Droga: 100% percent, definitely. It’s probably also easier to test than words on a page or visuals drawn up. Before you go into production, test the audio.
Reese: Some of the world‘s most successful brands have a very strong audio identity. Do you believe there’s a link between economic success and the audio behavior of a brand?
Droga: Well, it completely depends. When it’s done well, absolutely. But a strong audio is no substitute for having terrible visuals or terrible messaging. They all have to work together. If you look at Apple or Nike, they don’t necessarily have an audio sting, but they have a general appreciation of the power of good complementary audio. We’re in the business of emotion, and attention, and there are very few things in our lives that are as memorable as good audio. I feel like it should be looked at as a whole, and how it works together as the objective of it. If it’s an afterthought, then you’re playing catch-up the whole time.
Reese: People in our industry tend to struggle with decisions around audio, because it‘s such an emotional tool, and it can be very subjective and personal. Where do you see the biggest challenge in finding a brand’s voice?
Droga: Finding something that isn’t just trend-based. That happens a lot in marketing, and especially with brands that have the money for it. They just buy a track that they can get a kick out of. Just because you get a hit song for a car commercial doesn’t make the car more desirable, though. There needs to be some logic as to why: Is it in synch with the audience, or the brand message? There has to be a thought process into the audio as there is to the narrative, as opposed to just going, “Let’s pick something people like.” At the end of the day, you can spend a million dollars buying a track and remind people that they love that track and that they want to buy the track – but that won’t serve as an association to the product.
Reese: The music should fit to the brand, absolutely. It shouldn‘t distract from the message you‘re trying to communicate. So how do you end up with the right track, paired with the visuals, on air?
Droga: It has to complement the mood you’re trying to create and the emotion you’re trying to project. Levi’s is still a fantastic brand in that sense, particularly in the UK. They had these great little stories, really well shot, and they always had an amazing track with each story that was complementary to the mood they were trying to create around the brand. But then you see ads on TV of insurance companies or cars, and it’s so out of sync. People can get annoyed when a good track is compromised by being used in a pharmaceutical ad, for example. You have to be conscious of that.
Reese: Creatives often find it di cult to communicate what they’re looking for in music when they talk to composers, music companies, and so on – especially when they‘re not musicians themselves. Is there anything that has worked for you in the past?