The New Frontier of Branding is Sound, Marketing & Advertising News, ET BrandEquity
By Rajeev Raja
The golden age of audio has arrived! According to market research firm RedSeer, India will have 95 million monthly active users (MAUs) for online audio content by the end of 2021.
This includes podcasts, audiobooks and other audio-based online entertainment, and represents a 34% increase from the 71 million recorded last year. Add to that the consumption of digital content, social media posts, app-based transactions, the emergence of the “metaverse” and we’re talking about a whole new opportunity for marketers to connect with consumers. : using the sensory dimension of sound. . Thus, we are witnessing the rapid growth of the science of Sonic Branding by which brands complement their visual identity with a unique and clean sound identity. Which expresses the emotional essence of their brand.
But before exploring the opportunities offered by this “second audio era”, let’s dive into the unique relationship between human beings and sound/music.
For starters, it’s not clear how our ancestors invented music, but Darwinian theorists would say it was probably invented even before language. Some say that human beings have imitated the cries of birds and other sounds of the jungle and developed them into rudimentary forms of musical expression.
This tells us that music is considered a language in its own right and perhaps goes beyond our spoken language.
The unique relationship between humans and music is increasingly recognized by marketers as a powerful way to project the “invisible” brand and add an “unconscious” experiential layer to a company’s identity. Brand. It helps brands engage with their target audience with an emotional sincerity that has a much deeper impact than just words.
The first example of a sound mark would be church bells or the call of the muezzin to signal “prayer time” to the faithful. Over time, brands have used jingles to communicate brand messages.
But today, brands are finding the need for a less overt and more subliminal way to create brand experience, using sound strategically and functionally. Now, without sound haptics on our phones, we feel the experience is incomplete. Our notification alerts carry functional value that connects us to brands as much as visuals.
In contemporary times, until now, brands have largely leveraged simple audio ad formats, like audio-only ad spots, or content integrations like sponsored playlists or podcasts to drive positive interactions with the Brand. However, with the shift to voice control (with the proliferation of digital apps that navigate through voice actions), now is the time for brands to strengthen their sound identity, to create better memory salience.
Additionally, the flood of visual ads across social, print and digital media is making competition for brands tougher. With a sound asset, brands reduce clutter, make an instant emotional connection, and create better brand recall. Humans are multi-sensory, so brands need to go beyond the one-sensory approach. Music triggers a rich mix of universal emotions in consumers that research shows can transcend countries, cultures and demographics.
With the tremendous advancements in voice and voice technologies, the way people interact with the environment is changing. With the help of AI, advertisers can build an extended conversation between the brand and a consumer. They can engage their listeners with various dialogues and customize them to meet specific needs.
An integral part of sonic branding is a “music or MOGO logo”. It only takes 0.46 seconds for a human being to react to sound. And neuroscientists agree that a MOGO can trigger images, memories and emotions associated with the brand in an instant. Brands need to craft a smart communication strategy that helps them increase conversions not only on touchpoints, but also on “touchpoints.”
Nokia’s ringtone, for example, was an example of brilliant “earworm” engineering. Zomato has made a foray into the sonic brand with the “Zom Tara Rara” MOGO, with the “Zom” notification alerting the customer when the order is taken. Likewise, McDonald’s “I’m Lovin It”, the default ringtone on Apple’s iPhone, the “Intel Inside” bong, Amazon’s Alexa voice, have strengthened brand ties, helping not only to recognition by improving the equalizer or “emotional quotient”. .
Another factor is the decrease in attention span. With the average consumer attention span of just eight seconds, marketers do their best to engage the customer in an instant. When customers experience the brand through a specific sound asset, they learn to associate those distinctive sounds with the broader brand universe. Over time, a good sound identity can have a Pavlovian effect, bringing brand imagery and associative emotions to life in the blink of an eye. Such brand connections can be particularly crucial for the consideration phase in the purchase funnel.
There is an upsurge in sound brand identities. However, the challenge is to avoid a cacophony. You have to research, know the audience, identify an emotion, combine simplicity and originality. Understanding the inherent qualities of sound that best represents your brand is an art. The tone and timing of such branding should appeal to the desired customers. Gen Z and millennials are a formidable force for marketing professionals, and they value authenticity above anything else. Their economic power will increase in the years to come, so creating the right sound asset to connect with your audience will make a huge difference.
In an experience-driven economy with a rapid crash in attention, sonic branding helps bridge the gap between content and subsequent engagement. Technology will further define the context, which we are already seeing in the rise of voice activation devices. Brands need to create and then amplify their sonic identity so they can build authenticity, trust and a recognizable personality. Marketers can thus layer storytelling, video and promotions, always accompanied by a coherent sound field.
As the saying goes, “It’s time for brands to not just be seen, but to be heard!” »
The author is the founder and sound engineer, BrandMusiq. The opinions expressed are personal.