Music influence on brand perception. Survey of the commercials' communicative efficiency

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  • 1. 1 Music  Influence  on  Brand  Perception:  Survey  of   the  Commercials’  Communicative  Efficiency   Author   Yulia  Malenkaya,  general  director  in  Sound  ID  Audiobranding   Key  words   1. Communicative  efficiency   2. Brand  attributes   3. Commercial   4. Survey   5. Music     Abstract   Music  plays  a  pervasive  role  in  consumers’  lives  and  is  often  used   in  marketing  communication.  As  a  powerful  mean  of  mood  creation  and   communication   of   feelings   and   emotions,   music   appears   to   be   an   important  component  of  audio  support  in  commercials.     This   paper   explores   the   influence   of   music   on   the   efficiency   of   commercials.   For   this   purpose   a   survey   of   6   video-­‐spots   was   conducted.   Selected   ad   videos   included   3   videos   with   music,   consciously   chosen   according   to   the   key   brand   attributes,   and   3   videos   in   which   music   is   chosen  without  regard  to  the  image  of  brand.  Selected  commercials  were   shown  to  the  sample  of  83  respondents,  who  filled  in  questionnaires  after   the  overview.  The  survey’s  results  indicate  that  music  may  have  significant   impact  on  audience  perception  of  the  brands:  commercials  with  conscious   music  choice  gave  a  much  clearer  idea  of  brands  to  the  respondents,  than   the  ones  with  unconscious  choice  of  music.    
  • 2. 2 Advertisers   spend   large   sums   of   money   on   the   production   of   music  for  the  ads.  Creative  fees  for  an  original  composition  can  be  one  of   the  largest  expense  items,  whereas  the  rights  to  popular  songs  can  cost   much  more.  Music  costs  can  add    hundreds  of  thousands  of  dollars  to  the   ad  budget.  For  example,  Nike  spent  $500  000  on  the  rights  to  use  The   Beatles'  song  "Revolution"  (Cocks,  1987).     Companies  are  risking  millions  of  dollars  on  the  belief  that  music   can  boost  ads’  efficiency,  yet  there  is  no  universally  accepted  explanation   of  how  this  works.  The  theory  of  audiobranding  is  developing  intensively   nowadays,   meanwhile   the   issue   of   semiotic   qualities   of   music   and   its   potential  for  branding  is  not  enlightened  enough  in  marketing  literature.           There  are  some  investigations,  which  have  suggested  that  music   influences   listeners   mainly   through   their   feelings   and   moods   (Gorn,   1982;   Bruner   1990).   Although   most   of   the   research   is   focused   on   emotional  responses  to  ad  music,  it  is  also  important  to  bear  in  mind  a   pervasive   idea   that   music   is   in   some   way   capable   of   symbolizing   emotions,  images  or  ideas.  This  idea  lead  to  the  development  of  music   semiotics  in  70s  and  80s,  but  still  didn’t  find  ist  place  in  the  theory  of   marketing  communications  and  branding.         Taking  all  this  into  account,  the  general  intent  of  this  essay  is  to   explore  the  potential  of  music  communication  and  ist  impact  on  brand   perception.   For   this   purpose   a   research   focused   on   the   dependence   of   the  commercials’  efficiency  from  music  choice  was  conducted.     1. Methodology  of  research   1.1  Procedure   The  study  refers  to  the  primary  empirical  quantitative  research.   It  was  carried  out  in  January  2010  by  a  survey  of  respondents,  based  on   the  questionnaires  sent  by  e-­‐mail.  The  aim  of  the  research  is  to  define  the   impact  of  music,  chosen  for  the  ad  according  to  the  key  brand  attributes,   on  the  perception  of  brand,  promoted  in  this  commercial.  The  ability  to   create   a   brand   image   and   communicate   it’s   key   features   refers   to   the   communicative   efficiency   of   the   ad.   The   notion   of   commercial’s   communicative  efficiency  implies  the  change  in  the  viewer’s  perception   of  the  brand  and  usually  discussed  together  with  economical  efficiency,   which  stands  for  increase  in  sales  volume,  growth  of  the  demand  for  the  
  • 3. 3 product   and   other   economically   significant   results.   In   contrast   to   economical   efficiency,   the   level   of   achieved   communicative   efficiency   can’t   be   calculated.   It   is   defined   by   feedback   from   the   viewers   and   interpreted   through   such   constructs   as   perception.   feelings,   emotions,   attention,  memory  and  motivation  (Кутлалиев  &  Попов,  2005).   As  the  conceptual  definition  of  communicative  efficiency  is  quiet   abstract.  broad  and  difficult  to  evaluate,  in  this  particular  research  it  is   interpreted  according  to  the  number  of  key  brand  attributes,  recognized   by   the   viewers.   The   questions   in   the   form   are   closed,   as   they   provide   several   answers   to   choose.   Among   the   answers   there   are   both   correct   key   brands’   attributes   i.e.   laid   by   the   owners   of   brand,   and   incorrect   ones,  intentionally  contrived  for  the  survey.  Since  the  observed  situation   has   two   possible   outcomes   (either   the   respondent   selects   the   correct   attribute   of   the   brand   or   not),   the   information   obtained   through   the   survey  refers  to  a  nominal  level  of  measurement,  and  the  questions  are   alternate  (dichotomous).       According  to  the  aims  of  the  research,  2  alternative  hypotheses   were  formulated:     H0:  use  of  music,  selected  for  the  commercial  according  to  the  key   attributes  of  brand,  promoted  in  this  commercial,  doesn’t  facilitate   brand  identification,  its  memorability  and  generation  of  the  correct   associations  among  the  viewers.       H1:  use  of  music,  selected  for  the  commercial  according  to  the  key   attributes  of  brand,  promoted  in  this  commercial,  facilitates  brand   identification,   its   memorability   and   generation   of   the   correct   associations  among  the  viewers.       To   test   these   hypotheses,   six   video-­‐spots   were   selected:   three   commercials   supported   by   the   music,   which,   on   the   author’s   opinion,   matches  the  key  attributes  of  brand  (further  these  3  commercials  will  be   stated  as  commercials  with  consciously  chosen  music):     Brand  &  commercial  title   Music   Reference  to  the  video   Chanel  Coco  Mademoiselle   Joss  Stone  -­‐  «Love»   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aibOY18P kgo  
  • 4. 4 Nike  (Nike  Courage)   The  Killers  -­‐  «I  got  a  soul   but  I’m  not  a  soldier»   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHTPoQb YPCE   Miller  (In  Miller  way)   FatBoy  Slim  -­‐  «Wonderful   Night»   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FxtoR8d ltA   Table  1.  Commercials  with  consciously  chosen  music     and  three  commercials  supported  by  the  music,  which,  on  the  author’s   opinion,  doesn’t  match  the  key  attributes  of  brand:     Brand  &   commercial  title   Music   Reference  to  the  video   Sberbank Music by A. Ribnikov, lyrics by I. Kohanovsky, “Я тебе конечно верю” [Of course I believe you] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gwh UYdJuAI&feature=youtube_gdata Megafon (Music expert) Music,  composed  for  the  commercial   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k BIRaw5Jix4   Pyaterochka (the nearest low prices) Music, composed for the commercial http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJh- KzS0t88&feature=related Table    2.  Commercials  with  unconsciously  chosen  music     The   choice   of   commercials   was   motivated   by   one   factor:   connection   between   semiotics   of   music   and   brand   identity.   Decision   about  the  occurrence  of  this  connection  in  the  commercials  was  made  by   following  2-­‐steps  procedure:     1. official  sites  of  chosen  brands  were  scanned  for  information   about  brand  attributes  correlating  with  elements  of  Aaker’s   Brand  Identity  Model  (Aaker,  1995).  After  this,  key  identity   elements  were  structured  in  a  table  (see  the  appendix  №1   «Key  brand  attributes»).   2. music,  used  in  the  video-­‐spots  was  considered  according  to   the  Model  of  Musical  Competence  (Stefani,  2000),  in  order   to   formulate   its   main   socio-­‐cultural   aspects:   genre,   style,   audience,  national  and  sub  cultural  belonging,  image  of  the   musician/group/singer,  and  so  on.   The  conclusion  on  whether  music  matches  the  brand  identity  or  not,  was   made  after  these  two  analyses.   On   the   base   of   Brand   Identity   Models   key   attributes   of   the   brands   were   determined   (see   the   appendix   №2   «   Key  Brand  Attributes»)  and  further  included  in  the  answers  options  in  
  • 5. 5 questionnaires   along   with   wrong   options,   created   intentionally   for   the   survey.     The  procedure  of  survey  consisted  of  two  stages:  first  -­‐  watching   video-­‐spots  and  then  filling  the  form  in.  After  that,  the  respondents  sent   the  filled  forms  to  the  e-­‐mail,  mentioned  in  the  questionnaires.       1.2  Sample   The   universal   set   for   the   survey   was   determined   according   to   following  operational  factors:   • Demographic  component:   o age  of  respondents:  from  18  to  50  years  old   o gender:  doesn’t  matter   o income:  doesn’t  matter   • Geographic  component:  Saint-­‐Petersburg  (including  the   suburbs  of  the  city)     Initial   sample   constituted   100   respondents.   16   respondents   refused  to  participate  in  the  survey  during  the  process  of  data  collection   and  1  respondent  filled  in  the  form  in  an  incorrect  way.  As  a  result,  the   actual  sample  constituted  83  respondents.     The   sample   of   respondents   for   the   survey   refers   to   a   non-­‐ random  sample  type,  since  it  consists  mainly  of  the  students  of  Graduate   School   of   Management   –   department   of   Saint-­‐Petersburg   State   University.  This  is  a  constraining  factor,  which  has  a  certain  impact  on   the   results   of   the   research.   The   constraints   will   be   discussed   in   more   detail  further,  in  the  section  “Constraints  of  the  research”   2.  Results   2.1  Analyses   After   the   collection   of   survey’s   data   it   was   organized   into   the   EXCEL   table   (see   the   attached   EXCEL   file   «Survey   data»).     Further   analyses  consisted  of  calculation  of  following  rates:   -­‐   frequency   distribution   of   correctly   recognised   atrributes   (for   each  brand  attribute)   -­‐  percentage  distribution  of  correctly  recognised  atrributes  (for   each  brand  attribute)  
  • 6. 6 -­‐  average  values  of  correct  responses  (for  each  of  two  groups  of   commercials:   commercials   with   consciously   chosen   music   and   commerciald  with  unconsciously  chosen  music)   Tables  with  results  for  each  brand  are  stated  below:   Table  3.  Survey  results  for  Chanel  Coco  Mademoiselle  brand     Table  4.  Survey  results  for  Nike  brand     Brand  attribute     Number  of  respondents,   correctly  recognised  the   attribute       Percentage  of  respondents  correctly   recognised  the  attribute     (%)   (data  is  approximated  to  whole  numbers)   Feminity   59   71   Romanticism   65   78   Discreet  luxury   61   74   Elegance  in  simplicity   71   86   Charm  and  independence   68   82   Grace  of  aroma   61   74   Brand  attribute     Number  of  respondents,   correctly  recognised  the   attribute       Percentage  of  respondents  correctly   recognised  the  attribute     (%)   (data  is  approximated  to  whole  numbers)   Desire  to  win   74   89   Determination  to  strive   57   69   Overcoming  yourself   52   63   Commitment  and   perseverance   51   62   Striving  fort  success  and   superioriy   41   49   Enthusiasm   40   48   Brand  attribute     Number  of   respondents,   correctly  recognised   the  attribute       Percentage  of  respondents  correctly   recognised  the  attribute     (%)   (data  is  approximated  to  whole  numbers)   Clubbing   68   82   Outstanding  events     48   58   Change  in  everyday  city  life   53   64   Fresh  emotions   43   52  
  • 7. 7 Table  5.  Survey  results  for  Miller  brand       Table  6.  Survey  results  for  Seberbank  brand   Table  7. Survey  results  for  MegaFon  brand   Stylish  clubs  &  parties   71   86   Target  audience:  young  people  from   18  to  30  years  old,  income  –  average   and  higher   69   83   Brand  attribute     Number  of   respondents,   correctly  recognised   the  attribute       Percentage  of  respondents  correctly   recognised  the  attribute     (%)   (data  is  approximated  to  whole  numbers)   Security   24   29   Lidership   25   30   Responsibility  &  stability   23   28   International  authority   10   12   Fast  service   20   24   Resistance  to  crisis     41   49   Brand  attribute     Number  of   respondents,   correctly  recognised   the  attribute       Percentage  of  respondents  correctly   recognised  the  attribute     (%)   (data  is  approximated  to  whole  numbers)   High  quality  service   20   24   Available  prices   13   16   Reliability   28   34   Convinience   21   25   Wide  range  of  services   38   46   Unified  standards  of  service   17   21   Brand  attribute     Number  of   respondents,   correctly  recognised   the  attribute       Percentage  of  respondents  correctly   recognised  the  attribute     (%)   (data  is  approximated  to  whole  numbers)   Quality   3   4   Economy   63   76   Respect  for  Russian  traditions   31   37  
  • 8. 8 Table  8.  Survey  results  for  Pyaterochka  brand   Average  number  of  recognized  attributes  is  28,2 for  the   commercials  with  conscious  choice  of  music.  For  the  commercials  with   unconscious  choice  of  music  this  rate  is  much  lower  and  constitutes  58,4.     Six  attributes  from  the  block  of  brands,  promoted  in   commercials  with  conscious  choice  of  music  achieved  more  than  80%   recognition  (marked  in  green),  whereas  from  block  of  brands,  promoted   in  commercials  with  unconscious  choice  of  music,  only  one  attribute   exceeded  80%  recognition  rate.       One  more  observation:  sixteen  attributes  from  the  block  of   brands,  promoted  in  commercials  with  conscious  choice  of  music   achieved  more  than  50%  recognition,  whereas  from  block  of  brands,   promoted  in  commercials  with  unconscious  choice  of  music,  only  two   attribute  exceeded  50%  recognition  rate.       All  in  all,  the  level  of  response  for  the  first  block  of  brands  is   quiet  high  and  therefore  testifies  to  the  high  level  of  communicative   efficiency  of  the  commercials,  in  which  music  was  selected  according  to   the  key  attributes  of  brands.  The  information,  which  was  supposed  to  be   perceived  by  the  viewers,  was  actually  perceived.  The  communicative   efficiency  of  commercials  from  second  block  was  much  lower  –  it  could   be  seen  from  the  rates.     These  rates  show  a  considerable  excess  in  recognised  attributes   of  brands,  which  were  promoted  in  the  commercials  with  conscious   choice  of  music.  On  the  base  of  this,  it  could  be  concluded,  that  the   collected  data  is  statistically  significant,  which  means  that  the   communicative  efficiency  of  the  commercials  and  perception  of  brands   in  particular,  could  be  enhanced  via  music.  Therefore  the  H0  hypotheses   is  rejected,  while  H0  hypotheses  is  true:     Use  of  music,  selected  for  the  commercial  according  to  the  key   attributes  of  brand,  promoted  in  this  commercial,  facilitates  brand   identification,  its  memorability  and  generation  of  the  correct   associations  among  the  viewers.     However,  the  constraints  of  the  research,  conditioned  mainly  by   the  non-­‐random  sample  type,  doesn’t  allow  to  consider  this  with  full   confidence.       National  belonging   29   35   Walking  distance  locations   35   42   Low  prices   67   81  
  • 9. 9 2.2  Constraints  of  the  research     Interpreting  the  results  of  the  study,  it  is  necessary  to  take  into  account   multiple  constraints  and  assumptions  underlying  the  design  of  the  study.   First  of  all,  it  is  very  difficult  to  evaluate  the  impact  of  music  on  the   viewers’  perception  of  brands  singly,    since  the  audience  perception  of  a   brand  is  a  result  of  all  the  synergic  factors,  created  by  the  commercial.   Secondly,  even  though  the  respondents  were  asked  to  base  their   answers  solely  on  the  commercials,  selected  for  the  study,  their   responses  are  also  influenced  to  some  extent  by  the  previous,  already   existed  image  of  the  brands,  which  was  formed  by  all  the  marketing   communications  of  these  brands  that  they  have  ever  received.     Another,  and  by  far  the  most  significant  constraint  is  the  fact   that  most  of  the  participants  in  the  study  sample  (approximately  80%  of   the  total  number)  are  students  of  one  department.  It  means  that  they   may  have  a  sort  of  similarities  in  some  aspects.  The  main  consequence  of   this  constraint  is  the  fact  that  the  results  of  the  study  can  not  be   extrapolated  to  the  universal  set,  as  they  are  not  representative.       3.  Discussion  and  Conclusion   We examined the proposition that music may have significant impact on brand perception. Investigation of six commercials, selected according to the choice of music used in it demonstrated that this proposition receives fairly consistent empirical support. The interaction between music semiotics and brand identity enhance the communicative efficiency of the commercial, providing the viewer with a clear idea of the brand. The level of brand recognition is higher in those cases, when the commercials are supported by music, selected according to the key brand attributes. Although  the  results  of  the  study  were  statistically  significant,   they  are  not  representative  and  couldn’t  be  extrapolated  to  the  universal   set,  because  of  limitations  of  the  research.  The  main  constraint  that should be addressed in further research is the following – the sample was
  • 10. 10 mainly limited to one population group— university students. Though this group was an appropriate target audience for the survey, their belonging to the same generation and to the community of one department may affect the way they respond to all the elements of broadcast commercials.   But,   nevertheless,   the   value   of   this   study   is   undeniable:   such   kind  of  a  cheap  and  relatively  simple  research  can  be  a  useful  practice  for   the   brand   owners   and   advertisers.   The   developed   procedure   and   methodology  of  study  can  become  an  easy  way  to  check  the  efficiency  of   commercial,   in   respect   to   brand   recognition,   securing   against   money   waste  for  the  use  of  unfit  music.     This  study  may  help  as  well,  to  explain  some  of  the  conflicting   findings  reported  in  previous  research  on  the  relationship  between   background  music  and  marketing  effectiveness  of  the  advertisement   (Bruner  &  Gordon,  1990).   Moreover, the main outcomes of the research pose some forward- looking questions, which appear to be perspective for further research. First of all, it applies to the issue of market segments and categories of goods or services, for advertising of which music becomes an important mean of communication. It could be assumed, that since music enhances the communicative efficiency of the ad, it is more relevant for the ads which has first of all an emotional, not cognitive appeal and are aimed at emotional perception, not the rational one. If so, music appears to be more valuable and significant element of communication for luxury brands, which satisfy emotional needs or need less rational motives to be bought (for example, a high-end fashion brand), than for the goods, positioned as economical, money-saving offers (for example, economical packs of corn-flakes,) or imply a multicriteria process of buying decision (for example, garden machinery). This assumption offers an important area for continued research.    
  • 11. 11 References     Aaker,   D.   (1996),   Building   Strong   Brands,   the   University   of   Michigan:   Free  Press     Bruner,   Gordon   C.,   III   (1990),   Music,   Mood,   and   Marketing,   Journal   of   Marketing,  vol.  54,  issue  4  ,  pp.  94-­‐104.     Cocks,  J.  (1987),  Wanna  Buy  a  Revolution?,  Time  (May  18),  p.  78.     Gorn,  G.  J.  (1982),  The  Effects  of  Music  in  Advertising  on  Choice   Behavior:  A  Classical  Conditioning  Approach,  Journal  of  Marketing,   vol.  46,  pp.  94-­‐101.     Stefani,   G.   (2005),   On   the   Semiotics   of   Music   in   Derek   B.   Scott   (ed.),   Music,  Culture,  and  Society.  Oxford:  Oxford  University  Press,  p.  50-­‐ 55.     Кутлалиев   А.   &   Попов   А.   (2005),   Эффективность   рекламы   [Advertising  Efficiency].  Москва:  Эксмо.        
  • 12. 12 Appendix  №  1   Key  brand  Attributes   Brand   Key  brand  attributes   Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Feminity   Romanticism   Discreet  luxury   Elegance  in  simplicity   Charm  and  independence   Grace  of  aroma   Nike Desire  to  win   Determination  to  strive   Overcoming  yourself   Commitment  and  perseverance   Striving  fort  success  and   superioriy   Enthusiasm   Miller Clubbing   Outstanding  events     Change  in  everyday  city  life   Fresh  emotions   Stylish  clubs  &  parties   Target  audience:  young  people   from  18  to  30  years  old,  income  –   average  and  higher   Sberbank Security   Lidership   Responsibility  &  stability   International  authority   Fast  service   Resistance  to  crisis     MegaFon High  quality  service   Available  prices   Reliability   Convinience   Wide  range  of  services   Unified  standarts  of  service   Pyaterochka Quality   Economy   Respect  for  Russian  traditions   National  belonging   Walking  distance  locations   Low  prices