How to tackle lack of music consistency because staff have too much control

One of the biggest pain-points our team here at Ambie hear time and again, is that there is often such a lack of consistency when it comes to music in their hotel, restaurant, bar, pub or venue. The genre and style of music do not always compliment the type of business, customers or time of day. It is often reliant on who is in charge, who is on shift at what times, and what’s trending at the time.

For some businesses there is very little strategy when it comes to their music, building their brand and creating a desired perception or reputation. There’s nobody to blame, as often music in business is seen as a nice to have, auxiliary element of the overall business puzzle. Understandably, it may be harder to gauge the ROI when investing time, resources and money into getting the background music right, as opposed to measuring sales of a particular brand of beer for example. 

Alongside this lack of consistency because who is in control, the big question remains, how much control should staff have over the music? Should it be centralised to the HQ, one specific team or the on-site manager, or should there be some localisation with input from the staff members, or just let the staff manage it overall? Again, there is no right or wrong answer, but what matter’s is if the music playing is enhancing the overall customer experience, is it engaging and increasing the productivity of its staff, is it complimentary to the brand and values, and does it match the tone of voice?

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The importance of music consistency

Music is a competitive tool for business owners. The right music will have a positive impact on customer behaviour, retention rates, peoples’ moods, the brand identity and image, and ultimately, the overall experience. Consistency is key when it comes to music. This does not mean playing the same music on repeat day in and day out, it is about having playlists which compliment what you’re about, what ambiance you are trying to set and what goes down well with your customer base. Loud heavy metal or rock does not fit a boutique hotel serving an afternoon high tea, for example.

If you have multiple outlets then each of them will need to be reflecting the brand and its soundtrack in the same way. Even if you have only one site, having consistency of brand sound and feel on each day of the week, or in each room of the site, is equally as important. 

As we’re living in a world saturated with a plethora of choices when it comes to hotels, bars, pubs and restaurants, it’s so important for these hospitality spaces need to make a lasting impression, and consistency plays a fundamental part in this process. 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. Another dimension which adds consistency and uniformity to your brand identity is 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 and ensure a consistent brand experience.

Music creates a consistent ambiance and atmosphere throughout the Manor. With each area having a different purpose and complimentary feel, tailored consistent playlists for each zone have helped enhance the guest experience by ensuring they’re comfortable in the environment, looked after and feel special. 

Stephen Fearnley, General Manager at Billesley Manor

Who is in control of your music? 

It goes without saying that each business is different, some prefer handing full control over and letting a music service curate and schedule all their playlists, some like to keep it in-house with a centralised team such as Operations, where others like to do it on-site so they can control the music in the moment. This can either be done by the manager or by giving staff the reins and autonomy to take control and change songs as and when they feel is best. Whichever route is chosen, it’s so important to ensure all the music compliments the brand and the experience they’re aiming to uphold.

One of the most common pain points we hear from our customers is that it is all good and well to allow music to be localised and controlled by the staff members themselves, however this brings a lot of subjectivity especially as each member of the team will have different tastes when it comes to genre and often this excludes any opportunity for brand consistency, especially when trying to build a specific experience and tone of voice. Giving over full control may lead to a diluted identity where the music may not be on brand or suite the business and clientele, or it can be great if done with the company in mind. In order for there to be consistent music which is on-brand and speaks the language of the business, no matter if it’s one venue or 100, a centralised music service agency will automatically manage and schedule all curated music and playlists in order to ensure the experience and ambiance is always on target.

However, if a music aficionado or enthusiast in-house takes control and manages the music selection, then a localised approach can be effective. This flexibility and carte blanch certainly does work, especially for smaller businesses. However, this responsibility needs to be factored in from the get-go, so there is relevant music played all the time, and not chosen out of desperation or for personal gain.

When curators design tailored playlists based on client briefings, the selected music will be carefully chosen contributing to the business goals – customer retention, motivation, engagement, revenue generation –  whilst smart technology ensures the sound remains fresh, relevant and up-to-date. If you opt for Head Office control, a dedicated dashboard will enable you to monitor and manage the music across all your spaces. If you opt for On-Site control, selected managers get the control and flexibility needed to reflect their unique environment, whilst protecting your brand.

Ambie hotel music at the Andaz

Customer success story: Notes Coffee Shop – taking control of music across multiple stores

Notes isn’t just your run-of-the mill coffee shop. It is a collection of coffee shops and bars serving Notes speciality coffee, craft beers, well-chosen wines and classic cocktails, all with a signature Notes twist. According to Fabio (Founder of Notes), music has always been at the heart and soul of the Notes brand. Initially “Spotify was great, but as the business grew, it didn’t give me the control my business desperately needed.” With several new openings, Fabio was faced with a challenge: how to monitor the music and make sure my staff hadn’t taken the music into their own hands.

Notes brought in Ambie as their music solution to curate and handle all the music cross-locations and during multiple different trading patterns. This freed up time for the management team to focus on actually growing the business rather than spending endless time creating individual playlists for different moods, events, etc.

Ambie truly understood the importance of music consistency across the brand, it’s multiple locations and when the store is a coffee shop versus a wine shop and how the ambiance needs to reflect this at all times. Ambie took on board their values, business objectives and goals, and created and scheduled ongoing music to ensure brand consistency, as well as create a certain mood and atmosphere.

Ambie has created music consistency for our brand across all our locations and stopped staff being able to affect playlists.

Fabio, Founder of Notes Coffee Shop
At Ambie, we’re about all things music, and the right music! We believe so strongly that tailored music which is on brand and speaks the language of your business, is so critical for organisational success. Our team of experts are here to guide you along your journey to finding the perfect, tailored music for your business. Find out more.