This promoted content is produced by a publishing partner of Open Mic. A paid-for membership product for partners of The Drum to self-publish their news, opinions and insights on thedrum.com - Find out more
Melodies and mascaras: Unlocking the potential of music in the beauty industry
June 5, 2023
Few industries rely on individuals and influencers to promote their products more than the beauty industry.
Among the top 200 beauty-related videos on YouTube for instance, 86% were uploaded by individual content creators rather than by the brands themselves. On Instagram, the #beauty hashtag virtually dominates the platform with over 520 million posts. Among women on social media, 62% follow a beauty influencer.
Perhaps most telling, the beauty vertical represents 25% of all influencer marketing activity.
Driving this is the fact that beauty is an intensely competitive space. New brands pop up regularly to carve out a share of the market from established leaders, fueled by the fact that 60% of beauty consumers are willing to try something new.
So the need to create a distinct and compelling brand identity across social platforms is great. However, maintaining a cohesive, distinct brand identity poses a significant challenge when such a wide range of third parties are representing your brand.
How sonic branding can help beauty brands beat the competition
Creating a consistent sound or soundtrack that is as synonymous with your brand as your logo or products themselves is a powerful tactic in any industry, but particularly suitable for verticals like the beauty industry when so many other elements of branding are fragmented.
While investing in a visual identity has been a staple in brand marketing for decades, music typically represents only a small percentage of advertising budgets. However sonic branding is rapidly gaining recognition as an equally crucial aspect of a branding strategy that offers unique benefits visual branding cannot.
A well-designed sonic strategy can evoke powerful emotions and brand associations with consumers that are difficult to achieve through visuals alone. In fact, studies have shown that the brain processes sound faster than visuals, making sonic branding an effective way to create a lasting impression in a short amount of time.
We recently analyzed 10 of the most influential brands in the UK beauty industry to measure the effect of their music choices and the impact on their bottom line. We found that the strategic use of music accounts for over 15% of the business performance of UK beauty brands. We also found a strong positive correlation of 39.7%, reinforcing the link between music choices and business performance.
The brand that understands this best is Lancôme, which ranked at the top of the list for overall MusicIQTM, driven by consistent music choices that give it a dreamy and enigmatic identity that works well across genres and media verticals.
Lancôme curated a brand- and audience-aligned music library for social media content creators which effectively reinforces its brand image. This musical consistency also knits together well with company-produced ads.
With this music foundation as the connective thread, Lancôme’s ads, social content, and user generated content (UGC) have a common theme and identity.
Music branding do's and don'ts
- Consider enlisting a music artist as the face of your brand, or at least one of your celebrity endorsements. With the artist typically comes the music, potentially negotiated in a package deal. It’s a win-win for both sides as well… their image/endorsement supports your brand, while your content widens the exposure and awareness of their music. Example: Revlon recently enlisted Megan Thee Stallion as brand ambassador. Her music is featured in 85% of the company’s social assets.
- It’s fine to use original music with custom-branded lyrics if properly supported. Using such “bespoke” music with in-house artists can be risky, however, as the music is not part of the popular mainstream and thus has to carry all its own weight. One way to address this is to have a more known artist/celebrity re-record the track.
- Develop and publish curated music libraries to ensure creators and influencers use music that is consistently brand- and audience-aligned. Doing so will result in a significantly more cohesive and distinctive brand identity.
- Beware of creating sonic confusion. If your official brand-chosen music clashes with the music preferred by legions of UGC fans, consider a “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach and switch up your music licensing to fit in with what your most loyal fans are already supporting.
- Be sure you’re using music that’s supported on the social platforms you’re on. Both YouTube and TikTok for instance have music libraries cleared for use on their respective services. If your music isn’t supported, your content will likely generate copyright strikes. One brand we analyzed in our report had to remove over 40% of the YouTube content included in our study due to this oversight. That not only wastes production and media dollars, but it opens the brand up to legal risk.
- Ultimately, using the right music will maximize breakthroughs, deepen emotional connections, and lift brand preference, ultimately boosting business performance. Choosing music that implicitly ties individual assets together across paid and owned media will reinforce a brand’s identity and more effectively encode it in consumers’ long-term memory.
No matter what industry or market you're in, understanding the power of strategic music choices and how to connect with your audience on a deeper level is essential to getting your brand's message across more effectively.