Audio branding is not just a trendy development in marketing. It’s a powerful way to connect with and influence your audience.
As a leader, it’s critical to stay aware of trends and to adapt to them. One trend that has moved along inexorably is the addition of audio to all kinds of internal and external media. Sales brochures have given way to apps, employee handbooks are now websites with orientation and training videos, press kits are now EPKs (electronic press kits), newsletters are eBlasts and boast links to rich media. Everyone knows what has happened to publishing. All of which means, today’s leader has a new branding tool to wield and manage: not just your brand’s look and logo, but your brand’s audio identity. What is the sound of your brand? Does it underscore exactly what you stand for? If your answer is, “I don’t know,” you’re missing a powerful source of brand influence. Ask yourself, “Can my audience recognize the sound of my brand at an expo? Will they hear it again on videos? Is it echoed in our hotline music?” And most importantly for global companies, ”Is it being conveyed consistently in all our markets?” Marketers are turning to audio branding specialists to give their brands distinctive voices. The goal is to deign a system of sounds that convey meaning at each place your audience or employees encounter the brand. Your brand has graphic standards and a style guide. Have you given the same thought to its audio universe? Do you have an audio logo?
Audio Branding Impact
Who would think that two seconds of music would have such a strong effect on a brand? Though we’ve been doing audio branding for 19 years, the effect of the audio still has the power to drop our jaws. This month, for a client who has had an audio logo for just one year, more than 60 percent of the audience recognized and expressed affinity for the branded music, beating bigger and better known competitors on three continents. For SNCF, which has had an audio brand since 2005, the brand had 92 percent attribution and attracted 71 percent. Another thing an audio brand can do is to increase comprehension of commercials and understanding of specific attributes. For example, when Michelin replaced its ad agency’s music within its campaign with true audio-branded music, the company saw an increase in many key measures:
- 12 percent more innovative;
- 5 percent more friendly;
- 7 percent more drivable; and
- an 18 percent increase in leadership perception.
Once you’ve got the core of the audio identity composed just for you, it’s amortized over many touchpoints. You can save hundreds of thousands of dollars on licensing fees, many of which are overlooked in production budgets by agencies and suppliers: event marketing, public relations, digital marketing, corporate meetings, advertising, activation and training.
Colleen Fahey is U.S. Managing Director of Sixieme Son, running the U.S. arm of a Paris-based audio branding firm.