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声音计算来临,品牌营销需要音乐

Jennifer Alsever 2020年01月07日

现在,至少40%的美国人家中拥有智能音箱,人们通过语音进行网购、搜索信息。

杏耀平台过去一段时间,万事达卡的首席市场营销官拉贾·拉贾曼纳一直在寻找一段能让人印象深刻、百听不厌的完美旋律。曲调要符合210个国家和地区的审美,能够根据地域特点及消费场景进行微调,同时还应该具有极高的辨识度,无论是在广告结尾,还是在公司电梯里,甚或是使用亚马逊Alexa进行交易时,都能让人立刻辨识出这是万事达卡的品牌声音。最重要的是,它能够给人带来心灵上的平静。

一找就是两年。

正因为我们处在一个语音计算革命的时代,拉贾曼纳为之全力以赴的理由非常充分。现在,至少40%的美国人家中拥有智能音箱,人们通过语音进行网购、搜索信息。据Gartner Research的研究显示,到2020年,全球互联汽车保有量将达到25亿辆。63%的“物联网”中包括像智能洗碗机和恒温器这样的应用设备。联网设备与消费者的交互将无处不在。拉贾曼纳表示:“世界正进入语音交互时代,我们可不想落后。”

不一样的曲调

声音品牌、声音标识和品牌旋律不是什么新生事物。Mac电脑开启时悠扬的旋律、iPhone的Marimba铃声、英特尔广告结尾时的标志性声音对人们来说都再熟悉不过。但随着消费者与世界交互方式的改变,有关品牌声音的讨论也越发激烈和深入。

杏耀平台近来,越来越多的媒体、广告公司和发行商开始涉足这一领域。以往,多数企业的品牌声音和音乐都是由广告公司的创意总监决定。他们可能会先简单写下要求,然后再从艺术家那里收集一些曲子并加以筛选。

杏耀平台去年夏天,iHeartMedia与英国广告巨头WPP宣布,双方将合作创建新的声音品牌服务公司。音乐平台Pandora也在去年6月创建了Studio Resonate声音品牌咨询公司,通过使用科学方法剖析音乐的旋律、节奏和心理,帮助品牌方吸引更多消费者。

杏耀平台市场需要这种专业化服务,当今世界,声音战略远较以往复杂。以万事达卡为例,在去年春天发布声音品牌标识前,该公司与MaCann广告公司的高管以及由神经学家、心理学家、音乐学家、作曲家及音乐家构成的专业团队进行了密切合作。为了找到适合在卖场、商业展览、赞助活动、办公室、铃声、交易提醒、商业广告等众多场景中播放的音乐,拉贾曼纳和他的团队分析了多达2000首旋律。

与本就应当有些刺耳和警醒的铃声不同,企业的标志性音乐应当悦耳宜人。万事达卡选择了巴甫洛夫风格的背景声作为其品牌声音标识。

定调

这家支付企业为所谓的“完美声音”设定了明确的标准:极简、中性、引人入胜又不使人分心、回味无穷又谦逊低调、符合公司整体的品牌辨识战略(该战略于2016年启动,当时从标识中去除了“Mastercard”的字样)。

所选曲调必须具备一定改编空间,以便稍加调整就能衍生出更具各地特色的版本,比如孟买的版、上海的版;同时支持根据消费场景定制,例如在GameStop上买游戏时播放的声音应当更有游戏风,而在蒂芙尼一掷千金时播放的曲调则应该更有奢华的感觉。

杏耀平台拉贾曼纳成长在一个音乐世家,他对万事达卡的声音标识项目充满热忱。与一般的广告创意不同,声音品牌项目的负责人需要对音乐具有敏感性,清楚乐曲中各个小节的作用,因而必须由精通音乐的人士来担任。

杏耀平台拉贾曼纳说:“你不能只是说‘我不喜欢’。不能被自己的偏见所主导。”

他亲自前往世界各地的音乐工作室与作曲家们一起构思曲调。要想找到合适的声音,有时需要融合不同艺术作品中的音乐片段。当然,做到这一点也并非易事,艺术家们往往会沉醉于自己的作品之中,这时就要设法在他们之间维系一种微妙的平衡。

拉贾曼纳说:“做这件事你得非常耐心。”一次性听完几百首曲子好比闻太多香水,一个接一个,听完后人都麻木了,“你必须休息一下,清空大脑。”

为了确保万事达卡的品牌声音独一无二,该公司还专门聘请了音乐学家,使用Shazam等人工智能应用程序将其品牌音乐与数据库中的音乐进行比较。很多神经学家、著名作曲家、音乐家参与了这项工作,其中就包括歌手兼作曲家、林肯公园创始人麦克·信田。

杏耀平台好几次,拉贾曼纳都觉得自己找到了想要的旋律,但专门研究小组调查发现,这些声音在某些国家和地区效果并不好。比如,其中有一个是在中东效果不好,另一个则不适合感情浓烈奔放的拉美市场。拉贾曼纳说:“我们于是放弃了这些曲调,重新来过。”

杏耀平台经过重重筛选,万事达卡选定了一个拥有20个不同版本的核心旋律,预计最终将衍生出200多个版本。纽约广告公司McCann的全球执行创意总监皮埃尔·利普顿表示:“这项工作看似简单,实则工程浩大。”

杏耀平台这首30秒的旋律可以剪成3秒的小段,将在万事达卡的电梯、公司演讲、广告结尾及交易支付等场景中播放。你在沃尔玛或火车站也将不断听到这首曲子,但每次都会略有不同。拉贾曼纳将其比作确保声音听起来不会像乌鸦重复的叫声,而是与背景相融,悦耳动听的鸟鸣声。他表示:“我们可不想令人生厌。”

音乐背后

为什么要为了几个音符纠缠不清,小题大做?答案本质上是科学。

众所周知,声音会对我们的行为和感知产生巨大影响,听觉神经通路也比视觉通路简单得多,人类对声音的反应速度是对图像反应速度的10到100倍。换句话说,大脑天生就对声音更为敏感,也更善于处理声音信息。因此,无论是蛇类的嘶嘶声还是风拂草地的声音,都会被灵敏的耳朵捕捉到。

Pandora的新任声音战略总监史蒂夫·凯勒表示,研究还表明,音乐能够影响我们的行为、购物选择,甚至对风味、气味和质地的感知。

例如,英国莱斯特大学研究了音乐对葡萄酒销售的影响。在播放法国传统音乐的日子里,售出的葡萄酒中有77%产自法国,而换做播放德国传统音乐,就会有73%产自德国的葡萄酒售出。购物者甚至很少注意到这种联系:参与调查的44位结账客户中,只有一位表示其购物选择受到了音乐的影响。

此外,声音还会使我们的大脑释放某些化学物质,从而产生某些生理反应。凯勒举例说,陌生或令人惊恐的噪音可能会导致皮质醇剧增并使人做出战斗或逃跑的反应,而我们喜欢的音乐则会诱使大脑产生多巴胺,进而产生兴奋的感觉。Pandora自己对“声音原型”的研究也表明,音乐具有传达意义的能力,可以帮助我们讲述故事。

杏耀平台凯勒说:“只需改变曲调,我们就能改变故事情节。”如今在品牌营销人员耳中,这种科学理论听起来就像是音乐一样动听。(财富中文网)

译者:梁宇

审校:夏林

Mastercard’s chief marketing officer, Raja Rajamannar was searching for the perfect earworm—a sound that could stick in people’s brains but never be annoying. The tune would be customized for 210 countries, for every buying situation. It would be slightly different—but instantly recognizable—whether it punctuated the end of a commercial, graced the inside of the corporate elevator, or even noted a financial transaction on an Amazon Alexa device. And, most importantly, this melody would somehow conjure up an emotional peace of mind.

It took two years to find.

There’s good reason for the executive’s exhaustive efforts. We’re currently in the midst of a voice computing revolution. At least 40% of Americans now own smart speakers in their homes, shopping and searching the web by voice. By 2020, we’ll see a quarter of a billion connected cars on the roads, according to Gartner Research, vehicles teeming with virtual assistant technology. And 63% of the “Internet of Things” consists of app-enabled devices like like smart dishwashers and thermostats. Every connected device has the opportunity to interact with consumers. “The world is going into voice interactions,” says Rajamannar, “and we as a brand couldn’t afford not to be there.”

Not the same ol' tune

Sonic branding, audio logos, and jingles are not necessarily new. Almost everyone recognizes that Apple hum when you power on a Mac, the iPhone’s familiar Marimba ringtone, and even Intel’s familiar three-note signature at the end of commercials. But the conversation about signature sounds is getting louder, and more nuanced, as consumers change how they interact with the world.

杏耀平台In recent months, more media and advertising agencies and publishers have begun jumping into the game. In the past, agency creative directors made most decisions about brand sounds and music. They might write a brief, gather tracks from artists and select a winner.

But last summer, iHeartMedia and British advertising giant WPP created a partnership to create a new audio branding service. Also in last June, music platform Pandora created a new sonic branding consultancy called Studio Resonate that builds on the company’s scientific approach to music—dissecting melody, rhythm and psychology to help brands appeal to consumers.

杏耀平台There’s a need for this expertise; today’s sonic strategy is far more complex. In the case of Mastercard, which released its sonic brand logo last spring, the process involved McCann advertising execs, plus teams of neurologists, psychologists, musicologists, composers and musicians. Rajamannar and his team analyzed 2,000 melodies to find a sound that could be adapted for backgrounds, trade shows, sponsorships, office music, ringtones, transaction alerts, and commercials.

Unlike a jingle, which hits people over the head and is meant to be jarring and interruptive, this would be different: a Pavlovian-style background noise, a brand’s signature sound.

Setting the tone

杏耀平台The payment company had a specific criterion for what qualified as the “perfect sound.” It had to be extremely simple and neutral—likable but not so fantastic that it’d be distracting. It had to be memorable and hummable and it had to fit within a broader brand identity strategy—which started in 2016, when the company dropped the Mastercard name from its logo.

The melody must be adjustable, depending on where you are located, giving the company a Mumbai version, for instance, or a Shanghai take. It had to be customizable based on what you were buying, giving a video game purchase at GameStop an 8-bit feel, perhaps, while a splurge at Tiffany & Co. would have a more luxurious tone.

Mastercard’s audio logo became a passion project for Rajamannar, who grew up in a family made up of musicians. Unlike making decisions about the creative for an ad, this sonic branding project required people with musical knowledge, people who had musical sensibilities and who could analyze the components of a song to say why specifically it worked or not.

“You couldn’t just say, ‘I don’t like it,’” Rajamannar says. “I had to make sure I didn’t get carried away with my own biases.”

He personally traveled to music studios around the world where he’d brainstorm with artists on melodies. Sometimes, finding the right sound involved blending together bits and pieces of music from various artists. And doing that, of course, involved a delicate balance of managing creatives who sometimes got attached to their own work.

“It took a lot of patience,” says Rajamannar, who listened to hundreds of melodies—so many at a time that his senses would get overwhelmed. He compared the process to smelling too many perfumes, one right after another. “You have to take a break and clear your head.”

杏耀平台To ensure Mastercard’s sound was unique, the company also hired musicologists who compared its compositions to a database of music, using artificial intelligence programs like the music app Shazam. Neuroscientists chimed in. So did famous composers and musicians, including Mike Shinoda, a singer-songwriter and founder of the band Linkin Park.

Several times, Rajamannar thought he had a winning melody—and then discovered through research and focus groups that the sounds didn’t translate well to certain countries. In one case, it was the Middle East and in another case, a tune couldn’t be adapted to the high energy feel needed for the Latin American market. Says Rajamannar: “We scrapped it and went back to the drawing board.”

Ultimately, Mastercard settled on one core melody with 20 different versions, and in time expects to have over 200 renditions. “It was a tremendous amount of work to get something so simple,” says Pierre Lipton, global executive creative director for the New York ad agency McCann.

杏耀平台The 30-second song could be broken down into a 3-second subset. It would be played in Mastercard office elevators, at corporate speeches, at the ends of ads, and at the end of every transaction. The tune would be adjusted to be slightly different each time you heard it over and over at a Walmart checkout line or at a train station in Taiwan. Rajamannar compares it to ensuring the sound doesn’t sound like the repetitive sound of a squawking crow, but instead birds chirping that blends into background. “It couldn’t be annoying,” he says.

Behind the music

Why all the fuss over a few musical notes? The answer, essentially, is science.

杏耀平台It’s well understood that sound has long been a powerful vehicle for behavior and perception. Auditory neural pathways are less complex than their visual counterpart, which means people react to sound 10 to 100 times faster than sight. In other words, the brain is literally wired to react to sound and categorize it. So whether it’s the sound of a snake or the wind in the grass, your ears will likely know it before your eyes do.

杏耀平台Research also shows that music can affect our behavior, our purchases, and even our perception of flavor, scent and texture, says Steve Keller, Pandora’s new sonic strategy director.

杏耀平台For instance, one study by the U.K.’s University of Leicester looked at how music impacted sales in a wine shop. On days that traditional French music was played, 77% of the wine sold was French, and on the days traditional German music played, 73% of the wine sold was German. Few shoppers even noticed the connection: Only 1 out of 44 customers who answered questions at checkout spontaneously mentioned that the music was the reason behind their selection.

In addition, sound can cause chemicals to be released in our brains, producing physiological effects. For example, an unfamiliar or alarming noise can cause a burst of cortisol to kick in and produce a fight or flight response, or how music we love coaxes out dopamine, which accounts for feelings of euphoria, says Keller. Pandora’s own research into “audio archetypes,” has demonstrated, too, that music has the power to convey meaning to help us create a narrative.

杏耀平台“We can change the storyline of something simply by changing the musical score,” says Keller. Now that’s the kind of science that sounds like music to brand marketers’ ears.

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