Every TAG Heuer boutique worldwide is now playing a carefully curated playlist of background music, tailored to a younger consumer
By Chris Hall
In the quest to push TAG Heuer to new heights – or, at least, to a new audience that secures the company’s future – CEO Jean Claude Biver is leaving nothing to chance. Working with a Stockholm-based startup tech firm (part-owned by Spotify) called Soundtrack Your Brand, TAG Heuer has brought in a specially selected playlist of background music for its boutiques around the world.
You can see Mr Biver talking about the idea in the video above. Passionate as ever, he says “I don’t want our shop to look like a watch shop. It should look like an emotion shop; music can promote this. With music, you change the minds of people.”
The tech behind Soundtrack Your Brand has picked up some enthusiastic coverage for its results in other environments – restaurants working with the service have reported a 10 per cent increase in sales, for example. But will changing the music in a watch boutique have a similar effect? We spoke to Sven Grundberg, VP of communications, and Alf Tumble Borgman, music manager, to find out more.
QP: How did this partnership start?
SG: TAG Heuer approached us last year. We undertook a workshop for one month, making sure we got it up and running everywhere – after that you need to tweak it to make sure it’s just right. Now we’re in over 100 shops in more than 30 countries.
QP: Where did the idea come from in the beginning?
SG: Soundtrack Your Brand was founded in 2013, by two veterans of the music streaming industry, from Beats Music and Spotify. A lot of brands were asking both Spotify and Beats for the service. It’s a part of the music market that the world forgot. A lot of background music is just played from a CD; not a lot of thought goes into it and it’s often not very well suited to the brands using it.
The watch brands we are working with – we are working with IWC as well as TAG Heuer – are selling a lifestyle, not just a product. So it makes sense that they would be interested. Outside of restaurants, we’ve worked with Aesop skincare, W Hotels, various fashion companies, a Swedish bike company and even gyms. Anywhere where the experience is important, we can make a difference.
QP: How long does it take to see results?
ATB: It depends how you want to measure them. When we worked with restaurants we did a study for six months, and we saw pretty clear results.
SG: With a brand like TAG Heuer the immediate measure is in terms of improving people’s mood when they’re in the shop. That’s something you can measure in real time; if you do it right, the impact should be immediate. In the long term, results for the brand can be more difficult to measure – you would need a control study, shops that aren’t using the service to compare with, and there are lots of other factors at work. We have done this with other outlets, comparing with silence, with other music, and controlling for various factors, and it has shown good results.
QP: So what are TAG Heuer’s aims from doing this?
ATB: Primarily, for Jean-Claude Biver, the goal was to create music that aligned well with the brand, and made the customer stay longer in the store. It should improve the customer experience, and in the long term, lead to higher sales. Even if people don’t buy a watch there and then – and we’re aware people don’t buy watches like hamburgers – when they go away and consider it, they should think more favourably of the experience.
SG: TAG Heuer is targeting a younger customer. Their customer base is older men, but they are trying to reach out to a younger customer. What we’re doing works with that strategy.
QP: The majority of brand boutiques are usually silent – you almost expect it of a luxury environment. Did that make you think twice about working in this sector?
SG: Silence can make people nervous, and it can make people move along more quickly…
QP: What kind of music have you chosen for TAG Heuer?
ATB: TAG Heuer works with a lot of music brand ambassadors now – David Guetta, Martin Garrix, guys very much in the EDM, arena, techno music scene. But that’s not necessarily the kind of thing you want playing in a watch boutique. But we did focus on electronic music.
SG: We needed the music to be international, modern and accessible. It had to work in all the different shops. We have actually included some music by the ambassadors where possible – they do make more easy-going music! We adapted the music for each market slightly, but have stuck to a core playlist of songs. For example, we might just add in a couple of Chinese pop songs where necessary, but it’s pretty much the same across Europe.
You can listen to the TAG Heuer playlist in Spotify:
QP: How does IWC’s playlist compare?
SG: They are pretty different. TAG Heuer as a brand is more modern, has a younger profile, and comes across as a little bit more innovative. IWC plays it more safe – and of course they don’t work with music ambassadors in the same way.
Here’s the IWC playlist for comparison:
QP: You mentioned TAG Heuer’s core audience. How are they going to react to this younger music?
SG: In general, it’s important to remember that our business is just background music, and it is never supposed to be in your face. It works best on a subconscious level – no-one wants to play music that would put anyone off. In theory, you might not even think about the music that much, but it’s intended to subtly evoke a good experience, a good emotion.
ATB: We don’t expect every customer to love every song, but it’s about them feeling that the music is generally right for the brand.
Read more about the partnership between Soundtrack Your Brand and TAG Heuer here.