“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” This statement made by Jeff Bezos holds profound truth. Strong brands have a lasting impact on people, in that they stay back as fine imprints on the mind, as sentiments we carry back in our hearts, as visuals we notice and as the pride we feel holding the product. In addition to these sensory stimulations, brands also appeal to yet another part of our body- the ears. We may not consciously register auditory stimulus, but it affects us much more than we realise.
Music independently has the capability to transcend, and evoke and stir emotions. So when used in collaboration with another art form that is itself creative, it instantly elevates the overall appeal. It’s no wonder that today and forever, music has been occurring in collaboration with so many art forms like cinema, dance and sometimes even paintings.
Apart from its obvious appeal to audiences of all kinds, music is also scientifically proven to have health benefits on the mind and body both. It is a stress reliever, aides memory and is therapeutic for a lot of ailments. Brands leverage this benefit and use this serotonin inducing tool to create a lasting effect for their message to penetrate hearts, minds and memory of more and more people.
The purpose of music in branding is to harness emotions and reinforce them with its vibe. For example, a playful jingle always accompanies playful kids products like Sunfeast biscuits. On the other hand, a brand like Tanishq makes use of austere, sultry melodies to add some tenderness to its sophisticated jewellery. Music adds grandeur to the brand, making it something more than just a product. It becomes an emotion.
When seen through the branding lense, music is actually a strategic tool used to navigate audience response in specific directions with the manner and intensity in which it has been incorporated into the overall brand message. Think about it- would you remember Close Up as vividly as you now do without the iconic song “Paas Aao Na”? Or Nescafé ads without their standard “Nescafé” jingle? You’d be lying if you said that the minute we mention Vicco, you didn’t start humming “Vicco turmeric, nahi cosmetic”.
We don’t even notice this, but internally we are thinking of so many brands in melodies and jingles rather than logos and taglines. As soon as we hear a familiar tune, we quickly reach for all the positive reactions that our mind formed about the ad the first time we heard and watched it. Listening to that familiar tune makes us feel the same pleasure and affection for the product all over again. If you ponder over this association, you will realise that music is much more than the add-on we perceive it to be.
Let’s look at some ways in which branding has incorporated music into brand identity creation. Catchy jingles are a sure-shot way for brands to create room for themselves. Remember chirping along to Idea’s comical Honeybunny jingle, belting “Amul, the taste of India!”, crooning Pepsi’s “Oye Bubbly”, “Vicks ki goli lo”, or best, Vodafone’s masterstroke with the song “You and I in this beautiful world”. Do you think these brands would be as memorable without the music?
Some brands went a step ahead to create original songs that were consistently used as part of a long brand campaign. Limca’s visually refreshing ad of people running into water fountains on the road coupled with the refreshing song “Doobo taazgi mein” won hearts just like Airtel’s “Dil titli” or Maruti Suzuki’s “Ghar Aya Hindustan” did.
Consistent and permanent use of a particular tune in ads is another popular method. Look around, and you’ll find a million examples of brands securely residing in our brain with their trailing melodies. Cadbury’s “Kuch meetha ho jaye” is as imprinting and affecting because of the sitar music in the background. Similarly, repetition of familiar tunes “Paytm karo”, “Nerolac Nerolac”, “Coming home to Siyaram” give us a sense of continuity and reassurance that the brand message is the same no matter when or how it is brought to us.
This was about original music created uniquely for each brand. Ads have storylines made to be entertaining because they are experiences in themselves. Some brands choose existing songs and artists- popular or indie to build on that experience. This positive association rubs off well on the brand and evokes the same pleasure from the brand that the song does independently. Apple does this exercise very tactfully allowing audiences to discover new music. Collaborating with existing singers to borrow from their popularity also works well. For example, Michael Jackson lent his voice to Pepsi, Justin Timberlake to McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it”, A. R. Rahman composed Airtel’s signature tune and it worked wonders.
It wouldn’t be wrong to look at music as logos for the ears. Music has the power to establish deeply rooted connections and strong recall values to the extent that people will remember the ad because of the music and not the other way round. With this, we leave you to go back and look up all these ads and revel in nostalgia that their jingles and songs beckon. I know I have been listening to Pas aao na on loop since a week and I love it!