In modern conditions, most companies implement marketing strategies that include conducting promotional activities affecting the potential customers only through sight and hearing. At the same time, during the twentieth century, there happened dramatic transformation in marketing. The study has revealed that the use of only two of five senses does not fully provide the marketing communications with the target audience. The development of the market of goods and services focused on the needs of the growing population requires the supply of activation of all consumers’ senses to maximize sales.
The development of marketing has led to the development of the concept of sensory marketing or sensory branding, which is one of the main areas of practical application of neuromarketing. In turn, sensory marketing is divided into tactile marketing and aromamarketing. Sensory marketing uses the power of human emotions, allowing the appeal to the target audience on an emotional level. The impact on consumers’ emotions enhances brand perception by consumers at a subconscious level. The researchers concluded that only the involvement of all human senses may maximize the effectiveness of marketing strategies.
While creating a clear brand image and forming directional communication, the simultaneous use of all the senses is called multisensory branding. It should be noted that the mentioned type of branding can be effectively used in case of a comprehensive approach that provides a balanced impact on the consumers’ senses. Hence, the excessive impact will adversely affect physical and psychological state, and a partial stimulation will not create proper communication between the potential buyer and brand. Determining the optimal multiplier effect on the senses in the implementation of the concept of multisensory branding is possible only if the detailed analysis of individual elements of sensory marketing is conducted.
Among the most important tools of branding, one should pay particular attention to the sound as it has direct impact on the emotions of consumers. It should also be noted that this tool affects not only consumers of goods and services regardless of preferences. This feature of any company should be considered in order to enhance the promotion of products on the market. The practical research showed that in service sector establishments (shops, restaurants, fast food, etc.), music affects the rate of consumer spending. For instance, with the help of classical music, the chain store Victoria’s Secret has created in consumers’ minds associations connected with the prestige of the trademark and its exclusivity. The engineering team of Bentley Company developed a “signature sound” which, on the one hand, provides the maximum comfort in the car, and, on the other hand, is perceived by consumers as an integral part of that car brand.
One of the leading corporations on the audio branding market was the company Muzak Holdings, which provided services for the selection and creation of music, primarily for commercial establishments, restaurants, and other companies. The development of audio product for the client company was carried out by Muzak specialists with the help of gender research, age, and social structure of the customer. These methods allow to determine musical preferences of the target audience. The evidence of successful recognition of this marketing direction was the purchase of Muzak Holdings in 2011 for 345 million dollars by Mood Media Corporation (also known as Fluid Music Canada, Inc.).
A striking example of the introduction of audio branding technology was the cooperation in 2012 between Muzak, as part of Mood Media Corporation, and the Embassy Suites hotel in Fayvatevil (North Carolina), which is a part of Hilton Worldwide. According to the agreement, Muzak experts have designed and installed a multimedia system that has allowed to create in the middle of the hotel complex a favorable atmosphere for tourists.
The development of the brand, including multisensory, is very important because it requires a set of measures that should be clearly consistent with each other, based on scientific principles, and should meet the realities of the market, in which the company plans to do business. Reaching the final positive result provides a comprehensive collection of statistical information about the market, which is supposed to introduce new product or service, its thorough analysis, and making management decisions based on the results.
A client who visited the restaurant for lunch may do many things while waiting for his/her order – consider interior or guests come to rest in a smartphone or laptop. Actually, it is a private matter, but, at the same time, the person doing it is inside the restaurant and listens to its atmosphere. After all, conveying moods, creating a certain attitude to the institution (brand), and influencing the customer can be realized with the help of sound. In fact, the client may be engaged in audio branding.
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The impact of sound on the human was generally the subject of much research.
Some of the findings made by scientists may be interesting to owners of cafes and restaurants:
- music and rhythm impact consumer behavior at the time of purchase (slow music causes people to stay longer in the restaurant and to spend more money);
- loud music increases the number of drinks ordered at the bar;
listening to music, the buyer will choose the goods of higher quality; in addition, the audio background will help enhance the value of the brand itself (when the owners of wine shops included classical music, customers
- are more likely to buy expensive wine);
- the more visitors like the music in cafe, the more they will come there;
tempo changes the feeling of time (fast music sounding during your waiting for a phone response creates the
- illusion that this expectation is shorter than it actually is);
- genre of music, as well as its volume, may depend on the amount of alcohol consumed (it was found in one study that, when the evening was filled with classical music, the number of visitors ordering three or more alcoholic drinks increased. However, that was not the same with jazz or pop music);
- in their own way, national flavor and lyrics “manipulate” the buyers (for example, sailor songs stimulate the purchase of seafood; or, in the hall with a collection of German and French wines, more German wines are bought when the music is from Germany, on the other hand, more French wines are bought if the music played is of French origin);
- if the music matches the mood of the visitor, he/she spends more time and money in the store (research sales in flower shops found that if romantic music is played in the pavilion, the customers make purchases longer, and the size of the average check increased).
One must remember that the particular perception of music is associated with such characteristics of audience as gender, age, education, income, the way of life, system of values, mentality, and many others. All of these factors should be considered when promoting the brand. For example, consumer behavior during the same music and the same tune (for example, classical) is quite different among the educated and affluent Europeans and the visitors of the camp of a small cafe. It is therefore necessary to constantly study the audience, to find new and creative solutions in order to strengthen the reputation of the institution and the brand position).
Working with sound largely depends on the prevailing situation in the institution. For example, if there are a lot of empty seats in the room, it is advisable to include slow music for the guests to spend more time in the restaurant and for the size of the check to be increased. However, during peak hours or the influx of visitors, when the availability is almost gone, more rhythmic music “help” overstayer guests to release tables faster. And, of course, it is always important to keep a certain stylistic and genre frameworks.
One should not assume that audio branding only limited work with background music in a particular restaurant. It certainly is effective, but there are other sound elements of the brand.
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In fact, the sound logo is as necessary as the brand name, graphic logo, or slogan. It works usually in conjunction with graphics (videos and the internet), but it is still quite separate issue that may use its own additional means (e.g., radio). Naturally, achieving brand recognition is much easier in the first case. It sets the theme song and creates rhythmic patterns, for example, a musical logo of the most popular fast food establishments known in all the continents, and the same atmosphere of a family holiday is held through various areas.
The sound of the restaurant brand logo can serve as a calling card for the media (internet, TV, radio). Moreover, it is not always music title or slogan; it may be just the melody, human voice, and natural sounds (noise of the city, the sounds of nature, some individual items, etc.).
Using sound in the video and audio commercials of the restaurant (TV, radio, Internet) may include the sound when running mobile applications, the sound accompanying the entry or exit of visitors from the restaurant, the sound of ringtones for employees’ mobile phones (for example, the guests often hear the call on the hostess’ phone). In addition, it may also consist in guerrilla and BTL-actions.
Jingle relates to a sound mark just as a slogan of a brand name. It is a short (1 to 30 seconds) “musical phrase” for audio clips. Whereas the audio logo should remain unchanged, the jingle can be edited by adjusting to different situations (however, its modifications do not need to be made too often). Another difference between logo and jingle is that the latter is necessarily a musical melody, although some natural sounds or the human voice can be added to it.
One should note that in some cases, the jingle is a key element of brand communication. For example, many people remember the ingredients of the famous Big Mac due to this fact.
A fierce debate is conducted around anthem on whether it is or is not needed. The fact is that today (at least in Russia), the task of the latter is not to become the subject of ridicule and annoyance for customers and employees. It is, unfortunately, something that cannot be achieved by many. Nevertheless, it is not necessary to put hymn immediately on the cross. After all, it can become a well-known song, the theme of which would reflect the values of the brand. For example, a restaurant with sea food will suit something like “Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest”. A good example here is the anthem of the Heart Attack Grill.
Blues and rock style elements in the song refer to the excessive consumption, and sexy female vocals are quite compatible with the uniform of nurses, which goes to the restaurant’s waitresses. In the restaurant, there are also used video and audio commercials (TV, radio, internet) and special events for both guests and employees.
This category refers to the music, which sounds in the halls of the restaurants or somewhere nearby.
It should be noted that:
- music must be appreciated by the majority of visitors (not the owner or the staff that are already included in its sole discretion without regard to the guidance manual), it should affect most directly the perception of the restaurant (brand) by customers;
- music should correspond to the context (if the guests do not come to listen to a live performance, you should think carefully about how expedient it is);
- music should vary depending on time of the day and meet the mood and the state of visitors (constancy is surely important, but if the guest arrives at night and hear the same thing in the morning, he will inevitably have an impression that nothing interesting occurs in this place).
Thoughtless and often counterintuitive choice of background music irritates visitors. If the owners cannot find a compromise between their own preferences and the tastes of the guests, it is better to opt out of the music (as it is demonstrated by the results of research, no background sound impact sales not so much as the choice of unsuccessful songs or melodies).
One should also mention those restaurants which brands were originally built around live music. Success stories say that these were not random (anonymous) performers and repertoire in most cases. It is always a thoughtful choice that is within the same concept, and it has been designed for people interested in a certain musical direction. Perhaps, the most telling example of the use of live music is the cult club CBGB’s having been performing from 1973 to 2006 (it was closed due to a conflict with the owner of the building). The success of the places where idols were noted in punk and rock culture was so significant that it is now possible to consider it as a part of the story rather than as a proper public catering policy. The usage of video and audio commercials (TV, radio, Internet) directly in the halls of the restaurant, the organization of special events for both guests and employees, and the use of BTL-actions are also helpful issues.
Recipes for Success
Be attentive to the musical tastes of your audience.
What kind of music your guests prefer? Is it possible to include the entire audience of the restaurant in order to allocate some large groups united by common interests? What kind of music will match these interests?
Study and satisfy the needs of guests.
Why do people come to your restaurant – to talk, to hold a business meeting, or to have a date? What soundtrack is the most suitable, cheerful music or comfortable silence?
Follow the rhythm of visitors’ lives.
For what purpose they come to you in the morning, afternoon, or evening? They want to cheer up before a long day of work or rest after a difficult week? What kind of music will improve the mood of the guests at the moment?
Acoustic Media Brand
A fairly simple thing hides under this mysterious concept – audibility in places because many people come to the restaurant with the purpose of communication, negotiations, or business meetings. It is important for people to listen and to be heard, and the restaurant brands should be aware of this.
Studies show that the presence about 50 percent of noise in speech is usually acceptable. However, even minor improvements in acoustics have a positive effect not only on the perception and understanding but also on the progress of pupils. The health of people speaking depends on the noise level. German scientists have revealed that if there is background noise louder than 65 decibels (it is just a complete classroom noise, the office without walls, and unfortunately, many bars and restaurants) during the conversation, it leads to an increase in heart rate, which could be one of causes of heart disease in the long run, and may lead to fatigue and deterioration in health in the short run. Many of us have heard: “There is too much noise, let’s go somewhere quiet where.” Therefore it is very important that the managers of the restaurants take into account acoustic characteristics of the environment and the guests’ need to communicate.
Ideally, the overall concept of the brand is developed first, and the part of it will be sound attributes. It is reasonable to choose the ideas and aspects of the brand related to emotional problems. Another possible selection vector is related to topics within some cultural formation, which could reflect the theme of the restaurant, its entourage and the story. The basic ideas or briefs (the form usually determines the artist him/herself) may be represented at this stage as well.
Artist makes the draft notes of music, reading texts, or tunes. Effective teamwork will be achieved between restaurateur and performer (with the active involvement of customers in the process). When a customer is constantly aware of the matter, it is easier to understand the final result. Thus, the likelihood alleged in the brief ideas will be reflected by increased music.
The creation of a working material and its adaptation to the desired format is the next stage. Once defined the main directions of work, artist prepares blank molds of all elements of audio brand chosen by a restaurateur. It is desirable that this is the last step in terms of making changes and amendments to the audio material since the performer need to do some technical work for the production of high-quality source files.
Contractor should create a “finishing” version of each audio branding element at this stage. It is no longer necessary to attract the customer in the process. However, it is worth remembering that the technical difficulty is quite large and takes time for quality work. Thinking “what else is there to do because everything is written” means provoking conflicts and increasing the likelihood of any defects.
In fact, this step is not related to the production side, but it is of great importance for future life of the brand. The fact that the registration of the owner’s copyright is completed allows the restaurant to:
eliminate the occurrence of disputes (including legal proceedings) and the situations with performers and musicians whose work is taken as basic elements of audio branding (especially music in the halls, for example, Yuri Antonov initiated more than one trial, related to violation of his copyright by restaurants);
monitor and influence the unscrupulous competitors who have copied the sound of the brand attributes;
produce at least partial solution of legal security issue (it may be signing of the contract with the contractor for the alienation of copyright); thus, while using musical works created by third parties, the restaurateur should consult with specialists.
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The study will apply a combination of several research designs to generate data concerning the connection between music and spending time and money at the restaurant.
The research has the following objectives:
- to identify the major factors that influence consumers’ food choice;
- to analyze the importance of audio marketing;
- to identify music preferences that make customers stay at the restaurant longer and spend more money;
- to examine how the guests of the restaurant like/dislike current audio setting inside;
- to examine how the guests view the utilization of music at the restaurant;
- to examine how the guests can characterize the 1149 Restaurant in West Warwick;
- to characterize the typical restaurant’s guest.
Mostly, the research will apply such techniques and methods as case study, secondary research (literature review), interviews, and survey. The survey will consist of two parts with both multiple choice and open-ended questions. The questionnaire sample will be handed to the guests of the restaurant to answer the questions concerning their perception of background music being played in the restaurant. In order to analyze the market and audio branding marketing strategy, the research will review appropriate literature and case studies. During a short interview after visiting the restaurant, the guests will be offered to evaluate different aspects of the place (service, food, price, and background music). Accordingly, it will become clear how the guests perceive the music, evaluate general atmosphere, and indicate their opinion regarding the connection between the music and the spending rates. Other question will be answered with the help of questionnaire divided into two major parts. The first part will determine general information concerning the participant (age, gender, marital status, income level, etc.), while the second part will answer some initially significant questions. The participants will be free not to indicate their names; therefore, the survey may acquire the nature of anonymous questionnaire. Moreover, while answering open-ended questions, the guests will provide their personal experience, behavior, and attitude towards the restaurant in terms of different music background.
In order to explore the factors that enhance higher spending rates at the restaurant and the connection between it and the music played there, an opinion poll method will be applied in the current research. The research team will design the list of questions together with the restaurant’s marketing team. Consequently, the research team will develop a self-structured survey sample consisting of two parts. The stratified non-probability sampling technique will be used for the research. The surveys will be distributed equally among 150 guests of the restaurant within a period of one month. Stratified sampling will ensure that the interview and survey consider the guests of different social, marital, economical status, and, therefore, will grasp a wider audience market.
To illustrate the influence of music on the profitability of the restaurant and the rate of spendings on customers’ behalf, the research will apply Pearson correlation and multiple regression analysis. Additionally, the study will implement statistical and situational analysis that will help to analyze the relationships between variables and find out the answers to the research questions.
The project will be completed within the period of 18 weeks (86 working days) starting from the time when the restaurant’s marketing personnel will provide necessary information to the research team. The cost of the project is estimated to be not more than $50,000. The offered start date of the study is May 16, 2016, the end date is November 19, 2016.