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COULD LIVE STREAMED CONTENT BE THE MOST EFFECTIVE EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT TOOL?

By | Blog

Could Live Streamed Content Be Your Most Effective Employee Engagement Tool?

 

Music makes the world go around. There are few places in today’s High Street, from stores and salons and restaurants and pubs, where it does not add to the overall experience. Even banks, building societies and many an office are aware of the positive benefits of music.

Yet even today, and particularly at this time of year, businesses can get the music mix so wrong: constant Christmas tunes played on an endless loop – potentially irritating for customers and workers alike.

It needn’t be so, and often isn’t. Forget the generic CDs on repeat, savvy retailers, restauranteurs and other businesses realise that, rather than background music, in-store streaming is all about the “now”.

Live services allow people to interact and businesses to tailor their communications on the fly: providing news, entertainment and promotions to boost consumer mood and more. You’re providing an experience, creating an atmosphere. It’s real time, it’s immediate and it fosters a sense of community.

Our clients, including JD Sports, HSBC and Subway understand the power of music, delivered in-house, on brand and, increasingly, away from the business premises through Smartphone apps that also deliver supporting content such as promotions, forums and location services.

And it is not only customers who benefit from these brand-based stations: it also boosts the morale of employees; impacts their productivity and allows them to feel part of a bigger whole.

Could in-store “radio” actually be your most effective employee engagement tool?

There’s nothing more fundamental to having loyal, engaged and productive employees than good communication.

It absolutely makes sense for today’s brands to become media owners, curating experiences that reach their audiences. And one of a brand’s audiences, its potential biggest advocates, is its employees themselves.

Take HSBC, whom we first started working with in 2005, trialling the HSBC Live station that was later rolled out to its network of 1,100 branches. Its brief was to create a more consistent retail environment, providing a mix of news, music and sport as well as promotions for the bank’s range of financial services. It became apparent early on that customers appreciated the service – but so too did HSBC’s body of 45,000 staff in the UK.

Unsurprising: as a broadcaster I know how music especially is woven into our identity as human beings and influences our mood and energy levels. If it works for a consumer in a shop just how much more powerful is it for that till worker, that bank cashier, hairdresser or waiter in that environment for a shift of some six hours or more?

There’s growing evidence to support this claim. In one study a University of Illinois researcher gave MP3 players to 75 out of 256 retail staff to wear at work for four weeks. At the end of the test, the music listeners showed a 10% jump in productivity and were described as being “less nervous, less fatigued, more enthusiastic and more relaxed at work than the people in the control group”.

And research conducted by the Institute of Leadership & Management has argued that managers could cut absence from sickness by seven million days a year simply by switching on the radio.

Take that a step further: with a bespoke service, businesses can use audio as a channel to reinforce the corporate brand, bring together disconnected employees and communicate key messages through a shared experience. Think of shout-outs to colleagues, or slots before and after opening and closing hours to rally the workforce or deliver pertinent information.

I think that’s particularly powerful when it comes to Britain’s increasingly fragmented workforce. As we increasingly move to more flexible working solutions, such as working from home, on the road or as the use of contractors, subcontractors and occasional workers grows, it is vital businesses are able to communicate simply, easily and in a human way.

Where the workforce is remote and opportunities to collaborate are challenging, sound is – perhaps – our biggest asset.

Openreach is one such example. We’ve worked with the BT-owned infrastructure provider to bring its employees (most of whom are on the road) a 24/7 real time digital audio channel via their phones. Such an App can, of course, also support employee initiatives such as documents, interactive video, messaging and more – all contained within a single, staff-focused hub.

Such streams or stations allow workers to feel part of a bigger community whether they’re front of house, in head office or on the road. It also gives employers an immediate feed-back loop. Who’s listening when, what and how? What are they saying? The data from such services, increasingly, will feed into the business and allow functions such as HR greater insight into the minds of their staff.

Since launching in 2000 as in-store radio providers we’ve seen a rapid evolution of the brand audio landscape – and in a mobile-first, digital and increasingly fragmented world I can only see this continuing.

It’s good for business, good for our customers and good for the productivity, health and wellbeing of our staff – who are our biggest brand advocates for better or for worse.

After all, we’re better, connected.

 

GENERATION Z’S CHANGING TASTES: MUSIC TO THE EARS OF ADVERTISERS EVERYWHERE?

By | Blog

For many brands, Gen Z are the new focus of attention as this youngest of generations rise through school and university, and increasingly enter the workforce.

Forget digital natives, these guys – born between 1995 and 2010 – are the first really truly mobile generation.

It’s exciting and scary for advertisers in equal measure: exciting because they really ‘do’ get (and help shape) all these new channels of communication; scary because of the many myths that surround this population.

This audience is concerned with experience above all else – however that is delivered. They want to work for their success, not be discovered, according to a report by Barkley and FutureCast; they believe that equality is non-negotiable; they want brands to be ‘real’ so they can be ‘unique’ and they have their own social media system of rules and etiquette.

In short, this generation is all about presenting their curated identity in a way that is authentic to them – and they expect brands to help them in this purpose.

How can we as marketers capitalise on this, and build brands that are based not on simply selling but that become a bigger and more relevant part of our customers’ lives?

As Gen Z increasingly enters the workplace, they matter more than what they offer in spending power. They matter because what comes instinctively to them today will become increasingly natural to many of us tomorrow.

Let’s take a look at how we can learn from and capitalise on the very particular habits of today’s under-23s.

Gen Z spends significant amounts of time on social media and video platforms. According to research by Adobe, in the UK, the average Gen Z spends a huge 10.6 hours engaging with online content every single day (compared to 8.9 hours for millennials and an overall average of 6.9 hours). They’re mobile-first and use their phone more than any other device. They’ll also use multiple devices at any one time.

This shift in behaviour means that marketers can reach this group whenever, and wherever they are; they can devise strategies that effectively link their retail presence with online ecommerce and deliver experiences – be they digital or physical -through the bridge of the smartphone. Clicks and bricks have never been closer. And nor has the customer.

Take our partnership with JD Sports, for example. This summer we launched JD X, a music service that includes a live channel that’s broadcast both in stores and through its transactional mobile app.

We know our audience is into exclusives, they want to find the best new music, want to search out new experiences and to be part of a community. The live station plays mostly urban music – grime, hip-hop and R&B alongside interviews with athletes such as boxing’s Anthony Joshua (a brand ambassador) and musicians. Customers are encouraged to interact via the app by submitting shout-outs or to catch up on shows they’ve missed. There are also a number of other, complementary content streams that are tweaked and changed on an ongoing basis.

And unlike on other platforms all the data is immediately available to the brand, allowing it to iterate on the go, and to help inform its plans around events, retail environments and so on. Crucially, could JD X be the added extra that makes a customer buy a pair of Adidas from JD Sports rather than any one of the thousands of other outlets?

The audience buys in to the JD universe. Sales are up and the service is being rolled out across Europe and beyond. This is a brand that understands who its audience is – something that is sometimes forgotten in the rush for short term sales at the expense of long-term brand patronage.

Advertising guru John Hegarty said recently: “My obsession has always been, when I’m creating a piece of work, the audience I’m talking to.”

He continues: “If you’re in marketing your job is to ensure your potential audience; everything else is a side issue. If you can inspire them to come to your brand you will have a brilliant brand that will have fantastic value and create great results.”

I couldn’t agree more. By tapping directly into your target audience you’re creating more than communications: you’re creating a community; a club; a hub. Done well and with honesty and integrity you’re also bringing a deeper layer of brand trust, creating interest and excitement, compelling curiosity and inviting surprise through carefully curated content.

For Generation Z, this is expected. They have a collaborative relationship with the brands they endorse and know the value exchange – often preferring it to traditional ‘advertising’, which they see as staid, forgettable and overwhelming in number – too easy to tune out. They want to be partners in much that they do and have a much more mindful attitude to everything from careers and experiences through to health and wellness.

Brands that understand and respect this have a head start. They understand the particular nuances of these younger generations but also consider how these changing behaviours will siphon through to the Gen Xers, the Baby Boomers et al. And, in time, how will Generation Alpha – those born after 2010, reset our expectations?

By Bruno Brooks, founder and CEO of Immedia

We know our audience is into exclusives, they want to find the best new music, want to search out new experiences and to be part of a community. The live station plays mostly urban music – grime, hip-hop and R&B alongside interviews with athletes such as boxing’s Anthony Joshua (a brand ambassador) and musicians. Customers are encouraged to interact via the app by submitting shout-outs or to catch up on shows they’ve missed. There are also a number of other, complementary content streams that are tweaked and changed on an ongoing basis.

And unlike on other platforms all the data is immediately available to the brand, allowing it to iterate on the go, and to help inform its plans around events, retail environments and so on. Crucially, could JD X be the added extra that makes a customer buy a pair of Adidas from JD Sports rather than any one of the thousands of other outlets?

The audience buys in to the JD universe. Sales are up and the service is being rolled out across Europe and beyond. This is a brand that understands who its audience is – something that is sometimes forgotten in the rush for short term sales at the expense of long-term brand patronage.

Advertising guru John Hegarty said recently: “My obsession has always been, when I’m creating a piece of work, the audience I’m talking to.”

He continues: “If you’re in marketing your job is to ensure your potential audience; everything else is a side issue. If you can inspire them to come to your brand you will have a brilliant brand that will have fantastic value and create great results.”

I couldn’t agree more. By tapping directly into your target audience you’re creating more than communications: you’re creating a community; a club; a hub. Done well and with honesty and integrity you’re also bringing a deeper layer of brand trust, creating interest and excitement, compelling curiosity and inviting surprise through carefully curated content.

For Generation Z, this is expected. They have a collaborative relationship with the brands they endorse and know the value exchange – often preferring it to traditional ‘advertising’, which they see as staid, forgettable and overwhelming in number – too easy to tune out. They want to be partners in much that they do and have a much more mindful attitude to everything from careers and experiences through to health and wellness.

Brands that understand and respect this have a head start. They understand the particular nuances of these younger generations but also consider how these changing behaviours will siphon through to the Gen Xers, the Baby Boomers et al. And, in time, how will Generation Alpha – those born after 2010, reset our expectations?

By Bruno Brooks, founder and CEO of Immedia

We know our audience is into exclusives, they want to find the best new music, want to search out new experiences and to be part of a community. The live station plays mostly urban music – grime, hip-hop and R&B alongside interviews with athletes such as boxing’s Anthony Joshua (a brand ambassador) and musicians. Customers are encouraged to interact via the app by submitting shout-outs or to catch up on shows they’ve missed. There are also a number of other, complementary content streams that are tweaked and changed on an ongoing basis.

And unlike on other platforms all the data is immediately available to the brand, allowing it to iterate on the go, and to help inform its plans around events, retail environments and so on. Crucially, could JD X be the added extra that makes a customer buy a pair of Adidas from JD Sports rather than any one of the thousands of other outlets?

The audience buys in to the JD universe. Sales are up and the service is being rolled out across Europe and beyond. This is a brand that understands who its audience is – something that is sometimes forgotten in the rush for short term sales at the expense of long-term brand patronage.

Advertising guru John Hegarty said recently: “My obsession has always been, when I’m creating a piece of work, the audience I’m talking to.”

He continues: “If you’re in marketing your job is to ensure your potential audience; everything else is a side issue. If you can inspire them to come to your brand you will have a brilliant brand that will have fantastic value and create great results.”

I couldn’t agree more. By tapping directly into your target audience you’re creating more than communications: you’re creating a community; a club; a hub. Done well and with honesty and integrity you’re also bringing a deeper layer of brand trust, creating interest and excitement, compelling curiosity and inviting surprise through carefully curated content.

For Generation Z, this is expected. They have a collaborative relationship with the brands they endorse and know the value exchange – often preferring it to traditional ‘advertising’, which they see as staid, forgettable and overwhelming in number – too easy to tune out. They want to be partners in much that they do and have a much more mindful attitude to everything from careers and experiences through to health and wellness.

Brands that understand and respect this have a head start. They understand the particular nuances of these younger generations but also consider how these changing behaviours will siphon through to the Gen Xers, the Baby Boomers et al. And, in time, how will Generation Alpha – those born after 2010, reset our expectations?

By Bruno Brooks, founder and CEO of Immedia

IMMEDIA PARTNERS WITH JD TO MULTI CHANNEL SOLUTION

By | News

IMMEDIA PARTNERS WITH JD TO LAUNCH MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT MULTICHANNEL SOLUTION

Multichannel instore and digital production company Immedia, is working with JD to create a multi stream music entertainment platform, JD X, available to customers in-store and via its mobile app.

JD X is a 24 hr music and entertainment service, part of a larger programme of added benefits designed to enhance the experience of JD consumers. Including, unlimited next day delivery, priority access to exclusive events, early product launch access and other money can’t buy experiences.

JD X offers a main Live channel featuring DJ’s, guest artists and other interesting and relevant content, plus 20 other bespoke streams with specific playlists to cover genres and trends. The JD X Live channel focuses on the biggest tracks right now with the JD audience. Core artists include Drake, Ramz, Mabel, Stormzy, Anne-Marie, Calvin Harris, J Hus, Dua Lipa, Post Malone and Kendrick Lamar.

The 21 channels focus on genres and activities popular with the JD audience, such as UK Reppin’ – featuring tracks from the stars of the UK Grime and RnB scenes. There are other playlists to listen to when in the gym or out running. JD X also provides content relevant to consumer interests including sport, clubs, gaming, gigs, relaxation, and TV. JD X also features videos, for example the latest content from JD including celeb exclusives and features on new products, all available to view inside the app.

Bruno Brookes, CEO, Immedia, said: “Live entertainment channels offer an incredible way for brands, facing the dual threat of declining advertising response rates and the increase in ad blocking technologies, to establish unique connections with consumers that deliver excellent experience and business results. JD, on top of being one of our leading retailers, is now one of our newest media owners.”

The music and entertainment platform is currently being rolled out in all of UK stores. Immedia provide language specific channels on a global basis and there are plans for JD X to be available in other European countries including in Ireland, France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

JD X was officially launched and celebrated with a VIP party featuring a performance by artist Anne-Marie.

The JD X entertainment platform was delivered by Immedia’s DreamStream X technology, a global platform which enables brands to launch and develop custom music and entertainment channels, amplifying cultural values and other interactive communications.

Immedia’s exclusive high-quality content streaming platform provides brands with the opportunity to take owned media channels and to convert them into entertainment and engagement channels that can deliver increased commercial return.

Increase productivity in the workplace

BENEFITS OF MUSIC IN THE WORKPLACE

By | Blog

Web FX have produced an interesting article on the affects of listening to music within the work place: Does listening to music at work help your performance? Or does it slow you down?

MUSIC AND PRODUCTIVITY

Music has the ability to influence how we experience things around us, and happy tunes can make work more enjoyable.

If you listen to music at work, you’re in good company. In fact, 61% of employees listen to music at work to make them happier and more productive.

And according to research, it works! Studies show that 90% of workers perform better when listening to music, and 88% of employees produce more accurate work when listening to music.

Listening to music not only boosts workplace efficiency, it can also improve your mental and emotional well-being.

Increase productivity in the workplace
Increase productivity in the workplace

MUSIC AND BUSINESS

65% of business owners agree that music makes employees more productive, and 77% of small- and medium-sized business owners believe that playing music increases employee morale.

In certain industries, such as retail and hospitality, music has an even greater impact on employee performance and attitude. Happy employees provide better customer service, and improved customer experience can lead to more revenue and word of mouth marketing.

In fact, 40% of business owners believe that playing music can actually increase sales, and research shows that without music, 25% of retailers and 33% of hospitality companies would actually lose business.

So if you want to boost your revenue, you may want to grab some headphones, find your favorite station, and get down to business.

MUSIC AND THE BRAIN

Have you ever started crying while listening to a sad ballad or tapped your foot along to a happy tune?

Music arouses emotion from the nucleus accumbens, a major player in the brain’s reward circuit. The nucleus accumbens operates on two neurotransmitters: dopamine, which helps regulate emotional responses, and serotonin, which can affect mood and social behavior.

This is why songs can instantly grab our emotions and transport us back to a certain time and place.

An experiment at McGill College found that listening to music activates the same brain structures and regions linked to other euphoric stimuli, such as food, sex, and drugs. Blood rises and falls with the swells of music in areas of the brain associated with reward, emotion, and arousal.

In addition, music activates that motor cortex, the part of the brain that controls voluntary movements. So if you find yourself moving to the beat of a song, you can thank your motor cortex.

Music in the workplace

Music also stimulates memories from the hippocampus, the center of memory, learning, and emotion located in the medial temporal lobe of the brain. This is why listening to a particular song can take you on a walk down memory lane.

Why people benefit from music in the workplace

WHY PEOPLE LOVE MUSIC

Ever wonder why people are so passionate about music?

Music releases dopamine in the reward center of the brain, the same chemical released when you eat your favorite food or when you get a new follower on social media. And it makes you want more!

This is also why finding new music you love is so exciting. Listening to pleasurable music releases dopamine, and dopamine increases happiness.

People also love music because they can express their personalities and opinions through the music they listen to. And they can often relate song lyrics to experiences in their own lives.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF MUSIC

Listening to music also has a multitude of health benefits. It:

  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Decreases pain
  • Improves immune function
  • Aids memory
  • Increases motivation

According to neuroscientists, listening to music magnifies positive emotion through the reward centers of the brain, and it stimulates hits of dopamine that can distract you from painful or stressful situations.

Music therapy is also beneficial for dementia patients, helping them recall memories and emotions.

Health benefits for employees

MUSIC FOR BOOSTING PRODUCTIVITY

Music provides a great escape in noisy office environments, and it can help you drown out distractions to keep you at the peak of productivity.

However, how do different genres of music impact productivity?

In addition, 58% of people completed tasks more quickly when listening to pop music. So if you need to get a job done quickly, play your favorite pop tunes.

Ambient noise is also great for sparking creativity and improving concentration.

Contact Immedia today to discover our award-winning brand engage solutions within Retail, Hospitality, Banking, Automotive and more.

In branch live radio provider

IMMEDIA WINS CONTRACT TO PROVIDE NATIONWIDE LIVE!

By | News

Nationwide Live! Is a high quality, live, presenter led radio service that enhances the in-branch experience and Nationwide member engagement by offering a range of targeted music and brand appropriate information, as well as amplifying Nationwide’s work in the community.

Richard Newland, Director of Branch Transformation at Nationwide Building Society, commented: “As part of our branch investment programme we looked at introducing radio into our branches. In December 2016 we partnered with Immedia to trial the concept. The feedback we received from our people and members was really positive and we decided to roll it out across our network.

Alongside the team at Immedia, Nationwide Live! has now been installed in over 600 of our branches and we continue to work with them to produce creative and engaging content which is in line with our brand and style.”

Expertly curated restaurant on brand music and marketing communications

AWARD WINNING WORK WITH SUBWAY

By | News

Immedia continues its multinational expansion of music and marketing channels to one of the largest restaurant chains in the world, delivering real time content streams around the clock to over 3000 restaurants. In UK, Ireland, Germany, Finland, Sweden and The Netherlands.

We provide award winning music content and delivery of multilingual marketing, promotions and colleague communications to all locations.

As testament to our work, Immedia was awarded ‘European Supplier of the Year’ for its services in 2016.

BRAND ENGAGEMENT AT BMW AND MINI – IN PARTNERSHIP WITH IMMEDIA

By | News

BMW Group UK desire to provide an industry benchmark in retail customer experience and following exceptional responses to trials held in a small number of prestigious showrooms in 2014, Immedia Group plc has been appointed as the official provider of digital music channels for BMW and Mini dealer showrooms across the UK and Ireland.

The music selection for each channel is designed to encapsulate the spirit of both the BMW and Mini brands. Immedia has developed a music strategy with heightened brand symphony, creating a closer demographic alignment between the music and their customers.

Historically, franchisees have been tasked with creating their own music playlists for showrooms, iPods, local radio stations, CDs and in some cases, no music at all. In every case providing the right audio ambience for the retail space has proven to be difficult.

Now, franchisees can order one or both of the official digital music channels relevant to each brand. Each channel is carefully mastered with hundreds of ‘brand tracks’ updated monthly.

“Music and first class sound reproduction can be a huge enhancement to the overall driving experience, and we aim to remind customers of this in the retail environment” – Immedia.

Creative media services to Tomatin

TOMATIN – THE SPIRIT OF THE HIGHLANDS

By | News

THE BRIEF

The Tomatin Distillery has been producing the finest Whisky from its home, a quiet corner in the heart of the Highlands, since its beginning as far back as 1897. Since then the distillery has gone from strength to strength currently seeing its range of single malts sold in over 50 export markets across the globe.

Tomatin looked to roll out a subtle rebrand, revolving around the theme of the softer side of the Highlands, alerting to the overall look and feel of the brand. A corporate video was a core asset in the overall rollout strategy and as such the production had to capture wholeheartedly the true essence of who and what Tomatin is, importantly ensuring the passion that goes into creating the drink is underlined throughout.

THE SOLUTION

AVC Immedia got involved in devising a storyboard and providing creative direction with our focus on brining the story of Tomatin to life. From humble begins to a drink enjoyed across the globe we followed this very journey from production to pour. We progressed the story by showing the scale Tomatin has reached from trendy bars in big cities to small enchanting country pubs. As with any branding project the target audience is at the core of every decision we made and for Tomatin this meant communicating with loyal and new customers both locally and internationally whilst also appealing to their mass social following.

To ensure we conveyed this message we produced the video with a heavy sensory emphasis. We activated all the customers senses when they watched the video, we wanted them to almost smell, feel and taste the whisky from the visuals and sounds. This was achieved via various production methods getting closer to the action than any traditional means with our unique fleet of tech.
Complimented by breaks in the audio and subtle sound effect additions we again elevated the viewers experience: the rustle of the grain, the subtle drip of the water from the icicle, the footsteps of the highland cows in the field, the sound of the glass being placed on the bar all came together to heighten the user experience when viewing.

 

RESULTS

Following the launch of the video it was extremely well received both internally and externally and now takes pride of place being played daily in thier visitor centre. Due to our approach and emphasis on delivery to Tomatin’s specific target audience the project is now being further developed to take sensory marketing a step further. We are developing Tomatin’s very own brand channel by developing and delivering a customer experience focused app with the inclusion of Virtual Reality.

Learn more click here
Live in-branch radio HSBC

FIRST IN-BRANCH LIVE RADIO

By | News

HSBC LIVE – TO ALL BRANCHES ACROSS THE UK AND THE CHANNEL ISLANDS.

It was the first time a UK Bank had developed its own live radio station, after bosses gave the thumbs-up following a four-month trial of the service. Thirteen years on, the live channel has become an integral part of the in-branch experience, with tailor made content including music, news and sports. In addition the channel also features a mixture of marketing and presenter led information, including mortgages, loans and insurance.

“It disguises conversations between ourselves and customers…it makes it more confidential” HSBC Staff

“A sound identity plays to a customer sense powerfully”
“We have essentially created a toolkit for the organisation so that when we approach sound in any given experience, there is one unique, globally consistent source material to ease fragmentation and build a consistent, signature brand experience.”
Andrea Newman, global head of brand at HSBC

Read the full HSBC article here

“HSBC Live” is now an institution in banking.