Tena Clark Shows Marketers How to Develop Effective Audio Logos

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Who: Tena Clark, CEO and chief creative officer of DMI Music & Media Solutions.

Why you need to know her: Ms. Clark’s company develops music branding
Tena Clark is CEO and chief creative officer of DMI Music & Media Solutions.

strategies for brands including Target, Sak’s Fifth Avenue and United Airlines.

Credentials: Ms. Clark previously co-founded Primal Records with Miles Copeland. Over the years, she’s composed and produced commercial campaigns, including McDonald’s “Have You Had Your Break Today,” and has written tracks for film and television including “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” “Hope Floats,” “Twins,” “Where the Heart Is,” “French Kiss,” “CBS This Morning” and “Entertainment Tonight.” Most recently, she composed an original song for the “Desperate Housewives” soundtrack recorded by LeAnn Rimes. Ms. Clark has also written and produced for such award-winning artists as Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan, Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, Patti Austin and Olivia Newton-John, among others.

Who are your clients? “7 Up, AAA, Acuvue, Bath & Body Works, Contiki, General Mills, Hasbro, Hennessey, In Style magazine, Jostens, Subway, Kellogg’s, Mattel, Mead Johnson, Princess Cruises, Procter & Gamble, Nestlé/Purina, Sak’s Fifth Avenue, Subway, Target, Toyota, United Airlines, Victoria’s Secret and Wells Fargo.”

What does your company do for them? “DMI Music & Media Solutions develops and executes comprehensive music branding strategies using the emotional power of music, interactive media and nontraditional distribution channels to connect brands with consumers wherever they are. We work with brands to create a signature sound that consumers recognize as its identity across all product lines, age segmentations and cultures. The signature sound becomes, in essence, an audio logo for the company."

What kind of branded entertainment deals have you recently put together? “When Target was looking to promote its holiday season toys, complement its TV and in-store campaign, support its key vendors and reach kids ages 7-12 in an engaging medium, we created E-CDs which included holiday tracks from established artists, an interactive tool to create a child's wish list which could be sent directly to Santa or given to parents, and a memory game using Target's toys. We also produced and recorded versions of 'Jingle Bells' and 'Little Drummer Boy' by two of the artists which appealed to the targeted demographic. All E-CDs were then packaged with Target's magazines. The ROI was monumental.”

How important is branding a company through music? What can it do for them? “Like its visual logo, a brand should have an audio logo that consumers recognize as its identity across all product lines, age segmentations and cultures. This audio logo shouldn’t change from year to year -- it should build continually and reinforce instant brand recognition. The audio logo is written and incorporated with variations in multiple languages and music genres to better reflect the brand’s demographic reach. The function of this audio footprint is to create a melody that connects with the emotions, is memorable and sticks with listeners of all ages -- identifiable no matter which version a consumer hears."

What can it do for the record labels or artists? “The record industry is hungry for new channels of distribution to expose their artists and catalogues. A partnership with a brand can reinvigorate an artist’s career and efficiently match that artist’s content to a specific demographic. However, we believe that a brand’s partnering with an artist should never be more than just one of the components in a more comprehensive music-branding plan."

How can your clients measure success with the services you offer? How do you know if it works? “We provide all our clients with a proprietary reporting system for Web-based, E-CD, DVD-ROM and CD-ROM campaigns, collecting and analyzing non-personal data to gauge program performance and effectiveness. Depending on the brand’s needs we can gauge total users, average time spent, click-throughs, both brand and specific content ‘hang time’ -- i.e., average time spent interacting with product -- usage frequency, and customized metrix for tracking and reporting additional user interactions."

Which companies do you think are effectively using music? “United Airlines is a great model. When many hear just a few notes from ‘Rhapsody in Blue,’ they don’t think of Gershwin at all. Instead, when you hear that audio logo, no matter where you are in the world, you think of United Airlines. DMI entrenched this logo by producing over 35 different versions of this song for use in all divisions of United Airlines, including Mileage Plus, On-Board audio and video programming, on-hold messaging and venues such as its Red Carpet lounges. Intel has also been smart about music; their four-note logo is played every 40 seconds somewhere in the world.”

Which aren't? “I understand that the Celine Dion and Chrysler campaign didn’t achieve its goals. The campaign appears to have showed what can go wrong when a brand chooses an artist even if she is a great talent but is not connected to the demographic they want to reach.”

What kinds of songs are brands looking for? Do some lend themselves better for certain companies than others? “Often brands proceed without a well-thought-out music strategy and undermine their intended goals by piggy-backing on the flavor-of-the-month artist or song. The composed audio logo is equivalent to a visual logo and needs to be managed by the same standards. It must be consistent over the long-term, offer continuity and not be limited by musical trends whether artist, genre or song."

There is still some confusion on how to define branded entertainment. How do you define it? “We believe the operative word is branded. The use of entertainment on its own won’t guarantee that a brand is enhanced in any long-term way. We believe -- in fact we know this through research -- that the use of music is way more powerful than just its entertainment value. Humans hear before they can see -- sound is one of a baby’s first memories. Music has proven to do everything from drive incremental sales in a store to creating a wide array of emotional states and building long-term memories.”

Who's your favorite band? “I currently love Five for Fighting and will always love Stevie Wonder.”

What's on your iPod? “I don’t have an iPod, but my kids do. I don’t have time to put all my favorite music on one. It would take too long.”

What do you do on your downtime? “Family time mostly. Occasionally golf and skiing. I still write music; it’s the ultimate relaxation!"
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