Music is one of the most powerful tools we have to express a feeling or emotion. It can elicit visible reactions in people, help people bond, and can also be so personal that some are hesitant to share their connection to certain songs. It’s used to celebrate, to mourn, to entice, and to make a statement.
Which is why music can be a great, and often untapped, tool to help with your brand identity. While the selection of a song or backing track to accompany a video spot is certainly part of it, the ability to use music beyond a complementary creative asset can create moments of understanding and inspiration. So how can you use music in your brand development?
Using Music To Help Establish Tone
When developing the tone or voice of a brand, descriptive terms can lose meaning if they become too generic, resulting in it becoming more difficult to differentiate or losing the nuance that helps bring it to life. But complementing the words or phrases that make up your tone with songs, artists, or genres, can bring deeper meaning. If you were to use the word “fun” as part of the tone of a brand, different people may have different ideas of fun. Some may think fun=house party, while others may think fun=camping. But music can help bring further definition to words that can have personal interpretations.
Music And Personas
Personas, while useful, are tricky in that they tend to overgeneralize the profile of the people in target audiences. People are complex, what they are listening to may paint a better picture of who they really are. In some cases it can be a great starting point. “Listening to a Mozart concerto while reading the Sunday New York Times has been her weekly ritual for years” vs. “Throws on some Toby Keith while running his weekend errands” paints two very different pictures.
A Soundtrack To Drive Ideas
Music can also help with creative direction. Finding a piece of music that embodies the spirit of a brand and having them listen to it while (or before) working on the brand can align people on a vision – maybe even better than words alone. Maybe it’s a mashup of an old and new song. Or an anthem that feels like it makes people spring into action. You don’t have to limit it to a single song; a playlist can set a feeling or even tell a deeper story about many facets of a brand.
When we launched the Savage Burrito brand in 2020, we wanted to create the vibe around the brand that communicated boldness, high energy, confidence, and inclusiveness. Our colors, fonts, photography, and copywriting style all aligned around those traits, but we wanted to bring it to life in a tangible way as we brought the brand to market. We created a Spotify playlist that mixed songs and artists that embodied the traits of the brand with some winks to elements of the products. The result was something that got us excited internally and helped show people who were being introduced to the brand for the first time what it was about.
If you look closely enough, maybe you can find the easter egg included.
TV shows and movies have music supervisors that find the right music for the right scenes. Being a steward for a brand, think of how you may use music to add more color around your brand. Ask yourself, can your brand use a soundtrack?