The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Advertising thro’ music the Bates way


Rajeev Raja jamming with the Bates band

“How would someone who is blind perceive your brand?” The question was posed by a visiting former Creative Director of Bates India and co-founder of BrandMusiq in Mumbai, to an audience of senior marketing people from among Bates’ clients this week. It set the tone for a unique presentation on how brands are perceived through music and sound. Bates Strategic Alliance hosted their clients for a presentation and discussion on ‘Sonic Branding’ a technique that aims to define and express a brand through another untapped branding medium – music. According to the ad company, the session was conducted by Rajeev Raja, a musician and adman with over 25 years of experience in the industry, who is doing some pioneering work in the field of branding through music.

Mr Raja, a jazz flautist, began the session by urging the audience to close their eyes, as he played a piece of music on his flute, and consider the imagery that the music brought to mind. “As the marketers revealed the imagery that they each visualized, the salient learning was that music creates imagery and evokes emotions – both important to advertising and branding – and that these could be broadly similar among an audience,” the agency said in a media statement.

“That is the power of music” explained Mr Raja, “It communicates both vivid imagery and emotion and is consistent – a piece of music heard by different people could inspire a similar reaction. These two characteristics make it a very powerful tool for defining and communicating the brand identity.”

Mr Raja explained that the way that advertisers produce music for their brands is fundamentally flawed. Usually music tracks are created for TV commercials to fit the particular commercial and not the brand. It is only at the point of creating a TV commercial or a radio jingle that the music is decided upon.

“This methodology doesn’t allow you to create a strong sonic identity for the brand,” he elaborated. According to him, a ‘Soundscape’ is a musical track that is about 3-4 minutes long, expressing the brand’s persona, emotions and values.The ‘Soundscape’ also has a musical signature or logo, or ‘Mogo’ as he has named it, embedded in the music.

The ‘Mogo’ is a memorable cadence that people connect with the brand whenever they hear it, and it encapsulates the brand concisely and acts as the sonic equivalent of a logo. Mr Raja used a Coca-Cola case study where a 5-note musical signature had been done for the “Open Happiness” campaign, which then went on to get used widely on having been subtly woven into different commercials and various types of other executions. Coke then took it to the next level when they subtly incorporated it into the song “Wavin’ Flag” by the Somali-born, Canadian recording artist K’naan, and released the remix during the 2010 World Cup with a music video.

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