Dr. Bradly Vines, Director Neuroscience Europe at Nielsen writes that influencer marketing is one of the industry’s trendy flavors. Connecting consumers with brands through the voices (and images and videos) of celebrities. Or through anyone with influence. Our recent research, however, reveals that there’s an old-school component to ads that acts much like an influencer: music.
Neuroscience shows us that, when used correctly, music can put viewers and listeners in a more positive mood, leading to a greater reliance on intuition and a reduction in both critical thought and focus on detail. This “fluid processing” is an ideal state of mind for processing advertising that brands should be seeking when communicating with consumers.
The familiarity that consumers feel with some music also helps to engage memory frameworks, bringing to the brand familiar and positive associations already in place in the minds of consumers. Of course, not all familiarity is positive familiarity. The wrong music can trigger associations that are not in line with core brand values and can overshadow the brand if it is the wrong song, or it may even date the communication.
A value, like trust, can be difficult to communicate and measure with traditional research tools. Much of the perception of trust is nonconscious, so measuring it accurately can only be derived with technology that can measure the nonconscious impact.
It’s no secret that music licenses can be expensive. Brands, of course, want to know whether such an investment will be worth the return. Another client, this time one of our beverage clients, wanted to test such a scenario. In short, would a well-known pop song be worth significantly greater investment than a song created just for the ad? It was a quarter-million-dollar question for the brand team.
Using the tools of neuroscience, Vines found that the pop song increased attention, emotion and memory by 20 percent. Additionally, the neurological wear-in score showed that the pop song delivered a significant increase in effectiveness over multiple viewings, meaning that consumers engaged more with the ad the more they viewed and heard it. In Vines’ experience, this is a difficult feat to accomplish!
The important takeaway is that every situation, every ad and every brand is different. Our brains will react differently to different songs in different contextual environments. But only when you can access this deep layer of thinking can you truly understand – how does sound influence us? And that is a question worth answering.
Source: Vines, B., Dr. (2017, November 29). The Celebrity Power of Music in Advertisements. Nielsen.