Are you reaching your customers?

Are you reaching your customers? The key is knowing who they are and what they want. To appeal to retail customers, you need to understand what makes them tick. What better way to do that than by studying actual consumer behaviour?

The other point is to use every possible means at your disposal to communicate with them. And this is where we come in. At FDM we spend most of our time researching what music customers prefer and we install audio replay systems that are close to being state of the art. Yet many clients don’t use the systems for their primary function. Communication.

Now I am inclined to agree that a continuous bombardment of badly recorded and equally badly voiced material probably does more harm than good. So as with all good business decisions exact stratergising and planning is essential.

We suggest start small. How about a greeting in the morning and an announcement before closing that the store closes in 15 minutes time. Use your system to provide useful information that customers may not always know. Support whatever customer loyalty plan you have in place. Offer added value through your discounting policy and then move on to short informative product and service offers. Nothing too brash but exciting enough to get the desired response. Many large retail brands now have offers in the area of insurance, funeral plans and the like. In store is the ideal place to promote such services.

Try a feature of the song of the week played regularly every hour. Look at the possibility of your own brands Top 20 on a Saturday or Sunday and offer streaming of your playlists onto mobile devices. And if you are able run in-store promotions and competitions.

Examine the messages you’re sending. Are they the right ones for your customers? Are you getting them across? Many communication errors stem from a naïve belief among marketing people that they’re necessarily trying to connect with people exactly like themselves. For example, many retailers overlook issues of nationality, language, ethnicity, and age.

We’d be more than happy to come and discuss possibilities with your marketing team and come up with some concepts and solutions that really can make a difference.

STREAMING MUSIC

The way in which we access music has changed completely. Although you can still purchase CD’s, DVD’s etc. at a personal level most access to songs these days is an online digital process.

The latest addition to the world of music streaming is huge. According to revered music mag Rolling Stone “Apple Music, contains many features that streaming-music fans will expect (playlists galore, algorithmically guessed genre spotlights) in addition to an emphasis on music recommendations by real-life humans. The heart of the service is Beats 1, the Trent Reznor-conceived radio station that will be free to everyone and feature programs by Dr. Dre, Elton John, St. Vincent, Zane Lowe and others. It also contains a section curated based on users’ individual musical tastes with playlists and other features, another offering new music, a quasi-social network called Connect and a place to play a user’s iTunes collection.“ It appears that it will provide streaming access to the whole i-Tunes library.

The superstar rapper and entrepreneur Jay Z made headlines recently when he bought the previously little-known Swedish streaming service Tidal. Tidal had previously been an also-ran in the streaming wars, but Jay invited the world’s biggest music stars, including Beyoncé, Rihanna, Madonna, Alicia Keys, Daft Punk and members of Coldplay, the White Stripes and Arcade Fire, to run the company with him. The artists pledge to fix the streaming business so it pays more royalties to those who make the music, but Tidal hasn’t outlined exactly how it will achieve this — Vania Schlogel, a senior executive, says it’s simply a matter of not offering the service for free. Will that be enough? We’ll see, especially after the Apple launch.

“Music is a really important part of the YouTube experience,” the company’s chief executive Susan Wojcicki said a year ago, shortly after taking over. Just about every piece of music ever recorded appears on YouTube, for free, and any Spotify or Beats that attempts to charge listeners for streaming must contend with this reality. “YouTube is the world’s largest freemium service, and that is frustrating,” says Ian Montone, manager of Jack White, Vampire Weekend and others. “It can also be a discovery tool.” Google owns it and is just too powerful to regulate in the traditional way through licensing deals.

Then there’s Spotify. Daniel Ek is the head honcho here. Spotify is about to raise US$400 million in new funding, which would bring the streaming service’s value to US$8.4 billion — a ridiculous number considering the U.S. record industry’s entire revenue is roughly US$12 billion. After Taylor Swift ripped Spotify last year as a “grand experiment” that doesn’t properly compensate artists and songwriters, major labels have pushed to limit the free side of its “freemium” service.

But the service with 60 million users refuses to budge. Ek, the company’s founder, wrote a long and detailed blog post last autumn in response to Swift and others, saying the company has paid $2 billion to rights holders and “we’re working day and night to recover money for artists and the music business that piracy was stealing away.” Any road to winning the streaming wars goes through Ek and Spotify.

EXCITING POSSIBILITIES WITH NEW SMART PHONE RECOGNITION SOFTWARE: AUDIO AND PUSH MESSAGING SYNCHRONIZATION

Technology moves further ahead with the release of software that can be embedded in an audio track during playlist compilation, then identifies and activates smart phones bringing them to life to download short messages that indicate that the phone user has been recognised in the environment and making them aware of other any other useful information.

The data is hidden in the music track so cannot be heard and does not interfere with the quality of the music or speech being transmitted. It triggers the smart phone and if you are an account holder or are on the store’s data base in another way, such as being a member of a loyalty programme, it welcomes you personally and passes on information regarding special offers, promotions etc. This save a customer time if they are visiting the store for a specific item or makes them aware of items that they may not previously have known about.

It won’t be too long before such systems become interactive, in other words you will be able to ask the information centre questions:-

  • Do you stock a particular brand or item?
  • What minimum payment should I make on my account?
  • Is short term insurance available?
  • What is my current credit limit?
  • Can I pay by debit order?
  • Do you stock XXXL sizes of clothing?
  • What is the price of new potatoes a kilo?

And where retailers have multi-brands and other stores within the group it will also be possible to provide information from them as an added value to shopping at a given branch within the group.

You are in Woolworths and a special offer becomes available at Re or JT-One. Your phone lets you know.

And other platforms can be offered to the client through complimentary software which a store can advise them about. “Oooh! I love this song. What’s it called?” Go to Shazam.com and find out. Download it on to your phone’s MP3 player through iTunes, Spotify, Shazam, Sound Cloud, Mix Cloud or any other legal music download site.

These exciting developments are becoming a reality and if you watch our web site at www.futuredimensions.co.za you see how to access them for your business.

Good vibes and good listening!

Pharrell Williams

This man is a modern phenomenon. Super talented and obviously a very skilled businessman to say nothing of being a great time manager! The word prolific just doesn’t seem to cut it.

Williams launched a multimedia creative collective and record label called “I am other” in May 2012 that serves as an umbrella for all of his business endeavors including a record label, apparel, textiles, design and a dedicated YouTube channel.

Williams co-founded the clothing brands Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream Footwear. He has a boutique store in New York City on West Broadway.

In 2008, Williams co-designed a series of jewelry (“Blason”) and sunglasses for Louis Vuitton. He has also worked on designer furniture with Emmanuel Perrotin and a French manufacturer, Domeau & Pérès. In 2009, Williams unveiled a collaborative sculpture with Takashi Murakami at Art Basel, which spoke to the metaphor of value. In May 2011, it was announced that Williams would serve as Creative Director of KarmaloopTV alongside founder and CEO Greg Selkoe and former AMC president Katie McEnroe.

On August 1, 2011, Williams launched his new YouTube channel, “i am OTHER” as part of YouTube’s $100 million original channel initiative.

In August 2013, Williams created a line of sunglasses for Moncler called “Moncler Lunettes”. In 2014, Williams entered a long-term partnership with Adidas.

In February 2014, Williams announced a collaboration between G-Star Raw and his textile company Bionic Yarn called “RAW for the Oceans,” a collection of denim made from recycled plastic that is found in the ocean. The project was presented at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Williams released a collection for retail giant Uniqlo in April 2014 entitled “i am OTHER“. It was created with Nigo, creative director of UT, the company’s T-shirt division. In June 2014, artist collective Rizzoli published a book by FriendsWithYou called “We Are Friends With You” that featured contributions from Williams, Alejandro Jodorowsky, and Peter Doroshenko.

Williams then co-composed The Amazing Spider-Man 2 with Hans ZimmerJohnny MarrMichael Einziger and David A. Stewart.

Williams owns a non-profit organization called “From One Hand to AnOTHER” (FOHTA). FOHTA is an educational foundation. According to its website, its mission is to “change the world one kid at a time by giving them the tools and resources to meet their unique potential”. FOHTA’s vision is to modernize the community center concept by empowering kids to learn through new technologies, arts, media and motivation.

And to top it all Pharrell is now working with South Africa’s most caring and successful retail brand Woolworths.

Woolworth’s chief executive Ian Moir has announced that the retailer is collaborating on the “Are you With Us?” campaign with this US Superstar across a series of sustainability-focused projects.

The campaign has four layers: pure entertainment, showcasing young talent, fundraising for education, and driving sustainable fashion.

Pharrell will be putting on a private concert for 5 000 Woolworths customers.

Moir expressed his desire for Williams to spend some time at some of the country’s schools who are recipients of the funds generated when customers swipe their MySchool cards. It ties in with the “Sing with Us” initiative, where school singing groups will be given the opportunity to perform live alongside Williams during his one-night-only concert. Entrants will be shortlisted and chosen personally by the musician.

Williams and MySchool will also be calling on customers to help the brand raise R100-million for schools in need across the country through swiping their MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet cards.

It’s a great initiative and a fascinating meeting of two outstanding brands.

 

 

Maximize Your In-Store Marketing Efforts

While advertising can bring customers to a store, it can also work from within your store. Today many retailers realize how important in-store Marketing can be to their base line.

A common strategy among retailers is to first release sufficient marketing and advertising in order to draw people to their place of business and then to advertise and promote heavily inside of their business. The theory is that people come into a retail establishment with one or a few key items in mind; the goal is to tempt these shoppers to buy more with well-planned advertising and marketing within the store.

In-store advertising can:

  1. Trigger recall. The human memory is far more likely to recall an item upon seeing it again. In-store advertising can serve to trigger such recall.
  2. Introduce new products. Unfamiliar products may not draw people to a store, but within the store such products can attract attention through their look, feel, or smell.
  3. Promote sale items. While a “one day only” newspaper ad can draw people to your store, in-store sales place those lower prices in front of your customer and encourage additional — and even impulse — buys.
  4. Provide more information. Whether you use a plasma screen or simple signs to highlight your featured merchandise, you want to communicate the information to your customers that will convince them to make smart purchases.

Of course, in-store advertising is most effective with a strategy. This means to first determine where to place racks, cubes, platforms, mannequins, and especially your well-designed signage in order to best display your merchandise. High-traffic areas — doorways, cash registers, fitting rooms, for example — should be your first consideration.

Other considerations when planning your in-store advertising include:

  • Creativity. Position your products in an interesting manner or on an original backdrop. Remember: You want to catch the eye of your customers as they pass your displays.
  • Lighting. Make sure all areas where advertising is present — whether it’s as a display or as signage — are well lit and attractive.
  • Hands-on activities. Toy stores have displays where kids can play. Supermarkets have in-store samples. Tech stores let you test much of the merchandise. What can you do to tempt your customers?
  • Themes. Is it back-to-school time? Mothers’ day? Thematic in-store advertising can focus around a specific season, holiday, or even a new trend or fashion.
  • Store layout. If your toys are in the back of the store, batteries should be as well. If women’s clothing is located on the lower level, fashion accessories should be advertised and displayed en route to and from those escalators. Consider the layout of your location and how your customers get to the goodies that they seek. Then, advertise along the routes that they have to take, just as you see ads for hotels and restaurants along interstate highways.
  • All five senses. You’ve already designed the look of your advertisements and displays, but sound and smell should not be left out of in-store advertising. Customers will be curious about the music they hear or the enchanting aroma they smell. If you sell edibles, feature samples of a particular product each day. These are all things that can encourage purchases and repeat patrons.

In-store advertising and promotion can be a huge boost to your business. Of course, the subtlety of the advertising and the type of displays will need to match the tone and ambiance of your retail establishment. From bargain bins to haute couture, never underestimate the potential for additional sales when you work to lure customers to “unwanted” merchandise, or those items that they did not anticipate wanting or needing when they first entered.

In Store Advertising

Located within supermarkets, drugstores, or convenience stores, in store displays come in a variety of forms: shopping cart panels, above-aisle or end-aisle displays, digital message units, clocks, floor graphics, backlit front aisle displays, and digital screens.

In Store Digital Screens 
TV monitors located at the checkout counter in convenience stores deliver advertising messages in a continuous, content-driven loop of custom programming providing information and entertainment.

Checkout Counter Dividers 
Used to separate one shopper’s groceries from the next person in line, These dividers can claim an exposure time as long as five minutes.

Floor Graphics
Vinyl displays affixed to the supermarket floor near the product being promoted.

Primary Uses
Used to provide stimulus to shoppers at the moment of a purchase decision.

Availability
The broadest programs reach thousands of grocery stores, drug stores, and convenience stores. Virtually all of the top 100 markets have in store media.

Research/Market Information
Audience data are provided by sellers. Some employ research firms for studies of audience size and effectiveness.

Method of Purchase
Varies by format. Units are generally sold in multimarket store networks or as single market buys for four week cycles.

Digital In-Store Media Makes Inroads Into High Fashion Retail

The use of in-store digital media is growing phenomenally worldwide and retailers in South Africa are taking notice. Over the past couple of years, more and more international fashion retail brands have entered the South African market and have impacted on the way in which high fashion brands are marketing and promoting their brands to customers in-store.

The importance of creating customer experiences in the retail environment is well-documented and is proving to influence consumer decision-making at the point of purchase, as well as helping to enforce branding and enriching the overall shopping experience. Chris Day, Managing Director of Moving Tactics, the leading South African digital signage solutions company, explains, “Today, more and more retailers are beginning to recognise and reap the benefits of using digital displays and bespoke in-store music as part of their branding and customer shopping experience. It allows shoppers to visually interact with the brand’s products or promotions whilst still in the store environment, where actual purchasing decisions can be made”.

Research conducted by FGI (2012) on existing digital signage solutions installed by Moving Tactics, confirmed that 41% of shoppers were influenced to make a purchase in-store, based purely upon the advertising on in-store digital screens.

Customers are also favourable to this type of communication, as 92% of shoppers interviewed thought that it was a great idea to use screens in-store for customer communication.

Voice: Seasonal Messaging Tips

Creating Holiday Messaging is one of the easiest ways to add a personal & festive ambiance to your business. It’s a simple touch that can really transform your customer’s mindset and give them fresh take on your Holiday offerings.

If you are not familiar with Holiday Messaging, it is a festive take on your already custom messaging. Perhaps this year your company is offering special extended holiday hours? Or you need to remind shoppers of your BIG door buster sale and your even lower loan rates offered till the end of the year? It’s easy to create and add a Holiday Message or music bed into your current Voice Production.

Since messaging information ranges in all sorts of categories and options, it’s easy to use it to customize your customer’s experience. I recommend following the tips below, but you can be creative and add the Voice options that best match your business’ Holiday style.

1. Clear the Clutter – Create simple messages that highlight the promotions you’ll be offering before the New Year. Include only necessary information like the dates of the event or sales and the enticing factors that will draw everyone to your store or website.

2. Keep Away the Grinch – Use positive descriptive words with a Holiday spin to keep everyone’s spirits high. A good way to incorporate this tip is to take the opportunity to switch out your go to adjectives or adverbs with seasonal inspired one such as merry, jolly, magical, icy, chocolaty, cozy, arctic, fireside, melting, frosty & wintertime.

3. Be Sure Everyone is in the Know –Will you be extending your hours on Christmas Eve? Or maybe your offices are closed the week after New Years. No matter whether it is a drastic change in schedule or you are closing a little early, use this opportunity to include your Holiday hours in your messages!

4. Accessorize – Selecting a Holiday Music Bed is as important as the messages themselves.. Pro Tip: Changing your music bed on your existing messages is the easiest way to add cheer to your customer’s day.

5. Make an Impression – Instead of waiting for the Holidays to slip away, submit your Holiday Production soon. Please allow enough time for production to avoid RUSH fees. If your device requires media remember to allow additional time for shipping.

And when we are in need of a little inspiration, music usually does the trick! So turn on those Holiday tunes and get creative with your messages!

Music Design: Top 10 Holiday Classics

Despite the many modern choices and covers, there will always be a special place for the Christmas classics. Those traditional songs sung by the familiar voices that we hear in our favourite Christmas memories. These songs slice through the overwhelming noise and clutter to make us feel warm and good at our very core, melting even the most cynical person into a kid who just can’t wait for Christmas. That’s exactly the way that many business owners and brands want customers to feel in their stores during the holidays. Here are the Top 10 Holiday Classics that our Music Designers love to linger over every year.

 “Christmastime is Here” and “Skating” By Vince Guaraldi (Jazz)

These instantly recognizably melodies from A Charlie Brown Christmas are among the best-loved holiday songs across all generations.

“Happy Holidays” by Andy Williams

Close your eyes and just see the vinyl spinning and listen to that timeless voice.

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” by Johnny Mathis

Johnny sums it up in a way that has never been equalled.  With each refrain, you can feel the warmth and joy, and prepare for the rush of childhood memories and delightful anticipation.

“Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee

“Jingle Bell Rock” by Bobby Helms

When maintaining a higher energy is important, these upbeat classics mix well with almost any genre and are quintessential classic Christmas.

“The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole

This has become one of the most popular classic songs in the last several years, and we couldn’t agree more. Nat King Cole’s version has never been surpassed – and it even holds up not only as holiday song, but as a highly regarded jazz standard.

“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” by Ella Fitzgerald

In the sub-holiday genre of New Year’s songs, Ella’s standard is masterful. The emotion in her voice is powerful and the arrangement is fantastic.

“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by Perry Como

Pure nostalgia with multiple frames of reference. It is powerful enough to inspire every listener to think about what they are thankful for and where they want to be for Christmas.

“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home”) by Darlene Love

Widely recognized as one of the greatest rock and roll Christmas songs, Love’s signature rendition evokes powerful memories and longing for holidays gone by.

“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”

Doesn’t matter who does it, it’s that great a song.  And the many versions just mean that it can be adapted for nearly any experience.

“White Christmas” by Bing Crosby

The ultimate Christmas song by the ultimate crooner. While it shouldn’t be overused, it simply can’t be replaced.

Ho! Ho! Yo!

Ahh it’s that favourite time of year once again. A time for giving, a time for sharing and a time for Christmas goodies in all the malls and all the stores! It’s a family time and a time when if we aren’t like Scrooge we endeavor to make someone less fortunate a little happier by assisting with a donation in kind or with money.

We worked hard at creating a Christmas playlist in store that included some perennial favourites as well as some new seasonal hits and let me tell that’s not as easy as it may sound. Gone are the days when virtually every artist recorded their Christmas collection. New releases this year came from golden oldies like Carole King and Paul Anka and super stylists like Annie Lennox, Lee Ann Rimes and Katherine Jenkins but none of the new kids on the block seem to have recorded their Christmas selection. South African fans will be pleased to know that local Athlone boitjie made good Johanthan Butler has released his Christmas album and very pleasant it is too. Good to see South African talent doing well on the international music scene. But I can’t help but wonder why so few of the new stars seem reluctant to record their version of some of the time honoured Christmas classics and perhaps pen a few new takes on this wonderful time of year. Could it be that in this increasingly secular world it’s considered by the Facebook generation to be not cool? It seems strange if that is the case because from a purely music business point of view having a Christmas album or two in your repertoire makes excellent sense – Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” is still the biggest selling song of all time and sells a few thousand CD’s and downloads each year. It currently exceeds 100 million copies.

Sir Bob Geldof knows the value of festive tunes. He and Midge Ure have collaborated once again to produce “Don’t They Know It’s Christmas 2014” with a whole bunch of Brit superstars like One Direction, Adele, Ed Sheeran, Bastille, Foals, Elbow, Ellie Goulding, Emeli Sandé, Sam Smith, Olly Murs (who also won 2014’s Rear of the Year Award), Coldplay, Underworld, Sinead O’Connor, Paloma Faith and Bono. It shot straight to number 1 despite the critics panning it, but the cause is superb as it aims to assist in the fight against Ebola.

Thanks to all who assisted in getting the technology in line for the special tribute to Madiba on 05 December. Although the sync on the music video was a bit off the fact that it all came together so quickly was a small miracle. Johnny Clegg’s re-recording of the song “Asimbonanga” with the ladies from Riebeck High of Uitenhage was moving and uplifting.

It just remains for us to wish you and yours a blessed, caring and giving Yuletide. We will return in 2015!!