the catwalk, and he even has a full-time music team to come up with music-related strategies.
Whether it’s live music at company events, partnerships with musicians or contests for show tickets, a collaboration with the music industry could be the new, creative idea you’re looking for. Not only is it a step away from blatant advertising, but you can tap into new audiences and attract your target market through the musicians they listen to. Looking to create brand awareness among tween girls? Create a campaign around Justin Bieber, and they’ll probably come running.