The 2021 Tokyo Olympics delivered an impressive lineup of inspirational moments. Back home, Australians watched the coverage from their living rooms loudly cheering on. 

While there was much to be celebrated, one Aussie couldn’t help but feel disappointed with Channel 7’s coverage. There was a clear lack of Australian music being played as our sporting icons competed on the international stage. A well-known artist herself, Holly Rankin (Jack River) took to social media to highlight that these incredible ‘Australian moments deserved Australian music’. 

Understandably and rightfully so, Holly’s plea struck a chord with corporate Australia. How could such a simple and impactful move of support have been overlooked?

Retail and media brands across Australia quickly responded to her call out by increasing their local artist lineups. As a company deeply invested in their local Australian community, 7-Eleven was one of the first to make a change. 

With help from us here at Qsic, their in-store commercial music and technology partner, they not only upped the number of local artists in their playlists almost instantly, but also the time in which these artists featured across the 7-Eleven network. 

In a matter of hours, together we curated a unique, targeted playlist of local music that was placed on high-rotation in more than 700 7-Eleven locations nationwide. This 100 percent Aussie playlist – which included 16 hours of content – was played in place of regular scheduling.

While it may sound like a simple move, each playlist is uniquely built to a brand’s needs; from demographics and customer behaviours, to brand personality and sales objectives. Everything is considered.

It was a comprehensive exercise but one 7-Eleven Australia General Manager – Customer, Julie Laycock, was proud to action. “Australia has a wonderful music culture and the move to support Jack River’s callout was an easy decision. We have a significant footprint across the country and with that comes great opportunity and responsibility. By better supporting Aussie artists with more airtime, we were enabling them to generate extra royalties income.”

From this, a strong desire to showcase the wealth of talent in Australia’s local music scene was born at the convenience retailer. A few months later and in celebration of Australian music month, 7-Eleven launched a second national campaign that saw stores country-wide exclusively play Aussie music for the month of November. 

A key focus was not only to raise awareness of Australian music, but to help provide financial support to artists hit hard due to COVID lockdowns. While Aussie music already held a healthy place in their playlists, the two efforts kick-started a music change that still remains with the business today.  It also inspired many other retailers to step up their game.

When asked why they were so intent on continuing the initial idea, even though the surrounding hype had died down, 7-Eleven proved just how deeply Australian they really are. Both campaigns were an investment in the community.

There are clear differences between a global retailer with an Australian presence and an Australian brand who genuinely cares about the impact they make. It comes down to the contributions a brand makes to the societies they serve.

They saw a simple opportunity with ongoing value and ran with it. While a tailored audio strategy significantly impacts a businesses efficiency, productivity and sales, this is more often a reflection of beat, volume, messaging, demographics and the time of day. Specific songs and artists are interchangeable. They showed how a business can support its customers and community regardless of the kickback this does or doesn’t add to the bottomline. The main focus was belting tunes that patrons no doubt love and supporting those in need.

Of course, it was a brief we were excited to oversee. While our roots here at Qsic started in music curation, today we are much more than just a streaming platform. Combining a smart and strategic mix of intelligent AI, automation and audio content, we create unique data-driven experiences and intelligent environments for over 70+ retailers worldwide. 

We are known for creating hyper-connected ecosystems where data is king and audio is leveraged to not only map offline sales attribution but motivate staff and generate lasting growth. The best work happens when we can tie our expertise and thinking into a community-driven focus with the support of a retail partner.

Working with 7-Eleven to create an in-store experience that reflects their values is something we’re deeply passionate about. It was also a welcome reminder that powerful change comes in various shapes and forms. There are many ways we can all be helping businesses recover post Covid, from artists to shop-fronts, and sometimes it’s as simple as questioning how to best optimise your existing assets. 

Matt Elsley is co-founder & CEO at Qsic.