This year celebrates Muzak's 75th anniversary in business. They decided to hold a conference to have a focused discussion on the art, science and sound of music branding. The discussion explored the transformation of music, the music industry, and music branding—from legal to cultural considerations, media consumption to retail behavior.
From a designer's perspective, it was very eye opening to realize how important music relates to the target audience and how it really helps to reinforce the message, style, and emotions created within a brand. I had never really put stock in what types of music the target audience of my brand would listen to or even create. But looking back, I now realize that most of the information I was receiving about a target audience was directly influenced by the types of music that is both listened to and created within different demographics. Music is a unifying theme in all circles and can even break bounds and connect very different groups of people by evoking emotion and creating memories. I really enjoyed the talk by Steve Ryan, a Partner at VSA Partners in Chicago and who also currently holds the position of president of AIGA Chicago. He spoke about the music industry from an agency perspective and how music not only influences a brands message, but how brands can help to influence a community. An example he discussed was how Converse's brand has really been created and maintained by the customer and the many communities it has been adopted into. The power of the brand comes directly from these customers. Many of the people who support the converse brand live in very creative communities that are innovating art, music, and trends.
So what happens if a brand is not so lucky to be adopted, supported, and innovated like Converse? Steve discussed that rather than a brand trying to fit themselves into a demographic through advertising directly to this demographic, and trying to make the brand fit, why not support the customer in their ventures in art, music, etc. by sponsoring them in their efforts. For example Mountain Dew's marketing campaign/music label, Green Label Sound, has helped support band's such as The Cool Kids, Chromeo, and Matt and Kim. The goal of the label is not to push Mountain Dew as a product but to support up-and-coming artists in a way that they still have their creative independence.
A big thanks to our client, Muzak, for involving Union (formerly Studiobanks) in this conference. It was very well put together and served as a great learning experience for our team.