Wavemaker’s chief growth officer explains why streaming audio is marketing’s 800-pound gorilla in the room

The mental benefits of listening to music have been scientifically proven; it can heighten emotions, increase comprehension, and assist in critical long-term memory encoding. But apart from these advantages, we often listen to music at work or home to help us stay focused or just to relax. Marketing Magazine is working with JOOX to invite creative industry practitioners to talk about their music consumption habits and how to better leverage music in marketing.

In our first interview for the Marketers’ Music Mind series, we talk to Charlotte (aka “Charlie”) Wright, chief growth officer, Asia-Pacific at Wavemaker.

Wright tells us a little secret at the beginning of our chat; since recently being gifted a TrueTone turntable she has plans to expand her vinyl collection. Based in Singapore, Wright is a seasoned global strategist with over 20 years of experience in the marketing and advertising industry.

Asked about her choices of music when working under a tight deadline, she says, "It’s usually about getting my head down and writing, so I find myself reverting to my college roots with some Massive Attack turned up loud.”

The mid to late ’90s, when Wright was studying philosophy at University of Bristol, Trip-Hop was at its height as a genre in the UK, with acts like Massive Attack and Portishead leading the charge. But in the years since, as Wright moved abroad and advanced in the marketing field her musical tastes evolved.

Prior to her current position, Wright was based in New York as the head of strategy for global growth at Wavemaker. In a city renowned for its Broadway shows, Wright rediscovered her love of musicals, with them forming the predominant part of her playlists. For a time she tried listening to news-based podcasts on her morning commutes to the office. But eventually, Wright switched to music to get a more upbeat start to the day.

Lately, however, with COVID-19 precautions encouraging employees at many agencies in Singapore to work from home, soundtracked commutes aren’t currently part of Wright’s routine. In fact, music streaming platform JOOX has noticed that while work or school commutes were previously its two peak times for user listening, these figures have now been evenly distributed throughout the day, as audiences are no longer bound by specific routines. But JOOX also found that with people comfortable at home, the average desktop login rate has risen by almost 30%.

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Wright agrees that if anything, self-isolation has meant that her music consumption has only increased:

“With working from home, I’ve found myself putting music on more throughout the day, or at least in the gaps between video conference calls, to create some atmosphere!”

Ads themselves have leveraged music for atmosphere from their inception. And to Wright, there is no finer demonstration of a perfect combination between music and brand content than Cadbury’s legendary 2007 “Gorilla” ad. A multi-award-winning piece of work featuring the music of Phil Collins ‘In the Air Tonight’ paired with the sight of a gorilla on the drums.

Wright says, “It’s a brilliant and disruptive piece of creative that was all about the music. This ad still has huge levels of salience years later and is a great example of creativity leading to business results, +9% sales according to Cadbury.”

2007 was a different time, however, when analogue media and even digital purchases were only first beginning to give way to a streaming revolution. Over the past decade, we have radically altered how we consume music. Taking into account the latest music-listening habits of today, brands can now explore greater opportunities working with music streaming platforms like JOOX. Marketing strategies can now be formulated alongside the music industry, taking into account elements such as personalised music and entertainment content to better meet their needs.

Yet, Wright bemoans how many brands have yet to truly unlock how they can leverage audio outside of the standard advertising formats. Despite huge consumer passion for constant music availability, Wright says brands have yet to significantly impact communication plans.

“The level of access to music against that context is astounding. On a personal level, music streaming platforms allow me to access whatever music I want, anywhere, anytime,” Wright explains. “A more relevant, meaningful, and integrated use of music in campaigns is needed. Brands have to consider the benefits of using music as a transformative play to open up opportunities around the consumer decision journey.”

Having worked in China for Wavemaker, Wright thinks that the commercialisation of platforms by Chinese companies, like Tencent, provide a much wider range of opportunities to brands around the consumer decision journey than previously available.

“It will be interesting to see how its Asian brand, like JOOX, starts to embrace these models across the region, providing a better platform for innovation," she says.

For each one of our Marketers' Music Mind features, Marketing is collaborating with JOOX to produce a bespoke playlist based on our interviewee’s answers for our readers. Scan the QR code to see what we made and enjoy!

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This content was sponsored by JOOX