afaqs!

Can sound make a brand worth remembering?

By Abhishek Keni , Contract Advertising, Mumbai | In Advertising | March 28, 2017
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Yes it can. We just need to think beyond jingles.

Do you ever put on your headphones and after a long time, realise that you haven't yet switched on the music?

Abhishek Keni

Do you ever start humming a song (in your head) in the middle of a discussion with someone?

Think about it!

Cricket Test Match between India and South Africa in Chennai, April 2008. While playing a smashing innings, Virender Sehwag stopped the Test match to recollect the lyrics of a song he was humming while bringing down a bowling attack by the South Africans. The incident happened during his record knock off second triple century (319). Sehwag called the 12th man, Ishant Sharma, and asked him to check his iPod for the lyrics of that particular song.

While writing my grilling engineering semester exams, I too had the habit of humming random Bollywood songs (in my mind). This helped me concentrate better.

Music is everywhere. From the chirping of birds in the forests to the auto rickshaw driver playing 90's Bollywood music to the discotheque playing the latest Chainsmokers' song to the cobbler at the railway station creating a sound with an empty cold drink bottle to grab the attention of his customers to the TV Commercial of a watch brand with its classic jingle. They all have music around them. HUL leveraged on this platform to create an entertainment on demand initiative that helped its brands like Lux and Fair & Lovely engage with rural consumers in media-dark areas.

Can there be more to music than just jingles or entertainment on demand executions?

So, I spoke to a few people to understand the role of music in their lives and the situations where music finds its way.

The responses were very interesting. Consumers remember music (imaginary) when they are doing something they love, like while cooking, driving or even running. Someone gave an example about an incident when they were travelling on a bus while it was raining outside and all of a sudden they started humming "Tip tip barsa paani..." in their head. Someone remembered "Mil jo jaaye thoda paisa thoda paisa... par kaise..." while they saw somebody counting currency notes. Someone remembered a song thinking about the last time they were happy. Sometimes, you are in the middle of something, reading something and suddenly a word comes to your head that sparks a tune.

With the huge amount of interaction and the plethora of touch points that are available, brands across various categories can use music to reach their audience or convey its higher order purpose (apart from creating jingles!).

Let us now understand sounds associated with various categories:

a. Footwear:
Sound of footsteps.

b. Pharmaceutical:
Sound of tablet strips when they rub against other strips.

c. Banking:
Sound of notes while the ATM is dispensing notes.

d. Soap/Toiletries:
Sound of the shower.

e. Cooking Oil
Sound of boiling oil when a pakoda is dropped into it.

A payments bank which talks about 'banking for all' can use the power of sound to create a self-service payment hub in their banks for the visually impaired, where unique sounds can guide them to make the necessary payments. We are on the verge of becoming a cashless economy. We need to include everybody in this movement. This can be a big disruption in the payments bank market.

A hand-wash liquid brand can create makeshift water dispensers in schools which will emit amazing water flowing sounds and grab the attention of school kids. The sound should be such that every time they are having their meals, they should quickly recollect that sound and remember to wash their hands.

A footwear brand can have a unique collection of footwear that can change the sound of footsteps based on the surface on which the wearer is walking. This can be useful especially during monsoons when after walking on wet surfaces, the shoes make not-so-impressive sounds, especially on a smooth surface.

The possibilities of disruption using sounds are many. We just need to go beyond creating jingles!

(The author is senior account executive at Contract Advertising, Mumbai)

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