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Isn’t that the Patsy Cline song? I think Michael Nesmith also covered it back in the 70s—I loved his album, From a Radio Engine to A Photon Wing; contained one of the funniest songs in the history of music video, Rio. Anyhow, about that falling to pieces thing, did you ever notice how you hear an old song and immediately start feeling the way you used to feel when you first heard it? I have that with a lot of late Steely Dan songs. And early Wynton Marsalis makes me feel lonely. But that’s just me.

Well, turns out that this is an important principle of sensory branding. Just as smell is closely linked to emotional memory, music is closely linked to mood. How can you not feel silly when you hear a song with a bicycle horn in it? The folks who did the soundtrack for Harry Potter knew that celesta (a romantic era French keyboard instrument that sounds like little bells) would make people feel magical. Mini Ripperton makes you feel romantic.

So, when we do a total branding initiative, we always talk about music. It’s a shortcut to making people feel the way you want them to feel about your brand. For a retail establishment that sells cosmetics to brassy, sassy, Southern ladies, we selected some bold Austin blues women. For a bank in the wide open range of Texas, we selected a lonesome style we called, lone virtuoso. This was defined as music that could be played by a single person on the back of a horse. It included solo guitar, solo violin (including Bach Partitas and Concertos—this is not yee-ha music).

A lot of people don’t like to admit that they can be manipulated by sensory stimuli. But can you really, truthfully say that you’re mood at this moment is based on objective facts about your day? If you don’t believe me, next time you have people over for dinner, throw on Claude Debussy’s La Mer. See how happy the conversation is. Bums me out just to think about it.

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