Sonic Branding in Retail

by MassiveMusic



Wide shot of mall
Wide shot of mall
Wide shot of mall

Turning up the volume on your retail brand

We already know how powerful music is. It can motivate you to get that final project done, or it can help you relax after a busy day. Music is a loyal companion on your trip to work, or your energy booster when you’re at the gym.

However, that’s not all music can do. For retailers, music can have additional functions and benefits. Fancy a read?

Music: The Ultimate Influencer

We’re not talking #influencer, #selfie, #sponsored, but music as an influencer of customer behaviour. Music and sound can put customers in the right mood which, in turn, increases the time and money spent at your shop or restaurant. Enhancing your customer experience is possible when done through music in a strategic way.

Imagine this: you’re attempting to make your way through a crowded store. Everyone is going left and right and, on top of that, the music is loud and fast-paced. Your heart starts beating faster too, matching the beat of the music. You move around the store and try to find what you’re looking for, but the upbeat music is too distracting and definitely doesn’t help you relax.

How do you think music influenced your shopping experience in this case?

Studies show that customers find a shopping experience more pleasant if the music’s tempo matches how crowded the store is. Slow music, for example, works best if the store is crowded. Don’t you think the scenario described above would have been a lot nicer with slow music underneath?

A simple solution would be to match music choices to the time of day: relaxing music for when people get off work, and uptempo beats if they shop in the morning. Even better if you have insights about your audience’s preferences and can adjust accordingly. Overall, creating the right vibe is crucial if you want to influence their behaviour.

Take the work we did for Selfridges, a high-end department store in the UK. We analysed the customer demographics and different sections of the store and eventually came up with various playlists that kept everyone’s heads nodding, improving their shopping experience. By influencing their behaviour through music, Selfridges was able to generate more sales, growing from £810 million in 2019 to £853 million in 2020.

Oh and, no matter what you do, don’t let your employees decide which music to play. Even if they’re begging to play the new Bruno Mars song because “it’s a TikTok trend”, we think you should know that employees’ music choices can reduce sales by as much as 6%. Sorry Barry in accounting, you lost radio privileges after the 3rd replay of Uptown Funk.

Turning Up the Volume on Your Brand

With the rise of the Internet and those big, ol’ heavy boxes we decided to call computers, customers have started to move from the offline world to the online world. Brands were forced to follow their customers into this new dimension and were immediately faced with the challenge: how can we connect with customers who can’t touch, taste or smell the products they’re buying?

New digital environments call for new tactics. Enter: sonic branding.

While it’s true that you can’t touch, taste or smell products through your laptop, you’re perfectly capable of turning up the volume. Here at MassiveMusic, we understand the importance of audio in the customer journey and know how to create a sonic identity that doesn’t just work in the offline world, but can also be adapted to the digital environment.

With the online world moving faster than ever, music is a flexible brand asset that works to accelerate your brand’s physical-to-digital transformation, instead of slowing it down.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours

Today’s fast-paced world requires flexibility and easy adaptation of brand assets. However, it also requires speed – ever heard of Lightning McQueen? Yep, that kind of speed.

Music and soundtracks need to be delivered faster than ever. If you don’t hop on a trend right away, it’ll already be over before you know it.

At MassiveMusic, our creative minds work so smoothly that we can deliver soundtracks in the blink of an eye. Found a cool song that you’d like to licence for your commercial? Easy like Sunday morning. Want a bespoke music track that cuts through the clutter and reaches your customers in a new, innovative way? Consider it done.

For example, when German supermarket chain Kaufland came to us with the need for a bespoke soundtrack that would (a) fit their brand and (b) be unique, we stepped in and delivered. The result was a bangin’ music production in line with Gen Z’s music taste and preferences, the targeted audience the brand had in mind for this specific campaign.

  • 1. Influence time and spend of your customers

    Using directional audio technology could help drive attention and interest of buyers to specific areas, products, promotions or guide them through a specific retail route. A highly-targeted music direction can also make a difference. For instance, as part of The Sound of O2, we guaranteed curated playlists for their retail stores. The result? They grew from 34,5 million subscribers in 2019 to 36,2 million connections in 2020.

  • 2. Offer an enhanced multisensorial brand experience in digital environments

    Ask yourself: how can we best connect with customers that prefer the digital experience? An ownable sonic brand identity, that is also consistent with what you have offline, could be the solution you’re looking for.

  • 3. Find yourself a music partner (wink wink) who can deliver music and sound in a fast and effective way

    Been there, done that. Sales activation campaigns require the capacity to deliver new music sooner than ASAP. We at MassiveMusic can do that with our eyes closed (ears are open 24/7).

  • 4. Build brand equity and amplify the reach of your advertising

    Stay top of mind with your customers so they can think of you, even subconsciously, every time they need to go shopping.


    Remember that sound is a crucial sensory layer of retail experiences and sonic branding a key tool to enhance them and boost perceived brand image. Research shows that music & sound not only can enhance the experiences of customers, improving brand image perceptions, but even the perceived quality of products and services. Not to mention that sonic cues are the most underused (yet most effective) assets to capture your audience’s attention.

So, what are you waiting for?

Want to start exploring the world of music & sound to grow your retail brand?

Look no further.