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In early 2011, Sephora was adjusting their retail strategy and in-store experience. “The music soundtrack is imperative to our retail experience”, said Liz Green, Sephora’s Store Marketing Manager, “It has the power to convey our brand’s DNA and engage a client at the same time.”

We conducted a workshop to find the guardrails in which we would curate and, in general, better understand Sephora’s strategy. We led a variety of exercises around the brand aimed at understanding their newly launched positioning of “Transforming Beauty.” We partook in keyword discussions, comparisons of emotional/personality traits, celebrity representations and other icons that allows us to better understand any dimension of a brand. We facilitated exercises around the Sephora customer that helped us understand exactly what she is looking for from the brand. Overall, our workshop yielded the information we needed and we delivered a music program that articulated all elements of the brand while delivering something that would resonate with customers.

The make-up of this soundtrack is unique. Customers hear light doses of critically acclaimed pop hits by Robyn, Swedish House Mafia and Coldplay alongside the best emerging tracks by rising indie pop acts like Broken Bells, the Naked & The Famous and the XX. Additionally, imagine your older-sibling’s favorite classics by credible innovators like The Smiths, Roxy Music and Elastica complementing a collection of forward-looking electro-pop tracks by Tanlines, Austra and Toro y Moi. These various styles come together to create an experience both comforting and exciting allowing Sephora’s customers to bob their head while they shop and make mental notes of fresh new tracks to add to their Spotify playlists at home.

Sephora knows their music soundtrack is a success. Like most brands, they conduct market research and find that the Sephora Sound program has been met with enthusiasm by their customers. Every month, they get emails from customers eager to help them identify a particular song and customers routinely ask the store associates to find out the name of a song that is playing. In addition, they avidly track their social media chatter and have found that the music playing in their stores is an often-referenced topic of Facebook and Twitter comments. “We want our clients to embrace Sephora Sound and foster a passage of returning enjoyment and discovery,” continued Green.

Some examples from the soundtrack:

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