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You are what you listen to. By analyzing the songs that are on heavy rotation on your playlist, music solutions agency Homonym can give brands a picture of who you are: from the shampoo that you use on your head to the shoes that you wear on your feet.  

“To us, sonic branding, or the sound part of your branding, is very important because that’s the only way you can make [people] feel. … Audio makes you feel,” said Mike L. Constantino, founder of Homonym. 

In this B-Side episode, he explains to BusinessWorld reporter Brontë H. Lacsamana how audio data can help brands reach their target market using as an example Nissan’s 2020 X-Trail ad campaign.  

Based on Homonym’s research, the marketing push for the X-Trail, described on the Nissan website as “an SUV with muscular styling,” used “Money for Food” by petite singer-songwriter Barbie Almalbis in its spots.  

Homonym was founded in 2016 as a one-stop shop for artists who need advice on monetizing their art, and agencies that want an endorser to sing or become a musical brand ambassador.  

“They call us,” said Mr. Constantino.  


 Visuals make you think. Music makes you feel.  

Audio data can help brands, and agencies and event organizers connect to their target market. 

Homonym commissions studies that provide insight into how the music habits of Filipino consumers relate to their age, gender, and lifestyle and brand preferences.  

This data helps build a sonic identity, which involves brand harmonization and audience tuning — fancy words that mean determining a brand’s essence and tuning it with the tastes and preferences of the target market. After that, music psychology and even neuroscience come into play to determine the right fit.  

This is how Homonym landed on Ms. Almalbis as the ideal artist for the Nissan X-Trail campaign, which targeted females of a certain age group.  

“Every human that was ever born, from 14 to 24 years old — that’s when they develop their personality, their identity. And music is a big part of that,” said Mr. Constantino.  

Music makes an indelible mark on females at age 11 to 13; for males, the age is 14 to 16. “It [music from that time period] will elicit physiological effects: you’ll be sweating, you’ll be tapping your feet.”   

A ‘music first’ approach makes production more efficient.  

“In the Philippines, people consider music last,” said Mr. Constantino. “They’re going to do a storyboard, they have the talents and everything in place, and then they’re going to give it to the scorers and say, lagyan mo ng music [put in the music].”  

This is music curation, which Homonym can provide. But the agency wants more clients to consider sonic branding or putting music first. 

With music setting the mood and tone, the production team can make quicker creative decisions. 

“Sometimes you have to hold their hand and take them through the journey because they’re not used to it. But here’s the thing — after they learn about the ‘music first’ approach, they never look back. They appreciate and incorporate it typically in the way they ideate moving forward,” he said.  

‘Music influencing is a thing’ 

“Publishers — meaning rights owners or labels who own rights to songs — view us as an added ally to help them get their music out and get more projects, especially these days when it’s hard to get licensing going,” said Mr. Constantino.  

“Music influencing is a thing,” he added. “It’s an entirely new community that a brand can tap.” 

This B-Side episode was recorded remotely on Aug. 19. Produced by Paolo L. Lopez and Sam L. Marcelo.

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