Hearing Your Image

Like any retail business, a restaurant or grocer’s image is expressed in more ways than design and graphics. The right blend of music helps reinforce the image you have worked so hard to create.

Customized, curated music is a huge current trend that is helping retailers differentiate themselves from their competitors. Music no longer takes a background role but has become just as important as the actual merchandise itself. That is why it has to reflect the brand perfectly.

By having music designed specifically for a store, a retailer has the opportunity to connect customers to the brand and reinforce the unique vision of the business.

Tailored music has a variety of benefits. It can:

  • Connect with a Client – It turns out that music is more important than people may think. As part of a survey by Heartbeat Inter-national – a brand and communication agency specializing in music and pop culture – respondents ranked music more difficult to live without than television, newspapers and sports.

    Society has created a special relationship with music that is integrated into people’s everyday lives and ultimately affects their moods. It is important for guests to feel connected to the brand.

  • Avoid Legal Fees – Business owners probably have plenty of great music they could play in their stores, but before they do, they have to buy the rights. Now more than ever, record labels and recording artists’ agents are vigilant about enforcing licensing agreements and following up on violations. Legal fees will set you back in time and money, two assets that no business owner wants to sacrifice.
  • Give a Store an Identity – Before selecting music for their locations, business owners need to ask themselves the following questions: What is the overall style? What is my demographic? What mood do I want to set – peaceful or lively?

Music allows store and restaurant owners to convey a message about their brands.

Some Retail Examples

Tempur-Pedic recently opened up its first store in the greater Boston area and was looking for a music vibe that is “comfortable and chill” but “non-sleepy.” The brand wanted to stay away from tracks that sounded like lullabies or spa music.

Instead, the international brand chose a “worldly eclectic” music vibe with a combination of modern jazz and “Euro-lounge” music. The goal was to appeal to a broad audience ranging from young adults to seniors.

WSS, offering a vast selection of shoes for men, women and children, carefully selected songs that are brand-new and current to further help attract a young (at heart) and hip customer base. By playing a fresh mix of pop, dance, rap, R&B, rock and country songs from the likes of Katy Perry, Usher and Justin Bieber, WSS ended up with a pleasant in-store vibe.

giggle, a new parent store offering stylish must-have baby items, envisioned an in-store soundtrack that is both fun and easy and which complements the brand’s identity. Thus, giggle decided on a groovy and upbeat playlist that is more targeted at the parents than their kids. By choosing bouncy songs from swing singers like Louis Prima, giggle was able to achieve a happy and giggly in-store vibe, making it a breeze for parents to shop.

More retailers today are seeing the trend toward programmed music, and it’s helping their businesses grow. They are realizing that discerning guests are turned off by generic music that doesn’t fit, and that customized tunes are the new way to go.

How They Program

Music programmers are dedicated to each account, so retailers that need a real person to build their playlist can have it controlled from headquarters. Not every client needs installation if they already have a great sound system. Some just pay for the playlist creation and management service monthly. Clients also can control the music from a client log-in website at their store’s computer.

The programmers do not record live music sessions or mix music themselves, but they take submissions from independent artists. Most of their music is licensed from recording studios in the categories of Top 40, classic hits and country, among others. However, they receive CDs in the mail often, and some programmers are musicians themselves.

Allen Klevens is the founder of Prescriptive Music, a music sensory branding firm. The company creates carefully planned, customized “music vibe” programs that help retailers differentiate themselves, elevate the customer experience and ultimately drive sales. For more information, visit www.prescriptivemusic.com.

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