Music more crucial in marketing!

Music more crucial in marketing

Mr. Le Tan Thanh Thinh, CEO of Brandbeats, tells VET’s Minh Tuyet about the role of music in marketing in Vietnam.

by Minh Tuyet

■ As the first Vietnamese enterprise in music marketing, how would you comment on the development of music marketing in Vietnam in recent times? Could this be considered a boom time?

There were 49 million internet users in Vietnam last year, according to, and 45 million Facebook users. The numbers show that the media environment now is not only TV or print, with one-way communication, but has two-way communication in the form of interaction on the internet and social media.

Vietnam has the most music lovers in Southeast Asia, as 81 per cent of people listen to music every week, according to the Google Consumer Barometer for January. Figures in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand are only 50, 31, and 28 per cent, respectively.

Vietnam’s advertising market is estimated to be worth $1.5 to $1.6 billion, of which 60 per cent belongs to TV and 40 per cent to other media, according to Forbes Vietnam. Online advertising is emerging and overwhelming newspapers and magazine advertising.

There are no official figures on revenue in the music market in Vietnam or for music marketing in Vietnam. I would estimate, however, that annual revenue in the music market is from $80 million to $100 million, mostly from music events and artist management. Revenue from music marketing, meanwhile, is about $20 million. After the success of Dien May Xanh and Biti’s campaigns in Vietnam, music marketing in Vietnam has been booming.

■ What sectors are most impacted by music marketing?

Young people are the most affected by music marketing. According to Google Analytics, in the first quarter of 2017, almost 90 per cent of Vietnamese aged from 18 to 34 listened to music. This means that sectors such as beer, cafés, milk, airlines, shampoo, and cosmetics tend to use music marketing more than other sectors.

■ How would you comment on the understanding among enterprises in Vietnam about music marketing and their application of music in developing their business performance?

Vietnamese enterprises consider music marketing to be a minor tool in communications activities and not part of a long-term strategy. It’s easy to understand, because we are still only familiar with one-way communication in TV and print.

However, in the digital era, consumers have turned away from advertisements, with up to 75 per cent of consumers saying they do not pay attention to advertising, which requires enterprises identify more emotional advertising.

There are three ways to impact on emotions: funny stories, meaningful stories, and music. Music has more advantages, because it can create feelings of happiness, sadness, or excitement. Therefore, up to 40 per cent of advertising uses music.

People never share advertisements, but they do share beautiful songs, meaningful stories, and funny stories, and brands can work with this.

■ What are the advantages and difficulties in developing music marketing?

The biggest advantage is that enterprises have realized the role of music marketing after the outstanding success of the Dien May Xanh and Biti’s campaigns. Secondly, Vietnam has the most music lovers in ASEAN and a young population.

However, Vietnam lacks a record industry and a performance market, as people don’t want to pay for tickets. Activities by artists are still spontaneous and few companies develop and manage talent, so cooperation between artists and brands is limited.

■ What is your advice to enterprises in Vietnam who want to use music marketing to develop their business performance?

I really like what music expert Mark Barber once said, that we can never close our ears. This means that besides building brand images, enterprises also should create a sound identity. We know that each brand needs a logo, a name and a meaningful message. Nevertheless, no one has ever asked what a brand’s sound is and whether it’s important to us.

According to music expert Jakob Lusensky, there are four musical stages. The first is using music without purpose. Most enterprises are in this stage.

The second is using music with purpose. For example, introducing new products requires a music video or TV commercial (TVC), or musical events or outdoor activities. Nonetheless, music in this stage is for the short term and lacks consistency.

In the third stage, music is the main factor in the brand. We can see Dien May Xanh and Biti’s campaigns used this very effectively. Music is the main factor in all touchpoints of promotions in TVCs, events and selling points. Biti’s has used music consistently in all its music videos, which use famous Vietnamese songs.

In the fourth stage, music becomes a platform for the brand. For example, MobiFone has RockStorm, Honda has BeU, and Huda has Centrat’s Got Talent. This means that the brand has its own prestigious music event or program or sponsors a musical event, which reflects the value of its brand.

Depending on the purpose, a brand should select suitable stages and combine it with long-term strategies to dominate the stage. What stage is your brand in, and what stage do you want to dominate?

Music marketing appeared in 1970, with a brilliant campaign by Coca Cola: “Buy the World a Coke”, with a message about hope and peace. It was so successful that most people over 60 still remember the song’s melody. Music marketing has been used for a long time. However, in the digital world, it needs two-way interaction, and there are also more promotional messages, so the role of music has become more important.

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