That’s the question that awake when I read the last page of Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) this morning. Music branding is by a definition set by Jacob Lusensky ‘when companies make strategic allies with the music industry to strengthen brands’. Jacob Lusensky is a Swede who helps brands to use the right music in their communication, he is also the writer of a new book on the topic called ‘Sounds like branding’.
I first realised the power music can have to strengthen brand when I saw the Muller Dairy commercials with the 'I'm alive' tune in the UK that ran a few years ago. It was something with that music that added vigour and vitality to the brand. Somehow the music touched something inside me at a very emotional level and I started to view Muller differently, more favourably. During this particular period I was engaged in research and innovation for another big dairy company and it was very interesting to hear first hand just how much consumers engaged in the brand due to the music. I wonder if Muller ever understood the power of that music on their brand. A few years later they totally changed direction in their communication, and the power was gone – at least for me.
A recent Swedish example of the power of ‘music branding’ is the new Telenor communication platform with the Technologic tune. It’s a move for Telenor to freshen up their brand and move from a dull, public institution to a fresh, private and very vibrant brand with cool factor. Despite the logo being dull and Telia like… the new ads, and the music – well, it’s got a lot of coolness factor! The problem for me is that I lack the hygiene factors underlying this ‘new cool’ positioning. The company is still dull and their old school ‘focus on sales’ service attitude and offers are just offputting…So, with ads that are cool and fab music the experience feels very remote from the current Telenor brand. This could end up a dangerous example of moving too fast with ‘music branding’ too soon, without getting the basics right. However, if Telenor does their brand homework right they are hopefully engaged in a range of internal efforts to ensure that they can deliver against the ‘cool’ factor that they set for themselves via music and ads. I hope so anyway – otherwise it’s just branding at its worst. Glitzy surface with lack of substance.