Disclaimer: This is transcribed using AI. Expect (funny) errors.
Mindy Peterson: [00:00:00] I’m Mindy Peterson, and this is Enhance Life with Music, a holistic look at the power of music in our everyday lives. My guest today is joining me through the wonders of technology from Madrid. Pavle Marinkovic is author of the book How to Hook Your Customer with the Music. He’s in charge of the music and neuroscience department at the audio branding firm Sounditi, and head of the neuroscience department at Alize. He is also a music teacher, film composer and award winning writer on topics related to marketing, music, psychology, science and future trends in business. Welcome to Enhance Life with music, Pavle!
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:00:44] Thank you for having me.
Mindy Peterson: [00:00:45] Well, it’s so great to have you here. We’ve connected over LinkedIn. I love your writing and we really connected over a lot of that. And we discovered as we were just chatting before I hit the record button that you’re the first guest I think that I’ve had on the podcast who’s native first language is not English. And I was just saying how much I admire those of you who speak multiple languages fluently. I have interviewed many other people from other countries, but they’re their first language has been English. And I know we’ve spoken before on the phone. And I was just so impressed with how fluent you are. And I’m thrilled to have you here. And this will be a new experience for both of us. So welcome, Pavle. I really enjoyed reading your book, How to Hook Your Customer with Music. It explains how to be more effective in utilizing the power of music to reach customers. Some of us and I’m referring to myself and listeners, some of us have customers, but we all our customers. So we’re going to take a look at the concepts in your book and also kind of reverse engineer them to look at how we ask. Customers are being influenced through music when we’re in a store or a restaurant or listening to a commercial. In your book, you talk about two ways that businesses can use music, high attention and low attention pathways. Can you briefly describe these two different ways that music can be used with customers?
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:02:19] Of course. And it’s important if we’re going to talk about how businesses can use music to ask ourselves, like, why use sound in the first place? What makes audio is so important that businesses should take notice and using their marketing strategies. So there are like three reasons. I’ve come up with first music as part of our life events. So whether you’re attending a wedding, there’s music, whether you’re going to a funeral, there’s music, birthday party music as part of our lives and their memories attached to it. You know, as people, as customers, we are always interacting with music. It’s so much that there’s a study that says that 14 percent of our waking time is spent listening to music. So that’s approximately three hours each day. And that’s happens more when you are younger. And when you you’re older, it diminishes to approximately 12 hours a week. So music is part of our everyday lives. And audio has become a new trend. Like your podcast, for example, you know that there are more listeners of podcasts in the US and there are subscribers in Netflix.
Mindy Peterson: [00:03:33] Oh, really? That’s an interesting stat. I like that. Yeah.
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:03:36] So audio is becoming a new way to interact with the world. The less shipments of smartphones, more shipments of headphones, there are more smart speakers sold and there are even social apps like Clubhouse that are only audio based. So audio is the new trend. So it’s important for businesses to take notice and see that there’s a great chance to influence your customers through this medium.
Mindy Peterson: [00:04:04] Yeah, that’s a great point to make. And I know you do a lot of reading about future business trends, and that’s one thing that I enjoy kind of staying up on, too. Yeah.
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:04:13] So sound is essential to our lives. And back to your question. There are two ways we process music in general terms. So there’s a high retention path and a low retention pathway. When we talk about this high tension pathway, we’re processing music in a conscious way. So we are very aware of the musical elements of the content we are experiencing in that moment. So we can be focusing on noticing the instruments or the lyrics or any of the other musical element that’s participating in experiencing that content. So the most classical example we all know about are the jingles.
Mindy Peterson: [00:04:52] Yeah.
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:04:53] So jingles have been around for a lot of time and these are like short commercial songs. That’s a. Explicitly promotes something about the brand, whether it’s an advantage or a feature or just telling people to buy because there’s a discount. So they’re both informative and entertaining and they appeal to our rational minds.
Mindy Peterson: [00:05:13] I thought it was really interesting. In your book, you talked about how jingles had their boom in the 1950s and their use has really significantly declined since then, partly because they were kind of overused and just don’t appeal to consumers as much. But yeah, it definitely is a high attention pathway of music or mode of music, because the focus really is on the music and on the words. That’s really what your attention is drawn to. And when you’re listening to a jingle.
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:05:42] Exactly. They can appeal to our short term behaviors. For example, they can announce when we have to go to a store to buy something because it’s on discount or they can help us recall the brand, the name of the brand, because there’s so much in the song about the brand, the new it’s like stuck in your mind
Mindy Peterson: [00:06:03] Sometimes also in a negative way. Like, I think we all can probably think of a jingle that we’ve heard so much that we’re like, oh my goodness, every time you hear it, like I’m thinking of one for Menard’s. So I don’t know if Menard’s is in Europe, but it’s easier in the, you know, box like home goods, like home maintenance, home supplies store. And they have a jingle that every time I hear it, I’m like, oh my goodness, get something different, please.
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:06:31] So I get fed up with the music if we are so consciously listening to it.
Mindy Peterson: [00:06:36] Right. Anything else that you want to say about the high attention pathway before we look at the low attention? Padthaway Well,
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:06:43] It’s about the listening experience, as you as you say. So when we are consciously listening to music, we can get fed up more quickly than if we are listening to it, like our background music, background noise. There’s a study that looks at how many times does it take for us to decrease our arousal towards a certain song? And when we are listening to it consciously, it takes approximately eight listening experiences when we are listening to it unconsciously as background music, when we are like studying or doing other chores, it takes thirty two times to get fed up with the music. So it’s, it’s, it can be how you say this in English like a two way street, like if you use music too much consciously and explicitly, it can be good to recall the brand, but it can elicit some negative emotions. You don’t want to stick around with your brand. Sure.
Mindy Peterson: [00:07:40] Afterwards. Yeah. You kind of get into that law of diminishing returns. Like if you even think about eating a Snickers candy bar, the first bite is amazing. And then exactly with each additional bite that kind of levels off. And if you just keep on going, you can get to the point where you make yourself sick.
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:07:58] Yeah, you’re so numb with all that sugar. That’s it’s not the same as in the beginning. Yeah. And now. Yeah. And now we have this other low attentional pathway which refers to our unconscious perception of music. So we are not aware of the musical elements while we are experiencing, for instance, a movie. If you go and ask somebody after he has watched a emotional movie scene to tell you something about the music, like what the Shondra was, at what pace was it? The person won’t be able to recall what was happening with the music, but he was reacting to it. So it was in a way being more effective when it was being used in this unconscious way. Yeah, this helps us use music in a way that bypasses all these rational filters. We have all these biases or his questions about what kind of music we are using and that’s are drawing us away from the actual experience. And this makes us less resistant to persuasion. There was a study that compared musical ads or ads that used music prominently with ads that didn’t have a musical element. And they found that when you use musical ads, there was a 20 to 30 percent increase in sales just because of using that emotional pathway through this low attention processing of music.
Mindy Peterson: [00:09:19] So that’s huge. That’s significant. I mean, emotions sell
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:09:25] Emotion and
Mindy Peterson: [00:09:27] Music creates that emotion. And as you mentioned, when it’s used in this low attention way, it affects us without us even being aware that we’re being affected or even that music is even playing. Like you mentioned, when we’re watching a movie or watching a commercial and that music is playing. And I know in your book you say that this low attention pathway of music, this is where the music really gets powerful and and that’s what we’re going to be focusing on our conversation today when you were talking. About this low attention pathway of music and how we’re often unaware that the music is even playing, were unaware that we’re being affected by the music and those normal, rational filters are not in place, it kind of reminded me a little bit of hypnosis, like we kind of have the stereotype image, a lot of us here in the US anyways of hypnosis being where somebody else is like a puppet controlling the strings. And we’re completely out of control of our own behavior. But it’s really that’s not the case. It’s really just someone being in sort of a guided state of increased relaxation and more open to suggestion because those filters are down and that guard is down. And that’s kind of what it reminds me of when you’re talking about this low pathway of music. I’m sorry, the low attention, Padthaway,
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:10:54] Because you let go yourself, you were more prone to listen to what others are, for example, came as somebody suggesting to you and you let yourself go and just experience without doubting or putting any barriers in between.
Mindy Peterson: [00:11:11] Yeah. And with hypnosis, it is used to affect behavior. If there’s unwanted behavior in your life, whether it’s addictions or anxiety or pain or something like that, it’s used to sort of help us control those behaviors. And really, in a way, that’s almost what businesses are doing through their use of music is affecting our behavior in a way. So talk to us about some of the ways that music can change our behavior as customers without us even being aware of it sometimes.
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:11:43] Yeah, I can mention you, for example. There are three broad behavioral changes that we can conceive. It’s easy to understand. So first of all, I want to point out that the more unconscious you show music to your audience, the more effective it can it can be. And this reminds me, when I was studying film scoring, the teachers always told me that when you compose something for a scene, you should be aware that music shouldn’t interfere with what was happening in the scene and shouldn’t draw attention to the music because it gets out of the experience of feeling what the character is feeling, listening to to his dialogue. So we are always trying to use music to be more effective. And in this case, the more unconscious, the better for our business goals. So, for instance, we have purchased intention. There are two studies about it and purchase intention is our willingness to pay for a certain product or service. There’s a study that puts people in a wine shop and people are exposed to either classical music or pop music. Pop music would be the top 40 songs that are broadcast through the radio. And in this one show they follow the purchase of the clients when they are exposed to different situations, music situations. So when people purchase wine that was under the top 40 pop music condition, they didn’t buy as expensive wines as they would with classical music. So why is that? Because in this case, you have to find music that fits the environment when wine and classical music are intertwined in a way that classical music induces high status, refined, elegant sort of values that make people try to adjust their behavior to this environment. And they’re more willing to pay for a more expensive product because they feel that they need to because they are part of this environment that’s inducing this kind of behavior.
Mindy Peterson: [00:13:53] Yeah, that’s interesting. I was expecting you to say something more about the quantity of their purchases, like how much they were buying. But I hadn’t really thought about the price of what they were buying if they were buying the same amount. But just higher priced wines. That’s interesting.
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:14:09] Yeah. In this case, it’s about the price of one wine, but it can also be about the quantity. So there’s another study also with wines. I don’t know if the guy is funding. The studies were lying brands, but both the studies are on wine. Why? The second study compared French music and German music. This is in a supermarket environment and in the wine aisle, people are exposed to either French music one day and the next day to German music. And there’s an interesting pattern here. So people, when they listen to French music, they listen to accordion music, which is most commonly associated with French music. They buy more French wines to a ratio of four, two to one. So for each one German. They buy for French wine. Oh, wow. And when they’re listening to German music, which is more like metal and wind instruments, they buy more German wine, but not in the same proportion. They buy two to one. So for each French wine, they buy two German. So why is that? Because it’s not just about the music of it which induces you to buy a certain type of product. It’s also about the cultural perceptions you have about a certain product. So we are used to buying French wine and associating French wine with quality like wine. So we don’t usually think about German wine. Maybe we think about more German beer, but not German wine. I was just going to say
Mindy Peterson: [00:15:47] German drinks, I think about beer.
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:15:49] Yeah. So that’s why the ratios are different, because there’s already a cultural imprint on what you’re buying. So music can only induce a certain behavior. But there’s also other factors that are influencing your purchase as well. OK, so this is about purchase intention. So it’s about finding the right fit between music and environment. And, you know, a journalist could say like classical music is the way to go. You should use music that’s, you know, classical music because that’s the highest return on your investments. But it’s not about the genre. It’s about the fit with the environment.
Mindy Peterson: [00:16:31] Ok, I could see this really being important for restaurants. I mean, if you have an ethnic restaurant playing music that fits that environment, I would think would be huge. And then even with restaurants that aren’t ethnic, like Italian restaurants or German restaurants or French restaurants, if you have something like a fine dining steakhouse, I would think that the music would be very different than a Chick fil A or some kind of a fast food restaurant where it’s just a completely different
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:17:04] Environment and enhances the whole experience of you being in that environment, in that Italian restaurant or French. And you feel like if you in France, I mean, music can can transport you to a different place, different time. That’s no other sense can do. And then we have another one. We have a time perception. So how can music change our perception of time in a way that is beneficial for business schools? So, for example, we have this thing that we all do that we phone our customer line service and we are stuck in hold for a long time. And the, you know, studies show that when you are more than two minutes waiting for a customer to be to be attended, you hung up. So how can businesses use music to make people feel that less time has passed and so people don’t hang up? They have they can have a more positive feedback to the customer attention. So there’s a lot of unused slow tempo music and fast tempo music. So whenever you were listening to slow paced music, people were asked afterwards how much time that’s passed and they assessed that less time has passed when they were listening to slow tempo music, in a sense, they were maybe induced to be more relaxed and the less information was being transmitted. So when they did this cognitive evaluation, they would say that less time has passed. But then they were listening to fast paced music. They would be all agitated and more information would be transmitted. More things are happening in less time. So they will assess that more time has passed.
Mindy Peterson: [00:18:52] Oh, that’s interesting. Well, one thing that that brings to my mind is I just got a text yesterday from a friend of mine who said I am sitting at a doctor’s office waiting to be called back. And the reception area has banjo music playing and it is stressing me out. She said she said, I think my blood pressure is going up. They should not be playing this at doctors offices. So that’s I mean, maybe this is a combination of the time, perception and maybe some energy regulation, too. But that would be another reason, I would think, to play slower pace music in any kind of a waiting area, like you mentioned, hold music, but also in waiting areas where you don’t want people to feel like they’ve been waiting any longer than they have.
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:19:40] Yeah, like medical appointments or waiting in line to be attended to in a bank and all those kinds of experiences that you have to wait. But if there’s a chance you assess that less time has passed, it’s better for your well-being because you think, oh, yeah, I’ve been less than that, I. And how you react to the person you are being attended by,
Mindy Peterson: [00:20:04] So we have purchase intention and time perception, did you say there is a third category?
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:20:11] Yes, but in time perception, there’s also a way that we react with maybe with unconsciously with our body movements. So if you put slow paced music in stores, people will spend more time in the stores, supermarkets, because they’re unconsciously adjusting to the pace of the music when they’re going through these different aisles. Yeah, but the music has to be it has to have certain characteristics. So it has to be something that’s familiar to the customer. It has to be of low volume and it has to be liked. So if you have that combination, you are more prone to stay in that environment.
Mindy Peterson: [00:20:52] Oh, interesting. Slow, low volume, familiar lights. OK, now this is something that I could see being useful in restaurants, too. I mean, if you have a fine dining establishment where you want people to take their time, eat more, order more, drink more, come to to a fast food restaurant where you want to just turn those tables and get people through so you can get more customers through in a shorter period of time.
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:21:18] Exactly. You have to adjust to what your business is like and use music to your advantage, whether it’s making people stay more or getting them getting rid of them faster.
Mindy Peterson: [00:21:32] Yeah, we had another episode a long time ago where we touched a little bit on that topic. And I remember thinking this could be sort of helpful if you have people over who don’t want to leave and you’re like, OK, it’s getting late, I’m ready for you to go. Maybe we should turn on some music.
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:21:52] Yeah, that would be.
Mindy Peterson: [00:21:53] Or the opposite. Well, you know, you just don’t want them to leave. You’re having so much fun. Just have some slow music playing. You just have to know what they like.
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:22:02] Yeah, I hadn’t thought of that, but yeah, I would be a very interesting way to manipulate people. But yeah, I mean as long as you’re using music in a way that’s, you know, and you were there’s a strategy behind not just putting the first playlist that comes to the Spotify list. You’re doing something that’s making your business more efficient and taking advantage of what music can be used for. So, for example, there’s another thing that happens when people go into a store. The stuff is very pressured to be very welcoming and tend to all the customers needs. So what happens if you use music to take a little bit of the pressure of the stuff and make people assess both the physical environment and the personnel as more positive than they would use in non music environments? So that’s what happened in another study. That’s when people were like the music that they were listening to. They were afterwards surveyed and they assessed both the physical environment and the personnel as more positive than they would with music that they didn’t like.
Mindy Peterson: [00:23:18] Well, that’s interesting, too, because depending on the environment, that music that people liked and makes customers feel welcome could be totally different. If you have a store that selling clothing to teenagers, the music that makes them feel welcomed and like they want to stay, it’s going to be completely different than if you have probably that fine wine store where, you know, it’s an older demographic who has more money to spend. You know, completely different music is what they’re going to find familiar and what they what they like.
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:23:51] If you want to get rid of your the less customers, you just put classical music and they will just run for their lives.
Mindy Peterson: [00:23:58] Yes, actually, that’s funny because the I just had an episode where that study came up and it works.
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:24:06] Yeah. They can you can reduce crime using music, certain classical music. So yeah. It can be used as a weapon. Yeah.
Mindy Peterson: [00:24:17] In some instances. Well anything else that you wanted to say about that time perception concept before we went on to the. I think you said there is a third. Well it’s
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:24:27] Yeah. It’s about the evaluation of, of environments. So how you assess certain environments will induce a certain response and you will act accordingly. So if you if you assess that it’s positive that you’re having a good time, you’re more prone to be to behave well towards the stuff. And so that was the third one got type perception. There was some studies that that said that, you know, fast paced music would make people feel that less time has passed because they interpreted. As I’ve received so much stimulus that it can be the amount of time that has passed, so but the thing is that those were the early studies on the subject, and you have to think that everything that’s related to all your branding is very new. People don’t know about this. Even people in the marketing departments don’t know about all the branding. And it’s the first when I talk to them, it’s the first time they hear about using audio in a way that can meet their business goals.
Mindy Peterson: [00:25:29] So this is kind of a new and evolving and exploding field that.
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:25:34] Yes, and that makes it very challenging when you have to sell your cellular services to these great businesses because they’re not aware of this use of music. So it makes it more challenging.
Mindy Peterson: [00:25:46] Well, that study that you mentioned that found that effective ads are the ones that have a strong emotional response from the audience, and that emotional response is much stronger when there’s music in the ads. That ad, I think you said that showed that ads that had music increase sales by up to 30 percent in that room and that study, the emotional response of the listener, was measured by how much their hands were sweating. That was the measure of the emotional response of the audience, which is really interesting. Is that sort of a new study and one that is is kind of unusual? Are you seeing more and more of these studies that are measuring the effect of music in advertising and on consumer behavior?
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:26:33] The study was, for example, from 2015. And yes, there’s more. So as a new trend of audio is increasing, more studies are being drawn towards using sound and music in marketing environments. And the thing the interesting thing is that, as you mentioned, that sweat glands is a way to measure this unconscious response to music. And in our firm, we use facial recognition software for those same purposes to find out those genuine emotions that arise when people listen to some voiceover or to our audio segment or how they react to an audio branding advertisement that uses music.
Mindy Peterson: [00:27:18] Wow. Yeah. So that would be the facial recognition software. Would that be used in, for example, a focus group or would there actually be some kind of a camera in a store that would measure customer’s facial expressions when certain music plays?
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:27:34] So in our yeah, you can use both instances. In our case, we use like a cloud based platform where you can upload all your content. So maybe you have different versions of ads you want to test with your audience. You will share this link with people and they see this they open this link from their mobile phones or from their computers and the camera lets on. Oh, and you I mean, you ask for their permission before. So it’s not something that’s there. And then you measure all these different facial expressions and muscle movements while they’re actually listening or looking at this content. So you can get very genuine reaction from people because they are not voluntarily changing their facial expressions. It’s something very involuntary. Maybe you can be aware of that. You’re being recorded at the beginning, but after a while you just react and let your face express how it likes. Yeah. So this is a new form to test all these unconscious processes compared to the usual service we use. So when you ask somebody in a survey, you’re always asking them after they have experienced the ads or the song, you’re not asking them at the moment. They’re experiencing the song. So first, it’s a reaction that’s not in the moment. Then it’s a reaction that you assume that they are able to retrieve accurately.
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:29:10] So maybe somebody can say that they felt anger, but it wasn’t angry. It was like a mixture between sadness and contempt. But they interpreted it afterwards as anger. So you’re assuming many things from people when you ask them verbally to respond to a survey. Sure. Then there’s like, how can we arise those emotional reactions from music. So, for instance, we can make conditioning process. So once that it’s about pairing neutral stimulus, like, for example, the brand that’s not been, you don’t have any interaction with this brand and it’s a neutral stimulus. You pair it with a certain music that you like in a sort of environment with listening to music while you were. With friends, so by pairing repeatedly, there’s neutral stimulus, which is the brand with music, which is a positive stimulus for you, you start developing a certain response to the brand by association, your conditioning, in a sense, the person to react to the brand, even if the music is not present at the moment. At the beginning. Yes, the music and the brand has to be presented at the same time. But after a while, without even having any music, those positive emotions you’ve developed by this association will be also responded to to the brand itself.
Mindy Peterson: [00:30:40] Sure. So then we go back to those emotions again and how emotions sell and certain emotion. It’s been said that music is the sound of emotions. And when that brand is paired with a certain emotion that people feel from the music, eventually the association becomes linked just by hearing the music compared with that brand a certain number of times. Yeah, and
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:31:03] Emotional ads are more viral. They have the capacity to be shared more than ads that don’t elicit any emotional response. So it’s another way to use music to make something viral by inducing strong emotional response.
Mindy Peterson: [00:31:20] Wow. I find it so fascinating to just learn more about how we are being affected in a retail or consumer situation environment, often without us even being aware of it. And I know the next time that I’m walking through a store or sitting in a restaurant, I’m definitely going to be more aware of the music that I’m hearing. And if it’s enhancing my experience and my association with that brand or if there’s a disconnect and the people choosing the music really need your book, like like my friend who is sitting in the doctor’s office and her blood pressure was going up listening to this fast paced, sort of high pitched banjo music. Doctors everywhere. Please use soothing, slow music in your waiting room.
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:32:09] Exactly. I mean, you can get a copy of my book if you if you once
Mindy Peterson: [00:32:14] Before I let you go. I do want to hear about your upcoming book. You have a second e-book that’s coming out this fall. Tell us what the topic of that is.
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:32:23] Well, this is about two topics that we all love, which is food and music and. Yes, and but it’s not just about our experience of eating food while we listen to background music. It’s about the whole cycle of food from farm to fork and back. You might think of the first phase of plant growth. How can music enhance plant growth? How can ultrasound, for example, help you detect the quality of fruits and the know when the fruit is mature to be harvested? And then what happens when the food arrives to your plate? How can you use music to change the food’s flavor? For instance, high pitched sound would induce taste of sweet, and the low pitched sound can induce taste of beta. So you know what happens when you use this in an environment like an airplane where the food is funny and you have to compensate with these atmospheric changes with, you know, with the use of music. So, yeah, I mean, this is using sound and music throughout the whole food cycle.
Mindy Peterson: [00:33:33] Oh, my goodness, that sounds so fascinating. This sounds like another episode waiting to happen. And that’s funny that you mentioned airplane food because my husband says I have a cast iron stomach. I mean, I can eat just about anything and it’s not going to bother me, but airplane food and I do not get along very well. So I’d be really interested to see what kind of music can help make airplane food digestible right now. Are you thinking October is when it will be released?
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:33:59] It’s always difficult to predict when it will be out, but yeah, something like that. October, maybe November. Yeah, it’s about trying to find that there’s something more to food and music than meets the eye or the ear. This case. Yeah.
Mindy Peterson: [00:34:16] Well, thank you so much for sharing this with us today, Pavle. I ask all my guests to close out our conversation with a musical ending a coda by sharing a song or a story about a moment that music enhanced your life. Do you have a song or story you can share with us in closing today?
Pavle Marinkovic: [00:34:34] Yeah, I think I want to share a song that I composed approximately three years ago. It’s called Vaivén (in English, it would be “the eternal motion of coming and going”). And it’s a very significant song for me for a couple of reasons. First, because it’s part of my first solo album and then because it was inspired by and meant for my girlfriend, so it’s a very emotional piece, and I want to share this significant and emotional piece with you.
Transcribed by Sonix.ai