To say I’m passionate about music is an understatement. And the fact that I get to compose and research music at a marketing agency is not typical, but it’s beyond fulfilling. As Creative Director at MESH, one of the things I do is help marry music to the visuals we use--connecting sound to a brand, enhancing the emotion and sentiment experienced and bringing the brand to life. It’s not just background noise.
The most effective music we develop is custom—tailored not only just for a video spot but for your brand. Why? Not only does a brand have signature colors and typography but audio can play an important role as well. After developing a campaign or even a single video project, we can use bits of that music and sound design to create a signature sound—be it a consistent end-tag audio piece or a memorable logo animation sound—that brings together everything you do--from events to sponsorships to on-screen appearances.
Understanding every marketer does not have a music studio available to them every time they need to develop a video, there are ways to be strategic when selecting pre-existing music to accompany your brand.
As we develop a concept or narrative for a video, you should be thinking about the vibe of the music. By the time you’re storyboarding you should know what vibe you’re going for - is it heartfelt, confident, dreamy, energetically happy, etc? Often, the vibe and nature of the project will get me humming and I’ll land on something I want to remember. That’s when I breakout the voice memo app for a quick record of the melody, humming it straight into a smartphone. I’ll flesh it out and expand on it later in the studio.
Are you looking to exude energy? The pace of the music and the presence of percussion will inspire that. Looking to tone it down a bit? Cut out the percussion, which can give you energy without going over the top.
Instrumentation is a way to appeal to the emotion you are looking to incur from the video. Are you working on an emotional message for a hospital, or about overcoming sickness? You’ll want to start with one instrument such as piano or acoustic guitar and build up to a few others and continue to towards the end, wrapping with a sound that conveys happiness.
If you are set on having vocals in your music, whether it’s ahhs or actual lyrics, consider how much they might interfere with the message. If you have a voiceover in your spot, vocalization can often disrupt that message. If there’s no voiceover, and you don’t mind having vocals, then it needs to be something that doesn’t take away from the overall experience.
If your goal is to exude confidence or attitude, think of incorporating a rock and roll feel such as an overdriven electric guitar, or something grand and theatrical like a symphonic/orchestral piece. A familiar music style when done right can mimic a musical genre that will resonate with a specific demographic. For example, certain groups might resonate with an 80’s pop style music or 90's grunge type of sound. If it’s an old arena rock song, mimicking it can be useful but be sure not to rip it off.
Using this type of music can be helpful when it comes to limited budgets as many pieces are well done and the genres are pretty diverse. However, royalty free music can often hurt the uniqueness of a spot (hearing it on other brands’ ads) and devalue original compositions. Often marketers may be swayed to choose something that they personally like, rather than what’s best for the brand or message. Whatever choice you make, be sure to edit the piece once you download it to make it more original.
Don’t let music be an afterthought in your brand strategy. When done right, it can be among the most memorable elements of your message.
Looking for custom sound for your brand? Don’t hesitate to reach out - firstname.lastname@example.org.