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Advertising Audience Insights Branding

Round 3 Results Part 2

 Back to Bracket

Capital One vs. Coca-Cola


Marketing powerhouses Capital One and Coca-Cola gave us the tightest match yet of the tournament: after viewing the ad, Capital One’s spot featuring “I Will Survive” with Samuel L. Jackson, Charles Barkley, Spike Lee, and surprise guest Gloria Gaynor, was TIED for Purchase Intent with Coca Cola’s Cinderella ad featuring a waltz.

The referees huddled and went to the tie-breaker.  After careful review of the videotape and the data, they announced the results: after viewing the ads, intent to use Capital One went up nine points from prior to viewing the ad, whereas for Coca-Cola it went down two points!

For Tournament Viewers, the post-exposure intent scores were much higher. Capital One had a post-exposure intent score of 84 while Coke had a post-exposure intent score of 83.

Males showed a much stronger intent to purchase Coca-Cola than Females: eight points higher!  Males’ intent to purchase Capital One was also higher than females, but only by three points. Overall, females showed a small preference for the Capital One ad whereas the male demographic showed a preference for the Coca-Cola ad. The younger demographic gave both Coca-Cola and Capital One 80s for intent and the older demographic gave them both 72s.

Final Overtime Score: Capital One 84, Coca-Cola 73

Categories
Advertising Audience Insights Branding

Round 3 Results Part 1

 Back to Bracket

Semifinals Overview


In the semifinals, matches are decided by Purchase Intent: how likely are panelists to buy the good or service after being exposed to the ad? In case of a tie, matches will be decided by the difference between intent pre– and post-exposure. Pre-exposure intent measures how a panelist feels about a brand before any exposure to a specific ad, while post-exposure intent (obviously) measures the intent after exposure. 

The Semifinal matchups are:

  • Funny and Sexy vs. Inspiring and Emotional, with Reese’s Spring Song and Infiniti’s “Hardwood Heroes: Unbustable” (Today, March 30)
  • Classy and simple music vs. music used as comedy, with Coca-Cola and Capital One (Friday, March 31)

Reese’s vs. Infiniti

The smart money had Reese’s taking this match, with Infiniti’s inspirational cancer survivors pushing it to the end, on the theory that the seductive sweets receive far more daily consideration than luxury automobiles.

Inifiniti’s Hardwood Heroes did perform well: they pushed Infiniti to a remarkable 18-point swing in Purchase Intent!

In spite of Infiniti’s improvement, it simply started with too big a deficit to overcome.  In fact, Reese’s jumped out to an early lead and never relinquished it, recording a 10-point win in Purchase Intent.

The Reese’s spot worked particularly well with Tournament Watchers, who gave Reese’s an intent score that was two points higher than the general population score.

Males and Females shared similar purchase intent for both brands. Purchase intent for Females was 1 point higher than Males for both brands.

Millennials on the other hand had a Purchase Intent score for Reese’s that was three points higher than the older demographic (36-55+). Perhaps they have a bigger sweet tooth? Or those smooth jams really enticed them! The same demographic split played out with Infiniti, with the younger demo scoring the ad eight points higher than the older group.

Final Score: Reese’s 84, Infiniti 74

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Audience Insights Branding

Introducing the QSR Index

Veritonic QSR Index

Veritonic Index of Brand Effectiveness

The Top Quick-Serve Restaurant Advertisers

 
As one of the biggest ad spenders, the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry is a bellwether of the advertising industry. Veritonic has used its technology to evaluate a curated set of ads from each company to come up with a metric for the overall performance of the QSR industry’s advertising.

[visualizer id=”839″]

Source: Veritonic QSR Index Survey. ©2017 Veritonic, Inc.

Key Takeaways

 
A few trends are immediately obvious.

First, the scores for any one brand may vary dramatically from quarter to quarter. Dunkin Donuts, for instance, moved from a 70 in Q3 to a 65 in Q4. This reflects the challenges that marketers at these companies face. Consistently crafting compelling and engaging messages is really, really hard. Add in the hard reality of continuously changing consumer preferences, and a tough competitive set, and it’s no surprise that a brand’s marketing performance will vary.

Second, the average scored moved DOWN in Q4. This may be a reflection of the Olympics as much as anything: some major QSR brands, including Subway and McDonalds, were on-air near constantly during the Olympics, with highly aspirational brand ads that scored really well in Veritonic’s index. It’s not a shock that brand ads, focused on reinforcing each brand’s key messages and values, performed better — in some cases, substantially better — than product or promotional spots. (“Come in now for a limited time value menu!”)

Veritonic QSR Index Average

Lastly, not all brands are good at conveying their brand values in media. The lowest performer in our index is Starbucks, which (perhaps) spends more focus on their in-store experience than on marketing. They also spend relatively less than some of these other brands. In 2016, for instance, Starbucks spent approximately $387MM on Marketing, which is about 1.8% of their overall sales.

McDonalds, by contrast, spends almost 80% more relative it’s size, with about 3.2% of revenue going back into marketing. (That’s over $800MM.)

Methodology

 
Over 3000 panelists were surveyed beginning in July, 2016. The panel was carefully modeled to reflect US Census-representative distributions of age, gender, ethnicity and race. Household income and data about a variety of other demographic and psychographic factors were also collected.

Panelists were asked to record their emotions as the ads played. Panelists were then asked about a generalized basket of other feelings and associations the music and ads evoked.

All emotions and engagement were tracked using Veritonic’s patent-pending EchoTime™ technology.

Finally, scores were calculated using a proprietary algorithm that combines emotional response, engagement, and Veritonic’s EchoTime™ data.

Up to 2 ads from each brand were selected for evaluation. Ads were assigned to the quarter closest to when they launched, and thus not every brand was evaluated in each quarter.

Individual Results

Ads Brands Overall Excited Happy Authentic [stag_icon icon=”sort”]
QSR Index of Brand Effectiveness — Average Scores
69
74
77
65
[stag_icon icon=”caret-down”] 1
Burger King
71
78
83
65
[stag_icon icon=”caret-up”] 2
Subway
71
76
78
65
[stag_icon icon=”caret-up”] 4
Chipotle
70
76
82
65
[stag_icon icon=”minus”]
Arby’s
70
78
78
68
[stag_icon icon=”minus”]
KFC
70
74
76
65
[stag_icon icon=”minus”]
This report includes detailed data for the top 5 brands tested. If you’d like details on other brands or attributes, or to have your brand analyzed, please contact us.
Wendy’s
70
76
80
65
[stag_icon icon=”caret-down”] 2
Taco Bell
69
74
74
64
[stag_icon icon=”minus”]
Jimmy John’s
69
76
78
65
[stag_icon icon=”minus”]
Panera Bread
68
72
78
68
[stag_icon icon=”minus”]
McDonald’s
68
74
76
65
[stag_icon icon=”sort”] 0
Pizza Hut
67
75
74
64
[stag_icon icon=”minus”]
Quiznos
67
74
74
62
[stag_icon icon=”minus”]
Dunkin Donuts
65
65
74
64
[stag_icon icon=”caret-down”] 5
Starbucks
59
60
74
65
[stag_icon icon=”minus”]

About Veritonic

 
Veritonic is the premier marketing analytics platform for sound. We help brands benchmark and test the emotional and demographic appeal of audio logos and other audio assets used for marketing, like music and voiceover. The Veritonic platform combines proprietary marketing response data with predictive algorithms and a unique demographic search engine giving our clients insight into how their audio content fits with specific marketing goals.

If you have questions about how your music and audio content stacks up to your competition, contact us.

If you have questions about the value of the music or audio content you are using in your marketing, contact us.

If you have questions about how to improve your music selection and the equity that your brand enjoys in music, contact us.

We turn audio files into valuable marketing assets.
 

Categories
Audience Insights Branding

Audio Logo Index 2016

Introduction

An audio logo is a series of sounds or musical notes that uniquely identifies a company, product or service to its target audience.  Call them jingles, mnenomics or sonic branding, these short progressions of notes or chords are one of the most powerful weapons in the marketer’s arsenal.  Research has shown time and time again the deep connections between music and brain, and it’s no surprise that some of the best marketers in the world take advantage of this to promote their brands.

Veritonic Audio Logo Index report Yet music, and specifically audio logos, remain under-appreciated by most marketers.

Why?  Simply put, measurement.  The subjectivity and complexity of music have traditionally defied easy categorization and measurement, and the time-based nature of music has further clouded the ability to measure music’s effectiveness.

Veritonic’s technology and methodology for evaluating and ranking music for marketers solves these problems.  With this report, Veritonic is sharing it’s proprietary framework for understanding and evaluating the impact of audio logos in the market.

We’ve applied our methodology to the top audio logos in the United States, and have some findings to share.  Some are obvious, at least on reflection; and we think some are less so — especially in light of the obvious ones.

This report includes detailed data for the top 5 audio logos. If you’d like details on the others, or to have your audio logo analyzed, please contact us.

To submit your audio logo for consideration in future editions of this survey, please contact us!

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Executive Summary

  • Marketing Spend: There is a strong correlation between marketing spend and the performance of audio logos.  The most successful audio logos generally (but not exclusively!) belong to the biggest marketers.
  • Longevity Counts:  Most of the strongest performers in our Index have been in-market for a considerable amount of time.  Some have even been in use for decades.
  • Industry Performance: There is a wide variation by industry in the performance of audio logos. Some industries performed as well as one would expect.  But one industry in particular, which is known for having tremendous marketing budgets, performed very poorly in our standings.
  • Words Matter: There are many variables that impact the performance of an audio logo.  One of those variables is whether or not the audio logo has a spoken component.  We found that those audio logos with a verbal component strongly outperformed those without a verbal component.
  • Consider Branding: Audio logos that include the name of the brand in either a spoken or sung fashion tend to outperform audio logos that are purely musical in nature, or that don’t include the name of the brand.

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Methodology

Over 2600 panelists were surveyed beginning on October 1, 2016.  The panel was carefully modeled to reflect US Census-representative distributions of age, gender, ethnicity and race.  Household income and data about a variety of other demographic and psychographic factors were also collected.

Audio logos were selected for testing from the Interbrand Best Global Brands of 2016, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and the S&P 500.  Only audio logos of brands with a significant US presence were evaluated.  For comparison purposes, control or “ghost level” audio logos were included in the evaluation.  These ghost levels consisted of professionally composed audio logos that were considered for major national and international brands, but were not selected and have never before been released to the public.

Panelists were asked to record their emotions as the audio logos played.  Panelists were then asked about a generalized basket of other feelings and associations the music evoked, including brands they may associate with the audio logos.  Panelists were contacted 48 hours later to test recall of the audio logos, and engagement with the audio logos was tracked throughout.

All emotions and engagement were tracked using Veritonic’s patent-pending EchoTime™ technology.

Finally, scores were calculated using a proprietary algorithm that combines emotional response, 48-hour recall, and Veritonic’s EchoTime™ data.

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Key Findings

Key Findings from the Veritonic Audio Logo Index

Correlation with Spend

It’s not a huge surprise that overall scores appear to be correlated with marketing spend.  Though the exact budget numbers aren’t publicly available, it’s safe to assume that Nationwide, Farmers Insurance and Intel are among the biggest marketers in the United States, if not the world.

Unaided Recall, with Veritonic EchoTime score

Longevity Counts

It’s also not a shock that some of the highest scoring audio logos have been in the market for 20+ years. Intel’s famous chimes were launched in 1994, as part of the launch of a TV branding campaign. Of course, this also reflects the marketing spend of Intel.

A side effect of longevity is repetition.  The “mere exposure effect” was demonstrated to increase the positive association with a piece of music as far back as the 1960s.  Audio logos by their very nature are prime candidates for benefiting from the mere exposure effect: after all, they are intended to be heard across every interaction with a target consumer.  Besides the fact that they’re often created by exceptionally talented composers, it’s also no surprise that many audio logos are referred to as “earworms.”

Interestingly, some audio logos that have been not been in front of consumers as much also scored well.  Green Giant’s famous “Ho-ho-ho, Green Giant” has been in the market since the early 1960s, despite a short hiatus in recent years.  And Folgers’ audio logo, another top-performing consumer brand in our survey, has been in market since 1984.

The takeaway here is that persistence counts.  Cumulative marketing spend can add up over many years.

Some Industries are Really Good at Audio Logos…

Really competitive markets breed really tough, innovative competitors.  It’s not a surprise then that an industry like financial services has developed some outstanding marketing tactics.   In fact, three of the top ten audio logos belong to P&C insurers (that’s home and car insurance to most of us): Nationwide, Farmers and Statefarm.

Veritonic Audio Logo Report Overall Score by Industry

…And Some Industries are Not So Good.

We’re looking at you, automotive marketers.

Overall Score verbal vs non-verbal

Words Matter

It’s not a huge surprise that audio logos with words scored better than those without.  After all, our brains are wired to recognize and process language. What is surprising is perhaps the magnitude of the difference.  In our survey, the average “verbal” audio logo fared over 14% better than the average non-verbal audio logo.

Consider Branding

On the other hand, audio logos with a branded verbal component also tend to outperform those without a branded verbal component, by an even larger margin: almost 30%.Overall Score branded vs unbranded The verbal audio logos we examined include some with the name of the brand (“Ho-Ho-Ho, Green Giant!”) and some without (“I’m lovin’ it!” for McDonald’s).  Of course, this doesn’t mean that every brand should automatically refresh their audio logo to include the name of the brand.  Some brands, especially those with a large international presence, seek more universal sounds, like Intel.
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Individual Results

1. Nationwide

Overall
87.2
Unaided Recall
92

Excited Happy Approachable Authentic Confident Empowering Innovative Likable Reputable Simple Trustworthy Unique
76 84 72 70 72 65 65 72 70 74 70 65

Our top-performing audio logo belongs to Nationwide Insurance.   The venerable audio logo is still going strong after more than half a century in action.  It’s a respectable performer in its ability to evoke Emotions and Feelings, generally in the upper quartile of audio logos we tested.  The top attribute in the Nationwide audio logo was the emotion of Happy, where it tied for 3rd — coincidentally with Statefarm, another P&C insurer.

The Nationwide audio logo really stands out, however, in 2 key areas: Unaided Recall and Engagement score. It had the top Unaided Recall score among the audio logos tested, by a significant margin. That the Nationwide audio logo would score this well isn’t a surprise, considering that Nationwide had enough confidence in the strength of their audio to engage in a gentle parody of it with spokesperson Peyton Manning last year (“Chicken parm/you taste so good…”).

Furthermore, the Nationwide audio logo was in the top decile of performers for Engagement.  The speed and pattern of the responses by panelists to the audio logo demonstrates how deeply planted the audio logo has become in panelists’ psyches.

2. Farmer’s Insurance

Overall
83.2
Unaided Recall
88

Excited Happy Approachable Authentic Confident Empowering Innovative Likable Reputable Simple Trustworthy Unique
78 80 82 74 76 74 70 70 76 74 74 74

Our second-best performer overall belongs to Farmers Insurance.  This relative newcomer (by on-air promotion, that is) has taken a slightly different route to the top than Nationwide: while it scores well for Unaided Recall and it’s in the 90th percentile for EchoTime™ Engagement, it succeeds in large part by strongly evoking key emotions and feelings.  For instance, it’s the top performer in evoking Trustworthiness and Uniqueness, and also shares the lead in being a top performer for Innovative and Empowering.

3. Intel

Overall
82.7
Unaided Recall
88

Excited Happy Approachable Authentic Confident Empowering Innovative Likable Reputable Simple Trustworthy Unique
80 78 72 74 74 70 70 70 74 74 72 72

This outstanding audio logo came in third overall in our Q3 rankings in large part because it “hits all the right notes.”  It ties for second place in Unaided Recall, and it’s near the top in Excited and in Engagement metrics.  However, the marketers at Intel will likely be most gratified to hear that the Intel tones tie for first for evoking the feeling of Innovative among audience members.

4. Green Giant

Overall
80.8
Unaided Recall
86

Excited Happy Approachable Authentic Confident Empowering Innovative Likable Reputable Simple Trustworthy Unique
76 86 76 78 74 68 68 74 76 76 76 74

The next-best performing audio logo is the classic Green Giant audio logo, which has been in market since the 1960s.  The Green Giant logo scored at the top for Authentic and Confident.  That said, this well-known audio logo may be showing its age: despite its obvious strengths, it only scored in the middle of the pack for Emotional Response data, notably for Excited. It also lagged behind the other top performers in Engagement.

5. Hot Pockets

Overall
80.5
Unaided Recall
85

Excited Happy Approachable Authentic Confident Empowering Innovative Likable Reputable Simple Trustworthy Unique
76 86 72 70 68 62 64 68 68 74 68 68

The Hot Pockets audio logo was a top performer, and introduces an element of branding — the “ding” of a microwave — that clearly evokes the process of delivering the product.  The Pavlovian sound is so distinctive that it actually has the best EchoTime score in our survey.  And everyone whose stomachs started rumbling as soon as they saw the brand name will be happy to hear that Hot Pockets’ audio logo also tied for the highest score in Happy.

6. McDonald’s

Overall
79.6
Unaided Recall
85

McDonald’s has been renowned for decades as a great marketer, so it’s no surprise to find them on this list. The “I’m Lovin’ It” campaign evokes great Excitement, and also has great Unaided Recall. Like many of the audio logos on this list, the sound has evolved somewhat over the years but its current iteration evokes a great deal of Excitement. In fact, it’s the sole leader for this attribute. It also ties for 3rd for Unaided Recall.

7. Chevy

Overall
79.5
Unaided Recall
88

Unlike many of its competitors, Chevy’s audio logo often plays at the start of advertising.  This strategy seems to work effectively, since it’s at the top of the rankings in the automotive sector.  While performing notably poorly in the Excited dimension, the audio logo scores quite highly for Trustworthy and Approachable, key attributes for a high-ticket product marketed as being dependable “like a rock.”

8. Folgers

Overall
79.5
Unaided Recall
86

The Folgers audio logo has been in-market for over 30 years, since 1984. Critical for a consumer packaged good (CPG) that’s seeking to be in every cupboard, it scores very well for Feelings like Approachable and Authentic.  It also successfully evokes Simple.  Reflecting the branded and verbal nature of the audio logo, it also has a very high Unaided Recall score, tying for third.

9. Statefarm

Overall
78.9
Unaided Recall
84

Another insurer, State Farm’s audio logo scores well across a number of dimensions but is not the leader in any one category in our survey. It evokes Happy, but is only in 9th place for Unaided Recall. Similarly, it’s in the 80th percentile for our EchoTime™ Engagement metric.

10. T-Mobile

Overall
77.4
Unaided Recall
82

T-Mobile’s distinctive chimes score reasonably well for the Emotions Happy and Excited.  While it’s only 10th for Unaided Recall, the tones are apparently very distinctive for those who do recall them: the audio logo is in the top decile for Engagement.

11. Autozone

Overall
77.2
Unaided Recall
82

Similar to T-Mobile, Autozone’s audio logo scores well for Happy and Excited.  It’s also in 10th place for Unaided Recall, while still being in the top decile for Engagement.  It’s also a strong performer for Confident.

12. The General

Overall
74.4
Unaided Recall
81

Another insurer, The General Insurance, takes 12th on our list.  It’s audio logo evokes the Emotion Happy.  It’s also perceived as one of the most Unique audio logos in our survey.  It’s in the second quartile for Unaided Recall, but is only in the 50th percentile for Engagement.

13. Duracell

Overall
73.4
Unaided Recall
80

Another longstanding audio logo, Duracell’s “Coppertop” audio logo is solidly in the second quartile of logos in our survey.  This is in spite of the fact that it scores below average for Happy.  While it does take 13th for Unaided Recall, it only scores in the 50th percentile for Engagement.

14. Meow Mix

Overall
67.6
Unaided Recall
76

Meow Mix’s eponymous audio logo scores well for the Emotion Happy, which is not a surprise given the close association with pets.  It ties for 6th for Approachable, and also scores highly for Reputable.  Perhaps because of its’ branded and verbal nature, it is in the second quartile for Unaided Recall.  However, the Meow Mix audio logo ranks near the bottom for Engagement.

15. Old Spice

Overall
66.7
Unaided Recall
72

Old Spice’s whistle successfully evokes Excited, perhaps the most important emotional component for a brand currently focusing its marketing on a younger male demographic.  It also ranks well for the Feeling of Likable.  While it only ranks 15th for Unaided Recall, the Engagement metric puts it in the 70th percentile.

16. AT&T

Overall
59.6
Unaided Recall
65

A brand very much in the news right now for its proposed acquisition of Time Warner, AT&T’s 4-note logo is relatively new in the market.  It ranks in the 2nd or 3rd quartile in most of the dimensions our survey covered, including Excited, Happy, Innovative and Unaided Recall.  The audio logo slightly outperforms on the Engagement metric, where it’s in the 70th percentile.

17. BAND-AID

Overall
59.6
Unaided Recall
68

A well known brand but not a prolific TV advertiser, BAND-AID’s audio logo may suffer from lower ad spend than many of the other brands on this list.  In fact, it performed well for most metrics evaluated.  The stark exception was that the audience perceived it as the least Exciting audio logo evaluated, tied with one of the Ghost Levels.

18. HomeAdvisor

Overall
57.3
Unaided Recall
64

One of the smaller brands tested, HomeAdvisor’s audio logo stacks up very favorably when measured on the basis of marketing dollars. The audio logo, featuring a chorus singing the name, evokes Happy and Confident. It also ranks in the top quartile for Confident, important for a brand acting as an intermediary for handyman and home renovation services. It scored in the second quartile for both Unaided Recall and Engagement, which makes sense given it’s smaller advertising budget and the relative newness of the audio logo.

19. Gillette

Overall
55.1
Unaided Recall
62

Gillette’s audio logo was relatively undistinguished in our survey.  It’s strongest performance was in Confident.  But it was only in the 2nd quartile for Engagement and Recall.

20. Little Caesar’s

Overall
49.1
Unaided Recall
54

Reintroduced in 2012, Little Caesar’s iconic “Pizza Pizza” tag line and audio logo may be struggling to break through to an audience that’s more fragmented than when this audio logo was last an essential part of the brand’s marketing.  It scores in the 4th quartile for Unaided Recall, but jumps into the 1st quartile for Engagement.  This likely reflects the familiarity of a slightly older demographic.

21. United Healthcare

Overall
49.0
Unaided Recall
55

Another financial services company, United Healthcare operates in the medical insurance area.  It makes sense that their audio logo evokes Confident and Authentic.  While United Healthcare’s Unaided Recall is relatively low, in the third quartile, it outperforms on Engagement, coming in as a  second quartile performer.

22. Liberty Mutual

Overall
47.8
Unaided Recall
54

Liberty Mutual’s audio logo is at it’s best with emotions, where it’s in the second quartile for Happy.  It’s other strengths are that it’s quite Simple. As a newer entrant in the audio logo space, it’s no surprise that the Liberty Mutual audio logo is only in the third quartile for Unaided Recall.  As with United Healthcare, LMI also outperforms on Engagement, where it comes in in the second quartile.

23. Always Discrete

Overall
37.9
Unaided Recall
43

The Always Discrete audio logo tested very well for the Emotions Happy and Excited. It also outperformed for being perceived as Simple. Given the very focused and specific appeal of the underlying product, it’s not a huge surprise that it scored in the third quartile for Unaided Recall, but for those who did recall it, it resonated very strongly, coming in the top quartile for Engagement.

24. BMW

Overall
27.4
Unaided Recall
33

BMW’s audio logo is relatively new in the market, introduced in 2013.  This may account for it’s relatively low performance, in the third or fourth quartile virtually across the board.  One bright spot is that it actually generated a relatively high score for Excited, which meshes nicely with the brand’s values.

25. Audi

Overall
19.8
Unaided Recall
25

As with BMW, Audi’s relatively new audio logo was also not one of our top performers. It generally scored on par with, or slightly below, BMW’s audio logo. The one spot where it significantly outperformed BMW was in Engagement, where it jumped up to the second quartile, relative to it’s Unaided Recall, which was in the 4th quartile. This may indicate that fans are beginning to recognize and respond to the sequence of sounds.

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About Veritonic

Veritonic helps brands identify the audio content that best resonates with their audience.  The Veritonic platform combines proprietary marketing response data with predictive algorithms and a unique demographic search engine giving our clients the ability to quickly discover, test and benchmark audio content to fit their specific marketing goals.

If you have questions about the value of the music or audio content you are using in your marketing, contact us.

If you have questions about how your music and audio content stacks up to your competition, contact us.

If you have questions about how to improve your music selection and the equity that your brand enjoys in music, contact us.

We turn audio files into valuable marketing assets.

To submit your audio logo for consideration in future editions of this survey, please contact us!
Categories
Branding News

3 Take-Aways from the SyncSummit Hollywood 2016

Veritonic at Sync Summit Hollywood 2016
 
Veritonic was fortunate enough to be a part for the SyncSummit in Hollywood, CA last week. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, the SyncSummit is a series of networking events held in New York, Hollywood and Paris that brings together top executives in music and advertising.  Attendees include the top music supervisors, heads of music in visual and interactive media (TV, Film, Video Games, Advertising, the Internet and Mobile), label executives, publishers, music libraries, composers, artists, technologists, lawyers, accountants, brand managers, and other service providers.

Veritonic CEO Scott Simonelli Speaking at SyncSummit
The event is full of productive networking opportunities along with discussions and case studies.  Much of the content covers how music is discovered and used in advertising and marketing.  Creative and promotional considerations were also the subject of in-depth discussions.

Other than learning how to drive 3.5 miles in 2hrs (thank you, LA traffic!), here are 3 things we thought were worth sharing:
 

1) We should all listen to Socrates

 
The saying, “I know that I know nothing” is generally attributed to Plato’s Socrates. While there is some debate around who should be given credit for this quote, for the purposes of choosing which music should be used in an Ad, we should all live by it!

During an interactive session, we played 3 choices for the audience.  Audience members had to pick the winning track for a given advertisement.  They were provided with the target audience demographics and goals for feelings, emotions and intent.

Veritonic marketing intelligence platform for sound

Out of a room of about 75 people… only 2 guessed correctly!  Ah, if we could only make the right choice 2.67% of the time. Imagine how successful our marketing efforts would be.

One thing Americans learned from our recent Presidential Election is that we couldn’t accurately predict how millions of people were feeling. The American people elected Donald Trump, in spite of virtually every poll beforehand showing a strong lead for Hillary Clinton.  In fact, it wasn’t until the electorate actually voted that their preferences became clear. We all know how powerful music can be, but the only way to truly know if a piece of music is working for an audience is to ask them!
 

2) People buy from People

 
I have a friend, a consummate sales professional, who always uses the phrase “People buy from People.” The general premise of this quote is that when you’re buying a product or service, the person or brand/company that you’re buying from is much more important than the product itself. For example, we might buy anything the late great Steve Jobs pitched. And how can you possibly resist buying Girl Scout Cookies from the little girl next store even though you can’t bear to eat another Samoa?

After speaking with attendees and listening to presentations from music supervisors at ABC Family, Coca-Cola and Microsoft, it’s obvious that the lion’s share of music being used in advertising, TV and movies is chosen based exclusively on having a relationship with a publisher or composer. Sure, it’s great to work with people you trust. However, what if those same people could be selling you a better product?

music metadata

Since the foundation of how music is cataloged is still manually entered, static, metadata, there’s no way for the buyer or the seller to know what they’ve got. It would be like buying a new Apple Macbook Pro without knowing the processor speed or the hard drive storage. Would anyone do that? Probably. But that would be foolish. If you’ve got thousands of 4k videos of cats wearing headphones, you’ll want to make sure there’s a 2tb hard drive in your brand new $3,000 laptop.

The same goes for music. If your job as a marketer is to elicit a certain feeling, generate more product sales from TV ads, or simply to engage an audience for a full minute, you should always be using music that has been proven to accomplish your goal. With better data sellers can thrive by providing a superior product and buyers can be sure they’re getting exactly what they’re paying for and what they need to be successful.

We’re excited to be part of the movement that’s bringing better data to the music selection process and this conference was yet another step in the right direction.
 

3) Can you hear me now?

 
Just like the that annoying “Can you hear me now” guy, whose simple catchphrase seems to never go away, or how “Ho, Ho, Ho Green Giant!” is still successful at selling veggies, I’ll never stop being fascinated by how long music can stay with someone. Music has a unique ability to rattle around our heart, soul and brain for years, whether we like it or not!  One of the themes that permeated the SyncSummit was how music serves as the foundation for all multimedia content and is the key driver for influencing an emotional reaction. veritonic emotional engagement scores  

In one session about the Netflix series The Get Down, it was abundantly clear, like other projects from Baz Lurhman that the music is the main character. In another session with Kyle Hopkins, Music Supervisor from Microsoft, he talked about how music is such an integral part of a gaming experience that it is given as much thought as gameplay and graphics. In fact, there have been many studies like this one showing that gamers who experience optimal background music in their games played better and played longer.

What’s next?

 
Veritonic at Hollywood Sync Summit 2016
After spending time with everyone in Hollywood, you could feel the energy and the promise of what’s coming next for music in advertising, film, TV and beyond. It’s so exciting to be part of the wave that is bringing music even closer to it’s rightful place as a quantifiable powerhouse at the core of multimedia.

We hope to see, and hear, everyone out there at future SyncSummits in Prague, Nashville and NYC.    
 

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Audience Insights Branding

Why Should I Test My Music?

Soundboard by Veritonic
 

You test everything, why don’t you test your music?

 
Advertising today is data driven.
 
Yes, that’s right: the days of “Mad Men,” drinking martinis and dreaming up amazing campaigns, then releasing them on TV in a blaze of glory, is on it’s way out.  Creativity is still central to advertising— and always will be! — but resources are too scarce and competition is too great to allow the decisions on potentially millions of dollars in ad spend to be made based on gut alone.  That’s why more and more companies are committing to making their decision-making process for marketing and advertising more data-driven.
 
What does that mean?  Usually it means that data is applied to the core creative concept, in the form of a focus group, which is almost never of the size to reveal statistically significant measurements.  The visuals get tested, the copy is tested, the ad buy is informed by data, and the size and composition of the audience that sees the ad is measured.  Even the choice of colors is informed by data.  For online advertising, the use of data is even more pervasive: the ad units may be A/B tested, the audience is micro-targeted, and the viewability of the ad is measured more and more frequently.
 
In fact, there’s really only one area of advertising that doesn’t have any data supporting the decisions that get made: selecting the music.
 

Music Defies Easy Measurement

 
Why is this?  Music has some characteristics that defy easy categorization and measurement, and addressing these issues is complex and time-consuming.  Music is highly subjective, for one: who doesn’t have a special memory of “that song they played at prom”, or a similar association?  These experiences lead individuals to make decisions that may not reflect the tastes and associations of the audience the marketer is trying to reach.  Similarly, until recently, no one has applied any psychological framework to music, but that’s changing as research reveals how music impacts the brain.
 
Music also has a temporal component that makes it unique.  It must be consumed over a period of time, unlike an image or copy.  Music is also frequently asked to evoke different emotions at different times throughout an ad: for example, happy for the first ten seconds, then nervous for the next ten seconds, before resolving to an even happier state for the last ten seconds.  As we like to say at Veritonic, music has “lots of nooks and crannies!”
 
The format of music also defies easy categorization and manipulation.  It usually exists as a collection of .MP3 files, which is a file format designed for compression, not easy categorization.  Even at the most sophisticated agencies, music is frequently stored in a folder in the iTunes account of the music supervisor, or maybe the creative director.  Formats and storage options like these don’t lend themselves to sorting, discovery or collaboration.
 

Music Metadata Isn’t A Help

 
To the extent that there is data to facilitate the selection of music for advertising, it’s in the form of “metadata”.  These are simple tags added by the composer — or even more frequently by the ad agency’s interns! — that list the artist, title, date of creation, and maybe the owners of the tracks’ copyrights.  In fact, most of the metadata is concerned with the administration and usage of the music, rather than anything useful to help select it.
 
The data that most music libraries have isn’t any better or more helpful.  Libraries or online aggregators and resellers try to augment the “typical” metadata by having staff or interns add simple generalizations about the music, like tempo or beats per minute, genre, and instrumentation.  They may also try to categorize the “mood” of the music, boiling down the entire piece to a single “emotion”.  These tags have the same issues as metadata: they’re the output of a single person’s perceptions of the emotion, who almost certainly doesn’t represent the target audience that the advertiser or user of the music is trying to reach.
 
Testing can address all of these shortcomings, and give data that far exceeds these limitations.  Advanced psychological frameworks can give insight about how people respond to the audio stimulus.  And built-to-purpose audiences – that match the audiences marketers are trying to reach – can give their opinions about the music, revealing the emotional texture of music, while also informing the marketers and composers about how well the music supports the story the marketer is trying to tell.
 

Supporting Creativity

 
Will this limit creativity?  Far from it.  If anything the reverse is true.  Data can support making choices that would otherwise be perceived as risky or out of the mainstream.
 
For example, a prominent music publisher told us about a doo-wop track that he felt would be perfect for a TV spot he was working on.  But without data to support the choice, he couldn’t convince his client to go with a musical style that isn’t in the mainstream right now.
 
There’s also a ton of research that shows that the rigor of an objective decision-making process can actually improve creativity.
 
That’s why you should test your music.  You test everything else, and that data makes for better marketing and better results.  The technology is here to address the difficulties in testing music, helping you make better decisions about the music in your marketing
 
Have you tested your music, or used any data to select music?  Let us know what you’ve used and your experience to date in the comments!
 

Categories
Audience Insights Branding

Enhance Your Music Tastemaking Skills With Data

Enhance music selection with data from Veritonic

Music selection can make or break an ad. Music supervisors and creative teams have tremendous taste and experience that is critical for making these decisions. But with millions of dollars in ad spend on the line, it’s becoming too risky to rely on the opinions of a few individuals. What to do? Use data! Here are seven reasons you should support your musical taste with data.
 
tastemaking

1) Minimize subjectivity

 
There will always be some degree of subjectivity in the music selection process. And there should always be real humans helping select music; after all, the whole purpose of music in ads is to have an emotional impact on people. But smart marketers know that “you are not your target audience.” (Usually, anyway.) Having real data from your target audience that quantifies this emotional impact can help make the decision making process better, and easier.
 

2) Quantify your music

 
Matching music to advertising demands data. Simple attributes like beats per minute or instrumentation can help creative professionals narrow down the list of possibilities.  More advanced data can quantify the emotions, feelings and other associations that music evokes in people. Simple insights like these can make a good spot into a great spot.
 

3) Create objective metadata

 
Metadata can be very subjective: typically, it’s manually entered by a single individual. But if you test your music, augment your traditional metadata with marketing response data. Think about how much more comfortable you’ll be when you know that your audience perceives a particular track as “Exciting” or “Authentic,” before you recommend it for an ad!
 
track

4) Benchmark your music

 
Data also lets you compare the performance of new music to tracks you’ve used in the past. Evaluate how well your music evokes a consistent set of emotions, and ensure your audience receives a consistent message. Even better, collect data on your competitors’ music and compare it to your music!
 

5) Track emotions over time

 
Unlike the visual or copy in advertising, music happens over time. The data you use to evaluate music should reflect this temporal component! Record emotions from your audience over time to determine the changes occurring throughout a song and ensure you use the right portion of the song. And analyze this data in chart form to see if the music matches the story arc.  
 

6) Compare competing tracks

 
Music is rarely “one and done.” Typically, the people responsible for music must choose between multiple tracks. Compare how each track scores against your goals. Which one best evokes Sincerity? Which one best evokes Optimism? Which one makes the audience Happy for the last :15? Allow the data to educate you about the benefits and drawbacks of all your tracks, not just one.
 

7) Use Data As the Key, Not the Lock

 
Data is not a straightjacket. Instead, it’s the key to unlocking even more creativity. Can’t convince the client to use a really funky track that you know would be perfect? Let the data show why it’s right. Sitting around the conference room all day, arguing endlessly about which version to use? Instead of fighting with your co-workers about what song you think is a better, sit back, relax, and let the data do the talking!
 
How do you use data in your music selection process today?  Please share it with us in the comments below!