The integrated sound strategy

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A strategic approach to music seems far fetched to most people. It is, however, the only way to make sure any musical outing you implement has the desired effect. On its own and within the bigger picture of your brand and your goals. I have covered the instore music strategy in a previous article, now it is time to up the ante and take a look at the integrated sound strategy.

So what do we mean when we speak of an ingtegrated strategy? It is basically a single plan that covers all your individual musical and auditive outings. Any given enterprise might have several; instore music, music in advertising, instore commercials, a sound logo, a brand tune, a voice response system, product sound and so forth. Some of it might be intentional, such as instore music and some of it might be unintentional, such as parts of product sound.

So why should you have an integrated sound strategy at the heart of all this?

First of all you want to ensure that all your outings are pointed in the same direction. If you wish to convey a certain image, it definitely helps to communicate that image consistently. Repetition and congruency are the magic words to really build a solid perception of your brand with your target audience.

People often make a mistake here in thinking that this means you should play the same music and sounds across your outings. For instance that the soundtrack of your tv ad campaign should also be played in your shops. This is a misconception and here is why:

The brand identity you communicate with your musical or auditive outing is only one half of the matter. There is also the functional context of the specific outing that is of great importance. Why did you add music in the first place? What is its function? In advertising, for instance, your goal might be to draw as much attention as you possibly can, to excite viewers and to trigger them to visit your shops. The music in your shops might be intended to help visitors relax and feel at home so they will take their time, maximizing sales per customer. The functional context is radically different.

These two goals lay so far apart that they require totally different musical solutions. So you cannot just use the same music or you will greatly reduce the intended positive effects of one (or multiple) of your outings.

So the holy grail here is to find music that is supportive of the specific goals you have set for your individual outings, yet with enough common ground to have a congruent and consistent overall sound image. Nobody said it was easy!

Feel free to contact me for help

Thomas van Straaten
Instore media consultant

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