Harnessing the Power of Music to Connect with Your Customers

 These days a brand has to be more valuable to the consumer beyond its product. When brands strategically use music as a business asset, customers start listening.

“It doesn’t matter how big a business is,” explains Eric Sheinkop, CEO of Music Dealers and author of Hit Brands: How Music Builds Value for the World’s Smartest Brands. “It’s not about sponsoring a tour. It’s about adding a layer in the ways you’re already communicating,” whether that communication is a commercial or a video on your website.

We sat down with Sheinkop to learn more about how organizations across industries can use music to boost consumer engagement and amplify their brand message—all while having a huge impact on independent artists around the world.

Speak the universal language

Music is the number one passion in the world, says Sheinkop. It’s a language everyone can feel. “It unites across generations, and it transcends language.” Sheinkop cites the fact that music has been proven to yield up to a 21% increase in dopamine. Tapping into this emotion is a way for brands to create a meaningful connection with its consumers.

And if you’re thinking, “We’re not in the music business. Why do we need to care about music?” stop right there.

Music is the number one passion in the world, says Sheinkop. It’s a language everyone can feel.

“Your customers care about music,” Sheinkop points out. As he sees it, it’s like Procter & Gamble saying it’s not an Internet company. Sure, it’s a consumer goods business, but its customers are on the Internet, requiring P&G to have a strong web presence. “Music is an area you can reach consumers—why not use everything in your power to add that layer?”

Make better choices

If you’re not already using music, it’s a missed opportunity. Sheinkop recommends starting by making deliberate choices. You don’t need to increase your budget or use up additional time to incorporate music into your content strategy. Instead, replace music you’re already using with real artists. This way, says Sheinkop, you’re adding an extra story while supporting independent artists.

Sheinkop’s Music Dealers has thousands of artists that have all passed through a music specialist’s ear, with the majority of songs having instrumental versions too. You can search the ready-for-licensing music library on your own or talk with experts to find music that suits your needs. You can even localize your choices to make the experience tailored to your specific area. For example, if your business is based in Kansas, you may consider drawing on bands and artists from your state.

Defining your brand

You have visual guidelines, you have brands guidelines, so why wouldn’t you have guidelines to focus and bring consistency to your music choices? As Sheinkop points out, if magenta became the hot color, you wouldn’t change your brand’s logo to magenta. In the same way, your business doesn’t need to use—and probably shouldn’t use—the song at the top of the pop charts or a song just because your CMO likes it.

Emotion is a way for brands to create a meaningful connection with its consumers.

Instead, give framework to music choices that reflect the brand personality and, ultimately, relate to your audience. “McDonald’s wanted to be about discovery,” explains Sheinkop, “So, what does discovery sound like? What music choices can reflect that, whether online, in-store, or in a commercial?”

Music can convey emotion without words. But your business needs to do it in a way that amplifies your brand and helps consumers remember you, not just the music. Sheinkop recommends using music in a way that allows your brand to organically insert itself in the consumer’s everyday life, so that consumer relies on you. And that doesn’t mean giving away free music; customers can get that. It’s about cutting through the clutter and curating meaningful choices. In this way, your brand becomes more than a product—it becomes a trusted filter.

This post is part of our ongoing coverage of Microsoft Production Studios and its visiting speaker series.