In ethical and sustainable markets, music is crucial for converting consumers' good intentions into actual purchases

DNVN - New research from the University of Bath indicates that companies selling ethical and sustainable products should use upbeat major mode music in their marketing to help well-intentioned consumers convert their good intentions into actual purchases.

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The study provides a solution for green businesses to deal with the "attitude-behavior gap", or discrepancy between what consumers say and what they actually do, which is a problem in ethical and sustainable markets.

30 percent of consumers claim to care about brand ethics, but only 3 percent actually act accordingly, according to studies. Similar numbers claim to care about environmentally friendly consumption, but only 5% actually buy green goods.

"Because any exaggeration of consumers' ethical concerns can distort the market and cause an oversupply, this attitude gap is a serious marketing issue. According to our research, one way to close that gap is by using advertising music more creatively, particularly by using upbeat, major-key music", the university's School of Management's Dr. Haiming Hang explained.

music is crucial for converting consumers' good intentions into actual purchases.

Music is crucial for converting consumers' good intentions into actual purchases (Illustrative image).

A music mode is a scale with distinct melodic properties. It can be major or minor, and it can elicit strong but very different feelings and emotional responses in consumers. Minor mode music is frequently associated with negative emotions such as sadness and anger, whereas major mode music is frequently associated with positive emotions such as happiness and joy. Tempo is the rate at which a musical passage advances; music is considered slow when the tempo is less than 72 beats per minute, and fast when the tempo is greater than 94 beats per minute.

"We know that consumers who enjoy the music associated with brands will view those brands more favorably and will increase their likelihood of purchasing the product, so it comes as no surprise that music influences consumers. That is the subjective aspect of music; the objective aspect, which includes tempo and mode, is more important"said Hang.

"Our research shows major mode music is effective in reducing the attitude-behaviour gap by 40% to 50%. And since fast tempo music tends to generate positive feelings such as happiness our research suggests the attitude-behaviour gap is smallest when major mode music is played at a fast tempo," he said. Hang said the study -- 'Disentangling effects of subjective and objective characteristics of advertising music' -- created several radio advertisements for two fictitious products: an electric car (EcoCar) and a reusable coffee mug (EcoMug) and examined how music affected purchase intentions across multiple experiments.

"The mere inclusion of music that consumers like may not be enough, marketers must be aware. To ensure that a positive attitude toward a brand translates into sales, marketers must recognize the significance of music mode and music tempo when incorporating music into advertisements "said Hang.

Reference: Gordon Liu, Morteza Abolhasani, Haiming Hang. Disentangling effects of subjective and objective characteristics of advertising music. European Journal of Marketing, 2022; 56 (4): 1153 DOI: 10.1108/EJM-01-2021-0017

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