Sonic Branding: Designing and Implementing Your Perfect Brand Voice
The Covid-19 pandemic ushered in an era of heightened consumer distraction. In fact, despite an initial falloff due to the pandemic, digital advertising spending grew 12.2% in the latter part of 2020, according to a report commissioned by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and conducted by PwC. Moreover, the IAB said a huge surge in connected television, e-commerce shopping and at-home deliveries created a “pendulum swing” that helped the sector continue growing despite the turbulence earlier in the year.
Social media ad revenues reached $41.5 billion in 2020, the report said, making up nearly 30% of all internet ad revenue. Digital video saw 20.6% year-over-year growth, increasing its share of total internet ad revenue by 1.3% to reach 18.7%. Programmatic ad revenue also increased by 24.9% to reach $14.2 billion in 2020.
What this means is that your brand is facing a new level of competition for consumer attention and retention.
So, what’s a brand to do?
We recommend the strategic use of sound in brand messaging across all media. But first, you will need to spend quite a bit of time researching and assessing your target audience’s psychographics (beliefs, attitudes, likes, dislikes, opinions, preferences, etc.).
Watch our short explainer video below to gain a better understanding of what sonic branding is and how you can harness the power of it to your brand’s competitive advantage.
Your sonic brand must become part of your brand proposition, so it will be important for you to articulate exactly what you want it to convey to prospective customers. The key will be consistency.
Questions to ask yourself include:
What sounds are appealing to my brand’s target audience?
What sounds characterize my brand in an aural way that complements our textual brand messaging?
How do you envision your brand? What does it stand for and how does it benefit your customers?
How well does your brand vision align with your audience’s perception of your brand?
Does your brand messaging align with customer sentiment expressed on social media and other internet outlets?
What’s your brand’s personality?
In other words, all parts of the brand strategy and messaging must align with the sonic brand and any music and other sounds or audio you use in conjunction with your brand messaging. It’s important for everyone—senior leadership, managers, employees, and stakeholders—to say, “That sounds like our brand.”
As part of your analysis, conduct a good old-fashioned SWOT (strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats) analysis. The idea is for your sonic brand and audio brand strategy to enable your brand to gain strengths, diminish or eliminate weaknesses, take advantage of market opportunities, and mitigate threats (namely, the competition).
And make no mistake about it: Sonic branding is not just for “big box” jumbo brands. All brands can benefit from the power of sonic branding to tell their brand story in a way that is far more memorable than words or visuals alone. Rather than rely on mere iconic memory, the idea here is to tap into the longer-lasting echoic memory to enhance brand recall and recognition.
One of the keys to a successful sonic brand and audio brand strategy is consistency, so you will need to work with a sonic branding agency on the development of an audio style guide for your brand that must be strictly followed by your in-house and advertising agency creative teams.