In our last post we had a look at the importance of Volume, Genre and Texture in designing of the best strategic implementation of your background music. In this post, we’ll explore other important elements that will maximize the effect of your background music system.
1. Client needs analysis
This is the essential launching pad to designing your in-store music experience. It’s a series of questions that help to properly identify your target customer. Getting clear on demographics, characteristics and the behavioural traits of you customer, as well the perceptions you want your product or services to impart, is the first step in properly aligning your music with the intended target.
2. Your music profile
Your “client needs analysis” will lead you in the development of your music profile. A broad “Top 40” popular music profile can be a “good enough for everyone” generic vibe but it can also lead to a bland, “loved by nobody” experience. The alternative is a narrower playlist that can better express your brand message and can result in a deeper connection with your customer.
3. Picking the right songs
Notice that in the first two points we focused on the client and not the staff in the store. If staff was the first consideration for music selection, we’d simply turn over the task of picking the songs to them. In turn, you would have a store that changes in feel from day-to-day depending who is working a particular shift or what mood you manger is on a particular day. It’s important to consider the impact of the music on staff morale but your customer must remain the priority.
Once you are clear on who your client is and what type of experience you want to exude, this is where the art meets science in music marketing.
A good start is somewhere between 300-400 songs selected from genres that appeal to the lifestyle identified in step one and two. The wider you go with your playlist the riskier it is of shifting away from the core feel and texture. Keeping it between 300 and 400 limits repetition a bit and still allows for those “spice tracks”. These are songs that might be outside the conventions of the genre but thread in nicely. Often the more knowledgeable the music programmer the better effect they can have with adding spice tracks to your playlist.
With a tighter playlist, where every song is hand picked to reflect your exacting brand image, you can better communicate a specific and focused brand message!
For most stores we recommend keeping the playlist consistant throughout the day but there are exceptions. In the case of a grocery store, one might find in the the “client needs analysis” that the customer between 9a-4p is a relatively older and/or retired demographic that is able to go shopping in the midday. In this case you might tailor your music genre to this demo and then switch it up around 4pm when a younger clientele is shopping after their workday.
Then of course there are seasonal and special sale changes that you should identify and prepare for!
5. Store acoustics
An often overlooked aspect of store design, the acoustics in your establishment will play a vital role in how the music is reproduced. This is a topic worthy of more than a few paragraphs but let’s look at the basics.
In many mall locations you’re often stuck with hard surfaces surrounding your every space. Brick, stone, concrete, reflect all sound. Wood, gyprock and steel, reflect most high frequencies and a percentage of low frequencies. If you have bass frequencies bouncing off of concrete and stone walls throughout your store, the reflected bass interferes with the new incoming bass frequencies from the speakers and they will actually cancel each-other out when they run into each-other. Simply, this means that you will have dead pockets throughout your store.
Ideally you would want to include cloth materials like couches, curtains, wood and fibreglass in your store design to help absorb or limit those bass frequencies. Alternatively, you may want to stay with a less Bass-y playlist and program from genres that use less of the bass spectrum.
Unfortunately, moving speakers around does not solve the problem. The only solution is to insure that the room is absorbent of bass frequencies.
6. Speaker placement
This can be another complex topic but here are the nuts and bolts of it.
Most stores will have cheap ceilings speakers mounted 15 ft up high. For the life of me, I’m not sure why this is the norm as it results in a very poor delivery of your music and messaging.
Speaker placement will depend on the room configuration but the best thing you can do for your clients and staff is to invest in decent wall mounted speakers and get them placed around 8 to 9 ft from the ground.
With wall mounted speakers, generally you want them away from the corners. They should be half the distance from the end walls as they are from the other speakers on the same wall (i.e placing the 1st speaker about 7′ from the end wall with the next speaker placed 14′ further away along on the same wall). This applies to most rectangular spaces.
Proper speaker placement makes it comfortable for anyone walking around the room to enjoy the sounds emanating from them.
7. Consistency on all channels
Ok, so you figured out your music personality and have it implemented in your store now, it’s important to keep it consistent on all of your touch points with your customers. On-hold, TV adds, the web videos you share on social media and your website should all share the same music personality of your brand!
There you have it, along with volume, texture and genres the above 7 points can go a long way in improving your own background music strategy. It’s been proven many times that it’s worth the investment with many experiencing sales increases.
Some of these may be implemented gradually and are not too expensive to execute. A good start is hiring a professional, who for a monthly fee, can handle many of these points and be a good consultative voice.
If you have any questions or want to take your in-store music to the next level we’d be happy to help!