Brands have long lived in a predominantly visual world with logos, fonts and billboard ads dominating the space. But in a world saturated with visual messages and consumer attention spans shorter than ever, audio branding offers another way to cut through the noise. We can all remember our favourite TV ad jingle or recognise a certain tagline or voice in association with a particular brand – take McDonald’s’ ‘I’m lovin’ it,’ for example. As soon as you think of one jingle, another will spring to mind.

What is audio branding?

To put it simply, audio branding is the use of sound to define or strengthen a brand’s identity. It’s an experience that goes beyond a physical product or service and conveys your company’s tone and personality. Audio branding comes in forms of taglines and slogans, jingles, voice and sonic logos. These can be used to unify a brand’s existing presence at the many touchpoints where visual branding isn’t possible. All play a part in building authentic, long-lasting connections with consumers on a subconscious and emotional level.

What makes audio branding powerful?

Brands are increasingly spotlighting unique and bespoke sounds in their campaigns and activations, and it’s no wonder. Did you know humans respond 100 times faster to sound than to visual images? According to Spotify, audio ads are more memorable and motivational – they drive 24% higher recall than display ads and are twice as likely to lift purchase intent. Coupled with this response, unlike video or other visual media, we don’t have to stop to consume it – which is why 79% of consumption takes place while we’re engaged in other tasks. In addition, 74% of young adults believe they develop a better understanding of a brand’s personality through music. 

Our emotional response to sound is key to a brand’s marketing. Sound reaches the emotional part of our brain, and emotion is important when it comes to consumers’ relationship with brands. It’s part of classical conditioning – you pair stimulus with whatever you want your brand to be perceived as.

If done right, by evoking an emotional, nostalgic response, brands should influence consumers. 

Although audio branding is nothing new, now, in the age of disconnection, there are more and more ways to stay connected through audio. The rise of streaming and apps such as Clubhouse and TikTok have changed the game, placing audio front and centre.

As more audio-led platforms are hitting the market, and existing social platforms are expanding their offerings to include audio features, brands need to dial up their audio strategies to fit with these channels. 

Audio branding on social media

An organic way of getting audio trending for the last 10 years has been memeable and repostable content. With the likes of Vine, Keek, and now Snapchat and TikTok, these short-form video platforms allow audio content to have a long-lasting memorable effect.

Music is a key part of the TikTok experience, with many of the platform’s viral trends coming in response to songs and audio clips. Users then remix and repurpose these in their own creative ways. 

Following their Eurovision win, Måneskin’s cover of the song Beggin’ went viral on TikTok, with over 3.9 million videos alone. The song has seen a resurgence after the group’s rising profile from their Eurovision win and the song going viral on TikTok.

According to TikTok’s latest research reports, audio is also a key component of brand promotions. Tiktok is more receptive to sound elements within ads than they are on any other platforms. In fact, 73% of consumers said they would stop and look at ads on TikTok with audio – a significantly higher result than any other platform. 

Audio branding strategies

Unsurprisingly, other social media channels are trying to replicate TikTok’s recipe for success. Therefore, brands will want to research and understand how target audiences interact with the different platforms and formats, and the nuances of each. Consider length, editing, what will resonate with audiences, and the current trends.

More importantly, think about how it will make consumers feel and what emotion it will evoke. Look to which channel and mediums are most suitable, as the same sounds don’t have to be used to engage audiences. A familiar audio landscape that audiences associate with the brand will begin to form. 

The presence of sound in our lives shows no sign of slowing down. And as a brand marketer using social media today, audio plays a major role in shaping brands’ identity. 

Billion Dollar Boy was (inadvertently) named after one of the largest music artists in the world (Pharrell), so get in touch if you want to learn more about audio branding for influencer campaigns. 

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