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In a crowd of people going left, go right instead

In our early days of getting exposed to Brand, Brand design, Brand Strategy and understanding how brands can communicate with their audience, one of the key areas that captured my imagination was music.

Most of the time, music in retail stores is irritating at best, and jarring at its very worst. I feel irritated when I listen to alien music in most of the retail stores (whether it is an international brand-name or a local one), and always think, “Why do they have to resort to standard music instead of doing something unique?”

Can’t they get some custom music composed based on their target audience? Can’t that music be made memorable and beautiful enough that it becomes a signature tune or song of their brand? Something that people remember, even come back for?”

In the context of branding in India, we cannot discuss brand music without instantly remembering the jingles for Nerolac, Airtel, Vodafone, even Nirma. The reason? They are soothing, energising, and unique. But most importantly, they are sticky without being irritating.

We at BrandPa tried cracking this space at one point of time. We ended up serving for a handful of campaigns/organisations(link below) but then we had to stop.

All this was between 2014-16.

At that time, we couldn’t figure out the factors that stopped us from repeating the magic and scaling it across clients. We moved on to other services like Brand Identity, Packaging, Explainer Videos and Brand Strategy.

Somewhere around the end of 2019 I came across a video on a Tune created for Master Card by Rajeev Raja which was played during an awards Event and then his TEDx Talk.

I could connect to this so deeply. Once again I began thinking of why we couldn’t do it this way and where we failed.

Previously, our focus and all our questions had been around “why” “where” “when.” All these led us to reasons but not towards actions.

This time we wanted to achieve a definitive outcome which is focused towards action, and have really invested our time to dig deeper.

After a while we narrowed our focus on “WHAT”.

And voila, there was the magic. The moment we started putting our questions in this direction, finding answers became so simple.

Our “What” Questions and Answers that did the trick

Q. What do we want to do?

A. Create signature tunes/music for the Brands.

Q. What do we need to deliver such output?

A. A deep understanding of the Brand, its business horizon and its core offering, to begin with. Then the relevant music expertise: an amazing grip on music and ready to reckon extensive research on the impact of ragas, “notes.” Contacts with best in class musicians etc. would come next.

Q. What knowledge do we need to scale this business?

A. Great command over music and a sense of what kind of music can suit a brand (based on the brand persona).

Q. What kind of competence/skill do we need to do this business well?

A. Deep domain expertise to handle such projects is a must. Moreover, a designated person among the core team members should be equipped enough to find said expertise. Plus, setting up a non biased process for continuously identifying and nurturing such talent.

Q. What are the expectations of customers?

A. This is a question that keeps us on our toes, and focused on what our customers expect from us. We continually think about the value addition our service can bring to their business. We try to maintain a clear picture of how the target customer group (TCG) connects and interacts with the brand and how we can improve the experience of customers through this service.

Q. What kind of people do we need in our team?

A. Best in class brand/marketing strategists, musicians who are competent to understand the brand and can successfully marry Brand Identity with Music. In addition, those with contacts with best in class recording studios, sound engineers etc. We also need people who can look for enterprises who have clear and well defined brand guidelines, multiple customer touch points (electronic and digital) and who are predominantly into the B2C or D2C segment.

Q. What is the amount customers are ready to pay? Are they even ready to pay for such a service?

A. Are the customers who we are looking at ready to pay for this? (This is one of the most crucial aspects of any business, because a business can flourish only if there are customers to pay for a product/service).

Q. What is the market maturity in your city and country?

A. Doing the necessary R&D on the market saves time, energy, money and most importantly your “CONFIDENCE” because without having clarity on the acceptance for the product/service, you end up in a tunnel where you don’t know when you are going to see the light of the day. In business you can see the light if and only if there is a requirement in the market for what you have to provide. Else neither the market nor the business owner knows where he has ended up in that darkness.

Q. What is the problem we are solving?

A. A well defined problem is half solved, because you know WHAT you want to solve, you can figure out how to solve it.

You may wonder what is so great about these questions (admittedly, they are quite generic).

But just read them again after you read the points below. It will help you to gain clarity on the following:

1. Did we define our problem/ Is our problem well defined?

2. Is this service a need or a luxury?

3. Is the market ready to pay for it?

4. Who is willing to pay me?

5. What is the price they are willing to pay?

6. What is the total scope in the market?

7. How much can we tap?

8. What kind of resources do we need in terms of manpower, equipment and investment to create such a setup

9. How much time do we have to look forward to generating revenue?

10. When do we expect to break even? What can be the worst timeline to achieve this?

11. Where are our target customers?

12. How do we reach our target customers?

13. Where should we scout for resources?

Once you have proper answers for all the above you will be very clear about all the aspects of business (Marketing, Sales, Operations, Finance & Accounts, HR, R&D, Management) which can give you sufficient insurance from Failures.

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