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The Ultimate Guide To Background Music and Why It Matters in Business

Let’s start from the beginning: what’s all the hype about music? Why is it so important for businesses?

Music extends far more than just a song you hear, it’s an impactful resource for businesses who wish to stand out from their competitors, engage with its customers, uphold its reputation and create its desired environment. Music has a very compelling ability to create, shape, change emotions, people, behaviours and thoughts. It’s a powerful tool to engage your customers and change the experience they have in your establishment, be it a hotel, restaurant, bar, co-working space or shop. By choosing the right music to be played at the right time, you can boost profits and build your brand identity.

  • Music can shape / enhance customer perception of the brand and creates positive associations with it
  • Music can help to control the emotions and moods of customers, and their associated behaviours
  • Music has the potential to both reduce or increase the length of time spent by customers in your venue
  • Music boosts your staff’s morale, productivity and efficiency levels
  • Music can create a desired atmosphere and ambiance and can be tailored to correlate with your brand identity

Ever walked into a hotel and experienced a wave of emotion wash over you, without consciously realising exactly what it was? Or sat in the coffee shop for ages, watching people come and go, feeling you’ve just arrived but time has, in actual fact, flown? Or listened to a song in a bar and it’s flooded you with nostalgic memories that are so alive? This is because music subconsciously, often without us knowing, affects our moods, energy levels, memory recall and even our behaviour. It can heighten our sense of connection to people, experiences and spaces, including businesses, especially within the hospitality industry.  

If customers have a negative perception of your brand, they are not going to want to spend a significant amount of time in your store or restaurant, and thus spend more money. Get the background music spot-on, and your customers’ positive perceptions of your brand will lead them to stay longer, and spend more.

There’s been an abundance of research over the last few decades about the value of music in business and its relationship to business performance. However, it may still come as a surprise for some business owners that music is thus an essential element to take into consideration, despite it often still being underestimated, undervalued and underused.

In the saturated market we live in, businesses are regularly on the look our for innovative ways to boost their brand for it to stand out, often the simpler, the better. Usually when thinking of the components that create a brand, or customer experience, visual elements such as logo, signage, colours, textures are taken into account. The role of music in establishing an identity is too often overlooked, especially as it’s a cost-effective and direct way to establish a desired outcomes.

Here at Ambie, we’re passionate about all things music! We’re here to help you and your business understand the deep-rooted advantages of incorporating tailored music into your overall brand strategy as well as highlight how music can create and uphold your customer experience and overall perception of your business, which ultimately impacts your bottom line. Tune in below…

Background music can impact how a customer feels, thinks and even spends in your venue

How background music can impact your customer experience

First impressions last! Judgments are being made based on perceptions, and impressions formed all the time, which cannot be helped / stopped, especially when it’s about your business, service or offering.

“You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression – James Uleman, PhD, a psychology professor at New York University

Daniel Kahenman (Nobel-winning Rockstar of Behavioural Psychology), explains how it only takes one negative event (in the experiencing self) to ruin a person’s perception of an entire experience (in the remembering self) in his famous TED talk of over 6million views. Kahenman’s words “what we get to keep from our experiences are our stories about the event / interaction.” This is such a powerful motivation for businesses to keep in mind, each and every time they interact with their customers, clients and guests, they need to make every effort that it’s positive, engaging, constructive and memorable, both tangibly and intangibly. From the moment a customer walks through the door, to the moment they leave – every step of the customer journey and touchpoint needs to add value whilst the experience is being experienced.

How is your business background music building a positive customer experience?

FACT FINDER: How music impacts customer experience (Source: BrandChannel, MarketingCharts)

Music is central in building positive customer and guest experiences. According to research by MarketingCharts, 81% of consumers say that business background music lifts their mood, while 71% say it creates a better atmosphere overall. And when customers feel good in a space – they act different within it. Did you know that simply playing music that consumers enjoy makes them 24% more likely to buy a product? It’s no wonder why 84% of organisations who focus on improving customer experience report increased revenue

How background music can build your brand identity 

We’re living in a overly-saturated world, with an explosion of choices when it comes to hotels, bars, pubs, restaurants, event spaces, and now, even working spaces! For customers, the choice where to start looking is often overwhelming, however for businesses and brands, standing out and being top of mind is ever-so important in order to survive and thrive.

Bring another dimension to your brand identity by adding music to your brand, be it in the form of background music tailored to your space and brand DNA. By picking the right playlists, you can better communicate and amplify your brand personality to your customers, clients and guests. To develop an effective audio branding strategy, you have to first identify auditory components that best communicate your brand values and evoke the appropriate emotions, then implement them across customer touchpoints to ensure a consistent brand experience.

Music in Andaz wine lounge

With so much emphasis on visual identity, it seems like music may be the winning piece of the puzzle. We, as business owners, all too often forget the vital role of sound in establishing identity too. It’s no surprise that according to Brand Channel, 96% of brands who use music that fit their identity are more likely to be recalled by consumers. With so much to gain, it’s a surprise that 60% of businesses have not yet identified their brand sounds, especially that playing brand-matched music over a generic mix of songs could see sales increase by 9% (HUI Research experiment).

How does your sound identity help you stand out  from competitors?

FACT FINDER: How music impacts your brand (Source: BrandChannel, Sounds Like Branding and HUI Research)

How background music can foster customer loyalty and retention

A happy customer is a returning customer. Customer loyalty can not be bought, contrived or faked. If a customer has a negative experience or association with a particular brand / organisation, chances are very high that they will look around for an alternative, as it’s very challenging to remove that blemish, so to speak.

Did you know that acquiring a new customer costs around 6X more than retaining an existing one? Plus, you’re 50% more likely to make a sale to that existing customer if they’re satisfied with your offering and have a positive perception and association of what they’ll be receiving, especially in the hospitality arena.

A ‘sticky’ customer-base can be an easy win when it comes to maintaining sales volume and traffic through the door. However, there’s no opportunity for businesses to become slack, taking their loyal customers for granted; securing the ongoing the trust of these customers is business critical and does require continuous effort and innovation.

Music can be a meaningful layer of this strategy. The right soundtrack can speak the language of your customer base; resonating with their values, tastes and aspirations. It can increase a person’s sense of belonging to a brand, plus their likelihood of returning. You know that feeling, when you’re so comfortable in a restaurant you love – from the food to the customer service, to the ambiance and overall environment, it gives you all the reasons to keep returning again and again.

Music is a direct and cost-effective way of establishing mood and building rapport with your target market. The right soundtrack can ‘speak the language’ of your customer base; resonating with their values, tastes and aspirations.

A study from Music Works found that 31% of consumers said they would return to a business if the music was right. 21% said they would also recommend that business, which is massive in securing prospective new customers, who will ultimately be converted into loyal, retained customers. This explains why over two thirds of business owners claim that music encourages repeat business. Music makes your ideal customers feel welcomed when they enter, understood once inside, and so more likely to return when they leave. 

Does your music match the taste and values of your customers and clients?

FACT FINDER: How music impacts client loyalty (Source: Music Works)

How background music can maximise sales revenue 

Reflect back to the last time you were sat in a bar with a large group of friends. Think about the ambiance, the background music, the warmth and energy exuding from the various intertwined sounds. Something which can’t be replicated, right? Now envision, sitting in the same venue with no background music, it would be a vastly different experience, perhaps less inviting for you to extend your time there with another cocktail, or two perhaps? And, gone is the opportunity to maximise sales with customers already in your establishment there and then!

It’s understandable that businesses want to see ROI when investing in technology or products to serve the business. It is a harder sell to the MD, CEO or FD when the value is hard to quantify. Your business background music brings many intangible benefits – increased brand awareness, customer experience, loyalty. But when it comes to the lifeblood of your business – sales – is there a measurable difference? 

Yes, there certainly is! In a landmark Milliman study, he proved how playing slower music reduced the speed at which customers moved through a store. But the most interesting take away? He also recorded  this change in customer behaviour led to as 38% sales increase. Interestingly, Millian was one of the first to connect music to customer behaviour, but he was not the last:

  • Cain-Smith and Curnow demonstrated how music volume could affect traffic through a shopping centre.
  • Caldwell and Hibbert connected a slow tempo to increased dwell-time and drink purchases.
  • Knöferle revealed how minor musical keys could drive additional spend in some contexts.
  • HUI Research found that brand-matched music in the food and beverage sector could boost sales by 9%. 
  • Texan study found certain genres could trigger more expensive purchasing decisions.

Therefore, it’s evident that music has the potential to influence and affect customer behaviour; either to aid in achieving business objectives or on the flipside, interfere or ruin them. It makes sense that businesses put in some time, effort and resource to thinking about the music which matches their identity, tone of voice and perception they want to portray, and then strategise how best to make this happen in the most cost effective and efficient way possible. Opportunities to impress and sell to customers are fleeting and becoming harder to close, so businesses have to be on the ball and take every occasion possible where they can rightly connect and engage with its target audience, now and in the future.

Unfortunately  there’s no universal musical shortcut for securing skyrocketing sales. But when music is coupled with your overall goals for a space (whether increasing footfall, encouraging dwell or even boosting food and beverage purchases), it can have a quantifiable impact on the bottom line.

How can music better help you reach your sale targets? 

FACT FINDER: How music impacts sales revenue (Source: Milliman ‘Using Background Music to Affect the Behavior of Supermarket Shoppers, HUI Research report and Knoferle ‘It is all in the mix: The interactive effect of music tempo and mode on in-store sales)

How background music can enhances staff productivity

If someone were to ask what drives a business, on the whole, the answer would be customers. Because without customers, there is no business, right? However, in equal measure, if not greater importance, employees and staff actually make a business, as they are the cogs which in fact make the business tick on a daily basis. Organisations need to remember that their employees are in actual fact their first and most important customers, so to speak.

So, with this in mind, it’s imperative to remember your staff when it comes to considering the impact of background music in your hospitality venue, hotel, bar, restaurant etc. And while there are many strategies and techniques to improve staff productivity, music can be one of the simplest changes to implement as it has such a direct impact on morale, mood and productivity. 

During working hours / opening hours of any business, the staff who are constantly in contact with customers, clients, suppliers and partners are critical to the whole operation. They have the power to make or break any relationship which has been built, as well as the ability to change the company’s reputation. This can be very empowering for a business, if employees are engaged, happy and treated well. However, the opposite is true too.

The moods and morale of staff will impact all those who come into contact with them, as well as productivity and performance levels. As mentioned above, music is one element which can be powerful when it comes to staff behaviour. Regular change of playlists is of high importance as listening to the same music may irritate even the most quiet person. In addition, the right type of music also needs to be right for the staff, so rap and heavy metal wouldn’t work in a hotel’s lounge during an afternoon tea where staff would struggle to speak to the guests.

A recent MusicWorks and Mindlab study found that a whopping 81% of staff performed better when listening to music. The cause for this productivity boost, according to additional studies, is attributed to the mood enhancing properties of music. This explains why 74% of employees who like music enjoy going to work when good music is played. And why 75% of business owners believe allowing staff to listen to music helps with team bonding.

Watch the video below to find out more… 

Music is an incredibly powerful management tool in increasing the efficiency of a workforce. It can exert a highly beneficial influence over employee morale and motivation, helping enhance output and even boosting a company’s bottom line.

How does your business background music keep employees happy and hardworking?

FACT FINDER: How music impacts employee happiness and productivity (Source: Music Works and MindLabs)

Sounds good? Time to tune into the importance of YOUR background music

So, how do you use background music in your business? Is it impacting and enhancing your customer experience, or it’s just another dragging point on your long to-do list?

Well, it’s hard to argue with the stats, right? Music is indeed impressive for businesses in more ways than one, and they can only flourish from here on out. The bottom line has the potential to multiply as soon as the customer experience is impeccable, staff are engaged and enthusiastic, customers are loyal and patriotic, sales are proliferating all whilst remaining true to the brand, its identity, objectives and core values.

Here at Ambie, we’re passionate about all things music! We partner with thousands of hospitality brands around the world helping them achieve more through the power of music. Our unique blend of human expertise and smart technology delivers a tailored, on-brand and up-to-date soundtrack for businesses, with zero hassle! Sound like something you could benefit from? Simply get in touch for a chat with one of our Music Specialists.

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