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Music Revolutionizes Brand Recall Abilities

Music, memory and marketing will become integral to the creation and promotion of brands, says Craig Cesman, CEO of DMX Music, who explores the cognitive effect that music has on memory and a consumer market's ability to recall brands.

Now explore how powerful the song makes the emotional and cognitive connection. This experience shows what a number of research surveys are indicating - that music has a strong ability to evoke memory recall, and, in some cases, to facilitate brain functionality. What's more interesting is that some songs are able to do this more effectively than others. Throughout life people have the experience of a song being stuck in their heads, a termed coined by experts as the "cognitive itch".

In remembering a song, people not only have the ability to recall the sound and all the lyrics perfectly, but to remember the subtleties such as sound intensity and duration of individual notes. The same research indicates that often people do not even have to hear a song again for the memories to come flooding back. This is largely due to the fact that we are able to hear a song perfectly within memory. The ear may not necessarily be hearing the music, but the brain will hear it perceptually.

This suggests that music has a powerful ability to permeate our lives and ignite cognition, behavior and memory. From a business perspective these insights indicate that music has a powerful and influential role to play in heightening in-store experiences as brands seek to forge emotional connections with consumers. If a certain genre of music or a specific song is played while creating a memorable interaction with the customer, there is a strong possibility that the experience will be internalized into a memory that can easily be recalled in the future.

In increasingly competitive business environments, where advertising is becoming increasingly saturated and marketing messages are being lost to advertising ‘clutter', the strategic use of music in-store to create memory and experience can prove a strong brand differentiator. Music makes a powerful impact in a business environment. Love songs set the mood in a candlelit restaurant.

Up-tempo tunes provide the perfect note for power lunches or to get you pumped for your work out at the gym. Classical and ambient music invites customers to linger in upscale boutiques, says "distinguished" the moment you walk into a law office, and relaxes you in the doctor's office. The depth of music available to brands means that they can tailor make their in-store experience precisely to suit their brand.

Brand managers are increasingly using music strategically in store because it has the capacity to increase gross sales by 38.2% (1), while nine out of 10 managers say music directly creates a positive environment (2). According to a research survey conducted by Vision One, in collaboration with DMX Music, 90% of customers like having music in-store, where 60% said that music made them stay in-store for longer.

The catch though is that it has to be the right music in order to increase the amount of time and, ultimately, money that consumers spend in your store and to enhance and convey your brand or product's image.

An interesting insight revealed by the Vision One research survey, indicates that it is inaccurate to assume that music is only appreciated by younger markets. The study shows that the majority of customers over the age of 55 years, still respond positively to and welcome in-store music. The right music means finding a professional and established audio branding partner that can put the power of music to work for you with a journey of musical selections and styles.


  1. Journal of Marketing
  2. Gallup Organization
  3. Vision One Research in collaboration with DMX Music