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Choosing Music for your Brand

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Choosing Music for your Brand

Soundscapes and music can trigger an emotional response, so a well thought out music plan to support your brand identity can help create stronger emotional connections to your brand. Stronger emotional connections stay top of mind and you want your customers and community to keep you top of mind! When that happens, the value you offer is easily accessible when the need for your solution arises. 

In this article, you’ll work through how to decide on the soundscapes of your brand.

3 Tips to Using Music for Your Branding and Marketing Strategy 

These three tips dive into client point of view and holistic brand alignment. You’ll  explore how those factors apply to creating and choosing unique music for your brand. By going through this process you’ll have a sound music planning strategy so that customers can’t get you out of their heads. 

Tip 1: Put Yourself In The Clients’ Shoes

Sebastian, the singing crab from the movie The Little Mermaid, was on to something. Remember the scene where Ariel and the prince were floating on a boat in a lagoon? Ariel needed a kiss from her one true love to become human again. So Sebastian set the mood with—music of course! 

To get your customers to buy, you’ve got to set the mood. 

Music influences our mood for better or worse. You can support your target audience, influence their behaviors, and their perception of you with music. That is why it’s vital to get this part of your branding and marketing strategy tuned in. (See what we did there?) 

Scientific studies have shown the validity and importance of choosing appropriate music for branding to influence the behavior of your target audience. It’s no secret that background music influences how long patrons linger in your brick-and-mortar store. 

And if you’ve ever watched a webinar, you know that music changes how you feel about the presentation. If the music was upbeat and lively, you would probably give positive feedback. If the music was more like house-meets-hold music, you probably wouldn’t give more than a 3-star rating.

Tempo Shifts Shopper’s Energy

One study, from the University of Phoenix, explored music tempo and its effects on shopper responses. The researchers focused on high density retail shopping areas. What did the savvy researchers find? Contrast music to the general “vibe” of the place to keep customers happy.

For example, in a very crowded shopping mall people may become uncomfortable or stressed out. Calming music can balance that energy and keep them shopping longer.

The musical genres most aligned here would be classical, soft pop, smooth jazz, certain types of world music or folk music. The general idea can work the other way around, too. In a less crowded space you may want to keep the energy high to promote excitement, good feelings, and impulse buys versus creating a calming atmosphere which may put your guest in a sleepy or tired mood. A tired customer is probably going to head for the door to take a nap instead of finding more things to purchase after a long day of shopping. 

For many this idea is intuitive, as we’ve all been conditioned to have certain expectations in various environments. You’d never attend a gym that blasted lullabies over the PA system. Of course, if you did that might be your last time at that gym! However, in a yoga studio for example, you’d expect a more relaxed playlist of ambient music. 

Another study of theirs explored the correlation of background music volume and the effects on restaurant patron mood, which was found to influence their food choices. A study found that when customers are relaxed by low volume music, they are more likely to buy healthy foods. High-volume music, however, contributed to changes in customers’ levels of excitement, which enhanced their likelihood of purchasing unhealthy foods.

Tip 2: Be Authentic With Your Music Choices 

It’s important to consider your brand identity. Your brand’s identity is made up of all the various elements to attract your target audience. Most companies have a solid visual brand identity i.e., logo, color, design etc. and either a non-existent, unaligned, or most commonly the cookie-cutter audio identity which is not too different as having a non-existent soundscape. 

People accompany their lives with soundtracks either intentionally or unintentionally. We’ve all heard the cliche “they are playing our song” in some movie or even in real life by associates or close counterparts. This cliché confirms and perpetuates the point that music, certain songs, become so ingrained in our experience, contributing to the memories we develop, either positive or negative. 

As such, if your company uses a particular tune as part of a marketing strategy for branding, you’re in luck if that tune has either no sentimental value to anyone or positive association for many. The other group of people may have an association with a tune so dreadful it may produce a visceral repellant to your brand. You could have the best product or service in the world but if your best customers have an emotional aversion to your brand well you’re out of luck.

Music branding can promote an association with certain values, as often seen in political campaign advertising. 

Tip 3: Be Innovative 

Considering your brand identity, it’s advantageous to use unique music over stock music or overused samples. You want to create a new experience that only your brand provides. 

One big why, is simply claiming firsts. Everyone likes to be a first or only to something, the novelty and bragging rights gives people a sense of importance. Afterall, only the smartest and brightest can claim first rights, right? 

Companies who apply this idea to the music of their brand come away with unforgettable jingles that people automatically associate with your brand. 

The music of these brands is not pre-created, it’s created for you. You can do the task of creating music yourself with the help of educators on places like Masterclass or specialized interactive online courses. It helps to have someone with a background and knowledge in technical music to add that touch of expertise to your project to help elevate your brand or project. That is what you get at WorkFlora.

The theory at WorkFlora is that the best commercials and advertisements are treated like mini movies. Music is composed and orchestrated to provide that unique sound environment in which you want to invite and nurture your client. Those memorable magical musical moments that provide the foundation for a positive brand association. 

One of the most important and overlooked components of getting unique music compositions created for you is that these musical works can add revenue to your brand with intellectual property buyout agreements. 

Without boutique music created just for you, you can utilize certain royalty free music, from places like YouTube Audio Library which gives you a free license to use its music, so long as you follow its rules. The drawback to using the library however, is that you have to know the rules, and many people either don’t read the rules, misunderstand the rules or perhaps just ignore the rules. 

Sometimes, it’s just a case of too much to remember especially for independent owner operators who must make so many decisions in any given day. The ones for whom standing out in a sea of noise is imperative to one’s success. For large enterprises and small shops alike, attention to the audio signature of your brand provides that unforgettable factor. At WorkFlora we help brands of all sizes have one less thing to worry about by specializing in helping you be memorable. 

WorkFlora helps you realize your brand’s unforgettable potential with original music created to help you realize your customer journey with innovation and authenticity. 


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MARKETING

State of Content Marketing in 2023

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State of Content Marketing in 2023

I just pressed send on the manuscript for my book to be released in September. It’s called Content Marketing Strategy (snappy, eh?), and Kogan Page will publish it.

Last week, marketing professor Philip Kotler wrote the foreword. I won’t spoil it, but he mentioned the need for a strategic approach to owned media.

He writes, “(T)he company doesn’t carry an account of showing these marketing assets and their value. As a result, the company cannot show the CEO and company board members a return on owned assets or content.”

Luckily, my upcoming book shows exactly how to do that. Funny how that works out.

In any event, all this struck me that now is an opportune time to look at where the beloved practice of content marketing stands today.

First, let’s go back to 1999 when Kotler published Kotler On Marketing, one of his more than 70 books. The latter 1990s – a time of tumultuous change – fueled most of the thinking for the book. But he knew that it was merely the beginning.

Kotler concluded the book with a section called “Transformational Marketing.”  In the next decade, he wrote, “marketing will be re-engineered from A to Z. Marketing will need to rethink fundamentally the processes by which they identify, communicate, and deliver customer value.”

Well, it’s taken over two decades, but it’s finally happening.

Consumers have changed, but marketing operations are just starting to

In case you didn’t notice, almost every marketing conference these days starts with the same four or five requisite slides:

  • Digital technologies, such as search and social media, empower consumers today.
  • Consumers research, engage, buy, and stay loyal to brands in ways that have fundamentally changed.
  • First-party data and privacy are of the utmost importance.
  • Artificial intelligence begins to threaten the idea of the usefulness of search and pressure companies to deliver better and more personalized experiences.

You get it. Consumer expectations in the age of the social, mobile, and AI-driven web are different than they were.

However, the continuing challenge in 2023 is that content and/or marketing operations in enterprise companies are only beginning to evolve. Most marketing departments have remained as they were when Kotler wrote his book — they still work from mid- to late-20th century hierarchies, strategies, and processes.

Most marketing departments still work with mid- to late-20th-century hierarchies, strategies, and processes, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Content marketing isn’t new, but a content marketing strategy is

For hundreds of years, businesses have used content to affect some kind of profitable outcome. But the reality is this: Whether it was John Deere’s The Furrow from the 1800s, Michelin’s guide to car maintenance in the early 1900s, or even Hasbro’s GI-Joe partnership with Marvel in the 1980s, content was not — and is not for the most part now — a scalable, repeatable practice within the function of marketing. In short, companies almost always treat content marketing as a project, not a process.

That fundamental change will finally take hold in 2023. It could happen because of the digital disruption and ease by which you can now publish and distribute content to aggregate your own audiences. It could happen through the natural evolution that the ultimate outcome – more than the marketing – matters more.

As we roll through 2023 and beyond, content — and the exponentially increasing quantities of it produced by every organization — deeply affects not just your marketing strategy, but your business strategy. Content in marketing is now bigger than simply content marketing, and it should be dealt with as a component of that business strategy throughout the enterprise.

#Content in marketing is bigger than #ContentMarketing. Treat it as a component of the business strategy, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

In 2023, the No. 1 focus of my consulting and advisory practice these days: help companies transform content into a repeatable, scalable, and measurable function that drives value through a multi-channel strategy. It’s bigger than publishing a blog, creating a lead-generating resource center, or sending an email newsletter. Today’s content marketing team is being absorbed into marketing because marketing and its various operations are fundamentally transforming into a content-producing machine.

It is not good enough to produce content “like a media company would.” The goal must be to operate as a media company does. Your job is not to change content to fit new marketing goals. Rather, your job in 2023 is to change marketing to fit the new business content goals.

Your job in 2023 is to change #marketing to fit the new business #content goals, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

The unaware builds a case for the aware

The term “content marketing” continues to evolve. Even today, I run across those who still call it “brand publishing,” “custom content,” or “inbound marketing.”

My take matches with what Kotler described in 1999. I always thought the term “content marketing” would become part of “marketing” more broadly. In 2023, that happened. So, returning to the lexiconic debates of 2013, 2014, or 2015 doesn’t seem terribly productive. Content marketing is just good marketing, and marketing is just good content marketing.

That said, two kinds of companies do well at the broader view of content marketing. Some of them, such as Cleveland Clinic, Red Bull, Arrow Electronics, HubSpot, and REI, have purposely devised content marketing strategies as differentiating approaches to their marketing. They are succeeding.

Others, like Amazon, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, and Peloton, backed into a smart content marketing strategy. But executives at those companies probably don’t recognize it as such. If asked (and some have been), they would say acquiring or launching a media company operation was just a smart business strategy to diversify their ability to reach their consumers consistently.

They’re right, of course. Many have yet to read books about content marketing, been influenced by the Content Marketing Institute, or even recognize content marketing as a separate approach (as far as I know). And they are also succeeding.

Consider this proof: As I write this article, six companies have a market capitalization of more than $1 trillion. Four of the six wholly or partially use the business model of media creation to further marketing and business strategies. Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Amazon are all, in part, media companies that also sell products and services.

Why would you not avail yourself of that same model?

The future looks cloudy and bright

As for the overall state of enterprise content marketing, it’s in transition, as all marketing is. As a focused project-based approach, working in ad-hoc ways across a business, content marketing appears to have proven its worth. Hundreds of entries every year to the Content Marketing Awards feature myriad case studies using content marketing techniques in strategic ways to profitably affect business results.

And yet, it remains to be seen whether you can make content marketing a scalable, repeatable, measurable function within marketing.

As to what the discipline’s future holds? At last year’s Content Marketing World, one of my favorite events, the Executive Forum gathered senior leaders from brands succeeding with content marketing. As we talked about the future, one participant said: “The only certainty is change. I can’t tell you where or when, but I do know there will be change, and this is the principle we build on now.”

As for my take, Kotler’s idea of transforming the marketing function seems to have gotten lost along the digital road traveled by marketers. In so many cases, marketing – and especially content – remains just an on-demand service function within the business. Its sole job is to produce ever more voluminous amounts of content that describe the value of the brand (or its products or services) so that sales can sell more efficiently, customer support can serve more effectively, and all manner of customer interfaces are more beneficial to both sides.

However, and maybe because I need to rationalize now that my book is finished, I passionately believe it’s finally time for marketing to reclaim its ability to create value — not just reflect it in the polished shine of your traditional products and services.

Almost 27 years ago today, Microsoft founder Bill Gates wrote an essay called Content is King. In it, he said that “(C)ontent is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”

It certainly was one of his more prescient moments. Nearly three decades later, his words have proven true. The essay title has become the rallying cry for thousands and thousands of entrepreneurs who now make their living on creating, managing, optimizing, and measuring content on the internet. (A Google search for “content is king” nets more than 1.7 million results.)

But it’s the last line of his essay that I find the most visionary: “(T)hose who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products – a marketplace of content.”

That’s what content marketing is for me in 2023. It’s just marketing – optimizing the value of ideas, experiences, and products in a marketplace of content.

Time to get to work.

It’s your story. Tell it well.

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just five minutes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

Watch previous episodes or read the lightly edited transcripts.

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week. 

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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27 Best About Us and About Me Page Examples [+Templates]

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Your about page summarizes your history, values, and mission — all in one place. That’s a tall order for just a few paragraphs. If you’re feeling stuck, turn to these about-page examples for inspiration. 

about us page example: laptop held in palm of hand

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MARKETING

MarTech’s marketing operations experts to follow

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MarTech's marketing operations experts to follow

Marketing operations is what makes the magic happen. These are the folks who see that your martech stack doesn’t get stuck. They are the maestros, modelers and makers who make sure the trains run, the data is digestible and that you have the programs you need. Where would we be without them? That’s too scary to think about. Here’s our list of MOps experts who have the ear of the profession.

Darrell Alfonso

Darrell is director of marketing strategy & operations at Indeed and the former global marketing ops leader for AWS. He’s the author of “The Martech Handbook: Build a Technology Stack to Acquire and Retain Customers.” In addition to speaking at many conferences, Darrell was named one of the Top Marketers in the US by Propolis 2022 and among the “Top Martech Marketers to Follow” in 2020 by Martech Alliance. He’s a regular and popular contributor both to MarTech and the MarTech conference; you can find all of his articles at this link.


Eddie Reynolds

Eddie has been in business a long time, starting his first company when he was 14. “A pretty minimal enterprise,” he told one interviewer. “I had a tax ID number, a legal entity, and a company name. I even had the IRS coming after my dad for sales tax that I failed to report properly.” Today he is CEO and revenue operations strategy consultant of Union Square Consulting. He publishes The RevOps Weekly Newsletter and the podcast RevOps Corner. Eddie’s large LinkedIn following attests to the quality of the insights he shares there on  sales, marketing, service, and admin roles. 


Sara McNamara

Sara is an award-winning marketing and sales operations professional whose work has been recognized by awards from the likes of Salesforce (Pardot), Adobe (Marketo), Drift, and LeanData. She is a Senior Manager, Marketing Operations at Slack and a martech stack (+ strategy) solution architect. That and her passion for leveraging technology and processes to improve the experiences of marketers, sales professionals, and prospects, explains why she’s a regular guest on MOps podcasts.


Ali Schwanke

Ali is the CEO and founder of Simple Strat. The firm specializes in helping companies get the most out of HubSpot — from CRM strategy and setup to marketing automation and content creation. She is also host of HubSpot Hacks, “the #1 Unofficial YouTube show for HubSpot Tutorials” and has been a guest speaker at the MarTech conference.


Mike Rizzo

Mike’s career in marketing operations showed him that there is a real and significant MOps community. That’s why he founded MO Pros/MarketingOps.com, the fast-growing online community for people in marketing operations. He is also co-host of Ops Cast, a weekly podcast. 


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About the author

Constantine von Hoffman

Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for CBSNews.com, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.

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