Better Brands Are Formed With Audio That Evokes Emotion and Generates Memories

Sonic branding can be used to connect marketers with their audiences

The McDonalds logo; word bubbles popping up saying "BA" "DA" "DA" and
Hearing McDonald's famous jingle instantly sparks an emotional response amongst its consumers. Animation: Trent Joaquin; Sources: McDonald's
Headshot of Steven Kritzman

Think about where you are investing in advertising today. How much—if any—of that translates to an audio world? If you are feeling worried, you are not alone. A relatively new frontier in advertising, the use of sound to reinforce and extend brand identity is just on the cusp of widespread adoption. That means it’s time to establish your sonic brand.

Enable personal, contextual storytelling

Audio is a powerful storytelling medium. When done well, it creates a theater of the mind, provoking emotion, inspiring audiences and generating lasting memories. Audio not only provides delivery of brand messages but also enables brands to insert themselves into the consumers own story; as most audio is delivered via earbuds or in personal locations such as the home kitchen or in connected cars, you can speak directly to consumers.

Intelligent ad technology further enables this peer-to-peer conversation by leveraging up to a billion data points a day, including triggers such as location, weather and time of day, to personalize ads and contextually deliver them. For example, a meal delivery service creates ads inviting busy parents to offer fast and healthy family dinners on chaotic weekdays, ads for a picnic at the local park on a sunny Saturday and ads for comfort food on a rainy Sunday evening. Dynamic audio enables you to create emotional resonance in a saturated world.

Deliver a multisensory brand experience

When done well, it creates a theater of the mind, provoking emotion, inspiring audiences and generating lasting memories.

As Neuromarketing points out, our senses are linked to the limbic part of the brain that is responsible for emotion, memories and feelings. Brands that stimulate our senses evoke emotion, creating a deeper, more resonant brand experience.

As we move into a voice-activated world, how will your brand respond when a consumer talks to it? Defining your brand identity is a strategic effort, and your sonic identity needs to be an integrated part of that. Consider what your brand will sound like, what sonic assets you will need and how it will fit in with and reinforce other brand elements.

At five seconds or less, a sonic logo is an efficient and effective way to connect viscerally with your audience. Case in point: Formula 1 just debuted a three-second sonic identity that took The Chemical Brothers’ song and sped it up to 15,000 bpms to capture the exhilaration of a 15,000 rpm F1 racecar engine. Whether it’s a jingle like “Nationwide Is on Your Side” or the sing-along appeal of McDonald’s “Ba da Ba Ba Bah,” catchiness and memorability are key.

Pinpoint where to show up

Sound has the power to transport you back in time or across geographies, rekindle memories of loved ones and special moments and create energy and excitement for a challenge. How do you want to deploy this powerful medium at key points in the customer journey, especially across non-visual touchpoints? The goal is to produce audio assets, optimized for different touchpoints, to deliver a seamless brand experience across online and offline environments.

Perhaps you need a point-of-sale presence, such as a credit card transaction sound. Research conducted by Visa found that 81 percent of consumers said they would have a more positive perception of merchants who used either sound or animation cues. By considering how and when to inject sonic ID assets to advance the customer experience, brands can strategically deliver another layer of emotional connection to the customer engagement progression.

Audio creative offers advertisers the ability to harness the power of sound to connect in new and meaningful ways with consumers, to grab attention, create emotional bonds, strengthen recall and drive purchase intent. Brands should move now to create an audio presence that customers will develop relationships with and listen to.


Steven Kritzman is senior vice president of advertising sales for Pandora.
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