West Music Co., Inc.
Coralville, IA   Outlets:6
Over the last 70 years we’ve learned that we and the music industry cannot stand still. Our customer’s expectations continue to evolve and by constantly striving to stay ahead of their needs we redefine how they see music and their local music store. In 2013, we’ve continued to engage our mission, “to enrich people’s lives through participation in music” by combining a store experience that offers unmatched extraordinary service, a broad based product selection that can serve everyone from the beginner to the pro, and unrivaled programming that encourages life-long music making across the region. Our lesson programs serve over 3500 students each week. Our 13 member Music Therapy Services team is the largest of its kind in the US, bringing the power of music making to people whose lives are forever changed because of it. Our road representatives call on over 486 schools in the region, covering over 4 states in the Midwest. And our stores serve as community hubs, providing a vital gathering area where our associates, the most vital part of the interaction, can connect with our customers and help them find the exact solution to their next musical goal.
Merchandising & Display
At West Music we provide an engaging environment with a hands-on, interactive approach to merchandising. This includes rooms that highlight and feature our products, inviting customers to sit down, play and experience the power of making music. Technology is important in merchandising; we use digital televisions throughout our stores providing an outlet for knowledge and information to be delivered to our customers including videos, display ads, and information on future events. Our creative use of lifestyle wall graphics showcases our customers making music, adding color and visual interest to our stores. To ensure that West Music stores are attractive and inviting, we consistently use our company colors and logos for an overall West Music branding effect. Our branding begins on the outside of our buildings with blue awnings and red signs welcoming customers in. Continued use of branding is found throughout the interior of our stores with directional and department signs help customers find what they are looking for. Product information is delivered via branded header cards, brochures, and signs including features, advantages, and benefits to purchasing our products (FAB). We use FAB signs to not only educate the customer, but to offer internal visual reminders to staff on pre/post sale merchandising standards. We incorporate cross-departmental and bundled merchandising techniques to assist customers in acquiring all products necessary for a complete shopping experience.
Marketing & Sales Promotion
"The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is just a little extra"When looking at our campaign this year, we wanted to show that West Music is more than a place to buy musical products, it’s the place you go for an extraordinary experience. The individuals who make it possible are our associates so we made them the focus of our marketing efforts this year.We featured our associates in a variety of publications, targeting ads to feature a local associate, so people would have a seamless experience from seeing the ad to when they walk into the store.While the ads are as unique as our associates, they carry a consistent design. We created a cohesive image with consistent color, photography and layout. The ads feature the associate saying why they love music and what they do at West Music. The answers were astounding and showcased the passion of our associates. Our goal: Connect with our communities and build the reputation of our associates, while continuing to develop our company culture and the individuals that make our company unique. We have seen stronger personal connections, greater employee engagement, and a deeper sense of pride.At this moment we have over a dozen ads that span our entire service area. This has been an exciting campaign and we look forward to continuing it in 2013. We have seen that connecting with our communities in a deeply personal and authentic way grows and encourages the number of people engaging in music making throughout our region.
March 2013, West Music hosted our first March Music Madness Pep Band Competition on Youtube. (http://goo.gl/eSs23) Area high schools submitted a two minute video that featured their pep band to determine the Best Pep Band in the region. The contest was a single elimination bracket that matched up schools with a winner selected the same weekend as the Iowa State Basketball tournament. If the region was focused on the best basketball team, why not focus on the best pep band too? We tracked votes using Youtube’s "Like" function, the most likes each round moved on. We encouraged the bands to spread the word with custom media packets for each video. They then connected with their peers, community members, and alumni. In one viewer’s words, It stinks that I can't play with these guys anymore. I played in this band for 4 years and I loved every minute! Local media also covered the event in newspapers and regional TV. We were amazed at the response, over 15,000 people saw the videos in the first three days. In the end the "Art of Noiz" pep band was crowned the winner. (http://goo.gl/spJKj) They received a $300 West Music gift card. Due to the incredible response, we awarded each participating school receieved a $25 gift card. March Music Madness was an eye-opening demonstration of the value of local school music programs and the impact they have on surrounding communities. It brought to life West Music’s mission to "enrich people’s lives through participation in music.”
When summer rolls around, we wonder how many rentals will return, how many students will quit, & how many will actually practice. To support our local educators fight the effects of the summer break, we have created an incentive program for our students. Similar to summer reading programs, our “Summer Road Trip” takes students on a fun journey to encourage them to play during break. The game is easy & fun; it helps parents get their children to practice without nagging. The game was made to be flexible so it can be completed in several weeks straight or over the summer. Practicing even occasionally over break helps kids maintain their abilities and confidence. This leads them to be more likely to reengage in their music program, which makes the program stronger too. The activities focus on practice techniques, performance, composition, and more. They were carefully selected so all instruments could participate. Students are invited to the store throughout the game to get rewards for playing, as well as help strengthen the customer relationships and be able to encourage and support students to keep it up. We partnered with local businesses and vendors to create a selection of rewards for our students’ achievements while creating a wider community support for the music & the arts. The final prize is an ice cream social where students can meet peers from the area, no matter what their economic status, size of school, or ability. But all speak the same language, music.
Music Makes a Difference
In December, 31 singers with mental and physical challenges were profiled in the Des Moines Register, preparing the SoundReach concert. Music unites these musicians and their director, West Music’s Jenny Denk, MT-BC. Denk says, “most of our members don’t have the opportunity to engage in music. We say ‘I try my best always, to be the best I can be.’ For some, success is to sit in the group. For others, it is to lead through singing and behavior.” Cory Schneider was never expected to speak. Today, at 15, he greets all of his friends at choir enthusiastically. He is a leader in this group, singing and swaying to the music. Finding Sound Reach, says his mother, Dawn, is “just really about the joy of music.” They are thrilled to hear him sing, and overjoyed to know he will be part of the concert. Austin & Sydney Eilers were given little hope to ever walk, talk, or even recognize their own parents. Now both teens are in the choir; they not only walk and talk, but sing with their peers. Their mom, Beth, explains, “When we get home, they talk about it all. Denk knows the choir is life-changing, “everyone is accepted in a positive, supportive way.” The choir works on many skills. But, “concert night is the highlight. It’s a joy-filled night celebrating their ABILITIES, not their disabilities.” For the SoundReach singers, music does not make a difference, it makes THE difference.
Best Special Event
Too hard, expensive, & takes too much time! Those who don’t play wished they had (85%) but can’t commit. Hello uke- easy, small, & affordable. The uke is a great first instrument to learn! It lends itself to any music style & its unintimidating appearance makes it very approachable. Our uke classes help people experience the power of making music! Since starting classes we have seen an incline in sales & lessons but most important new music makers. Many are moving from the uke to the instrument they’ve longed to play but thought they couldn’t. Once they uke can do it, you can’t stop. We have beginner Uke Can Do It! to Girl Power!, She Loves Uke, Yeah Yeah Yeah!, & custom classes for groups who want to play together. Plus uke club which brings out the entire community. We take ukes to schools to help 2-3 graders experience the power of the making music. We hope to show each child the fun in making music which encourages them to continue to band & orchestra. Ukulele has proven itself to be a fun & non-threatening instrument that makes it easy for someone to get started. UKE CAN DO IT!