Marketing 101:Turn up the audio

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If you don’t have an audio marketing strategy, then now is the time for your brand to turn up the volume.

We respond to sound much quicker - even faster than touch and a picture. And If a picture is worth a thousand words, where does audio fit into this visually saturated world of marketing? The answer is ‘everywhere’, even places where video and pictures can’t reach.

In our digital world, video has once again become the star and is great when you’re at home watching YouTube content on your iPad or scrolling through IGTV on your phone. Images help to tell a story when you are reading an article online or stops your thumb when you’re scrolling through social media. In both cases, your eyes are locked on the screen.

Audio is different. People wake up to a tune, get ready for work while listening to the news, driving or commuting to work they listen to podcasts, they exercise to the rhythm of music, at home the relax and unwind to audiobooks.

“Audio as a medium will grow, and as it grows, it will give rise to earfluence,” says Jennifer Kavanagh, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Media at the Philadelphia Eagles. People spend more time listening instead of watching because it's more convenient. Audio is always-on.

Not only that - audio has a strong link to emotion. Neuroscience studies have shown that audio stimuli and emotional responses are encoded together in the auditory cortex centre of the brain, meaning the subsequent exposure to a sound will trigger the same emotional responses.

Sound can express a brand's values and beliefs in an emotionally direct way, which is why a brand’s sonic signature is so important - it is the audio equivalent of their name.

From smart speakers to connected cars, the audio content sphere is booming. According to Edison Research, podcasting has been on a steady rise since 2006, growing by an impressive 300%. Juniper Research predicts that by 2022, Americans’ use of voice-assistant-enabled devices across smartphones, tablets, PCs, speakers, TVs, and cars will increase by 95%.

So, what are some of the elements to consider for your sonic brand strategy?

First up, remember that there’s more to audio branding than a single jingle. Every sound that plays during a customer’s experience with your brand, is an element of audio branding. From the music you play in a physical store to the theme track on your TV commercial, to the short notification sound that pops up on your app and the call centre experience — you need a consistent approach to audio branding.

Secondly, remember that sounds make us think and feel a certain way. It’s a highly emotive sense. While some sonic signatures are romantic and seductive, others are fun and carefree. Do you want to be dramatic and exciting? Gentle and welcoming? Fun and family-friendly? Make sure your audio matches your brand identity.

Thirdly, your brand voice is a critical part of your identity - the way you sound is part of what makes you unique. While you can convey aspects of your voice through your content marketing and visual media, you’ll need to also ensure that your tone is reflected in your audio branding.

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