The famous quote, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything”, speaks of the power of music on the human race. Across cultures and generations, music has the ability to transport one back to a memorable moment in your life, where you can feel the emotion, and even taste and smell the elements of a precious memory. This power is a tool that beauty salons can harness to create an added layer of experience for their clients and to create memorable client journeys, which keep them coming back for more.
At VRBC Consulting, we recently had the opportunity to learn all about the unconscious power of music on customer behaviour from a sonic branding expert, Tim De Smet from Sonhouse, a Belgian sound production company that works with companies around the world to create sound branding to enhance their businesses.
According to Tim, in-store music that matches the brand can increase revenue up to 20% and the length of stay up to 30%.
“Music equals emotion, it enters our limbic system, which is also the part of our brain where we make decisions. We can trick our emotions through the use of music because it triggers feelings. Sound by itself has an impact, but also the type of music and genre moves people. In that sense it’s important to make sure that your music playlist fits the message of your brand and the identity you want to share. It is really important to think about your sound identity and to make a relevant translation with a clear goal of breaking through the noise and connecting with your client.”
Tim shares that in the book, The Power of Sound, by Cedric Engels, about tests that were concluded in hospital, where they gave 500 people headphones playing relaxing music prior to surgery – all the patients needed less sedation for surgery!
“We live in an acoustic landscape. We are constantly surrounded by sound without actually realising it: traffic, a birdsong, construction noise, music. These sounds have an impact on our behaviour, on the way we feel. If you are dining in a restaurant with bad acoustics your body produces cortisol, a stress hormone. If you go out for a run and listen to up-tempo music, your performance will increase because neurons are triggered. Music affects our whole body, says Tim.
When it gets down to business, Tim says, music can literally add revenue to your top line. A study conducted by a pizza food chain proved the correlation between music and revenue. They experimented with a lunch playlist for their busiest time of day and played music that was upbeat – with the objective of energising their staff to move quicker to meet the increased demand at lunch time and to get more people in and out the door, and it worked. Then in the afternoon, when most people come in for coffee, they played jazzy, calming music and people stayed longer and spent more, because they were relaxed.
This experiment showed that not only can music affect your clients but it can also be used to create an environment that enhances staff performance and productivity as well.
In another example, a warehouse chain needed to increase the sales of their boxes of French wine so they played french music and the stock moved faster – they sold it all.
‘If you are in a beauty salon and hear the right music at the right moment you will feel relaxed, happy and engaged because dopamine will be released within your body’. Research proves that high-end instrumental music, for example, makes people stay longer in a place and gives them an association of ‘beauty’,” says Tim.
At Sonhouse, Tim says they work according to a methodology that is memorable, different, consistent and alive. They look at the mission, vision and aspirations of the brand and then composers create music that synthesizes with the brand.
“Remember, competitors can use the same music as you. We can create customised music that is alive and unique and which can be adjusted to the season and requirements.”
When it comes to choosing music to support your brand, Tim advises that for beauty salons selling the idea of luxurious pampering, soothing music with a slow tempo, gentle volume and almost no beat – will reinforce the experience well. For a young, vibey and edgy hair salon brand he recommends a playlist made up of happy, upbeat music as well as that the volume could also be higher to create the right mood and ambience that matches the energy of the brand. Similarly the music genre and tempo selected will vary between a ladies and a gents salon.
Thanks to the rise of e-commerce, people are not going into the shops as often anymore – when they come into your store, you need to give them an experience. When skillfully utilised, music can become a silent salesperson, weaving its magic to uplift moods, elevate brand perception, and foster an unforgettable journey for your clients.