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3 Ways Music can Increase Team and Personal Effectiveness (feat. Jonathan Elias)

Oct 31, 2023

Music has the power to increase team and personal effectiveness. Wondering how?


Certain songs have the ability to trigger powerful emotions and memories within us. By harnessing this power, we can intentionally use music to subconsciously boost our moods, productivity and motivation.


Joining me today on The Enlightened Executive podcast is Jonathan Elias, one of the most influential composers in the advertising world focused on audio branding. Jonathan is responsible for groundbreaking work for countless brands and is the recipient of virtually every major advertising honor. Jonathan’s work as a record producer, Grammy-nominated artist, and film and trailer composer includes collaborations with Duran Duran, BB King, David Bowie, and countless more.


In this episode, Jonathan and I explore music’s emotional impact and share 3 essential strategies for using music as an unconventional but powerful leadership tool.

3 essential strategies to increase team and personal effectiveness with music


1. Emotional Resonance


Through music, we remember our first kiss, moments of happiness on the beach, and even personal tragedies. 


This deep emotional resonance is not just coincidental; it’s rooted in our biology. Music has the capacity to trigger our dopamine system, forging an instantaneous bond that transcends words. This unique phenomenon showcases music’s unparalleled ability to influence us. 


As a leader, you can explore the role music plays in shaping our emotions with these three tactics:


  • Begin a conversation with your team about music. Each person possesses a unique musical narrative, meaning certain songs prompt individuals to recall specific memories and even feelings. More than asking people what their favorite song is, ask them to tell the story behind it. You can learn a lot about people by hearing these stories. Understanding your employees and their lived experiences improves trust and connection.
  • Use music in meetings, team-building activities, and brainstorming sessions. When you get a sense of what type of music your people respond to, you can use that as a tool to spark unity, deep thought, and connection. Over time, you may organically create your own team playlist that inspires and creates connectivity in the workplace.
  • Experiment with different genres to understand their impact on your mood and mindset. Over the next few weeks purposely listen to different types of music throughout your day and notice how your mood, productivity, and mindset shift. If you discover blues music gets you into a flow, you can tap into that when you need it next.


The emotional connection we have to music gives it the potential to create emotional safety and camaraderie in the workplace.



2. Cognitive Enhancement 


Music’s ability to not only influence emotions, but enhance recall, and even drive behavior change is well-documented. When music is played, MRI scans reveal a symphony of brain regions lighting up in response, creating a unique pattern of engagement. This impact is so potent that even individuals with Alzheimer’s can remember and hum along to tunes from their youth.


Jonathan believes that sound can stimulate our brains in innovative ways, potentially aiding cognitive processes. This insight underscores music’s potential as a tool for rapid learning and cognitive functioning.


Here are three ways to explore music as a cognitive enhancement to increase team and personal effectiveness:


  • Play around with music during your next brainstorming session. By diversifying the playlist, you will be able to tap into different neural pathways, avoiding usual creative ruts or patterns.
  • The next time you learn a new concept or attend a conference, pair specific music with this new information to enhance the learning and recall process. 
  • Music, like that of Mozart and Bach, could aid in achieving a heightened state of cognitive functioning. Schedule a block of time throughout your week to listen to this type of music as a form of “brain exercise.” 


If you’re looking for an accessible and enjoyable way to stimulate personal and professional growth, music is a low-lift, high-reward option.



3. Audio Branding


Whether you’re a marketing executive looking to influence brand loyalty or an aspiring leader trying to strengthen your personal brand, audio branding stands as a powerful resource for differentiation and forging strong emotional connections.


Audio branding is the art of crafting distinct sonic identities for brands, allowing them to connect with audiences on a deeper emotional level. Iconic brands like Yahoo, Liberty, and Farmers have reaped the benefits of memorable and catchy musical mnemonics, resulting in remarkable brand recall. 


Studies reveal an astounding 800% increase in brand recognition when they utilize sonic branding. This figure underscores the potency of music in forging a lasting connection between consumers and brands.


If you are looking for a marketing “secret weapon,” Jonathan suggests harnessing sound to convey your brand’s story and values, creating a more impactful brand experience. Consider integrating sonic elements into your branding strategy to establish deeper connections with your audience and stand out in a competitive market.


Just as audio branding is a potent product marketing tool that shapes perceptions, engages emotions, and creates brand loyalty, you can employ these same strategies when crafting your personal brand identity. Do you want to stand out within your company or in networking settings? Try these techniques:


  • Decide what song or type of music best tells your personal brand story. Do you want to be seen as the leader who hypes people up? What about the steady and insightful contributor? Decide what kind of music enhances this perception, and surround yourself with it.
  • Once you’ve determined the type of music that solidifies your personal brand, create playlists that tell your brand story. Play these songs consistently in your office, outside of work, or use them when you post on social media.
  • The next time you struggle to initiate an engaging conversation at work or during networking events, turn to music. Find out what others enjoy and use it as an opportunity to learn and share more about yourself succinctly and memorably.


Music has the power to shape our perceptions, choices and effectiveness. Whether your goal is personal enrichment or elevating your businesses to new heights, music is a simple yet impactful leadership tool. 


Jonathan also shares…

  • The subconscious path to decision making
  • His path to an audio branding career
  • Music’s role in urban transformation and crime reduction


If you liked this episode, you may also benefit from hearing:


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