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Sonic & beyond: Optimising audio marketing

Rajeev Raja, Founder of BrandMusiq, highlights the transformative power of sound in branding, advocating for a strategic approach to audio marketing.

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Sonic identities leverage the influence that sound has on the human psyche and approach sound through a strategic lens to create a comprehensive sonic identity system. This system empowers brands to express their distinctive personalities, emotions, and essences through sound, thereby elevating brand awareness and forging emotional connections with consumers.

BrandMusiq uses the science of sound and the art of music to create sonic identities. In my view, the current focus on sonic branding is just the beginning, and an increasing number of marketers are recognizing the profound impact and added dimension that sound brings to their brands. Sonic branding is as old as humans developed sound itself. This is why even an untrained ear has a natural response to music- pleasant or alarming.

Just like designing a visual identity requires strategic thinking that goes beyond designing just the logo, there is a larger brand persona that is expressed though the other pillars of a visual identity like the font, the brand colors, the graphic etc - creating a sonic identity also requires strategic thinking on how the brand can be expressed through sound.

In general terms, audio branding, or sonic branding, is a marketing strategy centered on using sound and music to establish a distinct and memorable brand identity.  At BrandMusiq we approach the creating a brand sound through a strategic lens.  This involves creating and deploying unique sound elements like music logos (MOGO®s), soundscapes (MOGOSCAPE®), jingles, and other auditory assets to boost brand recognition and evoke specific emotions that can help in building a deeper and meaningful connection with all stakeholders. 

As 2024 progresses, more brands are starting to recognise and use sonic branding as a creative and smart way to break through visual clutter and connect with their consumers. Studies have shown music influences customer decisions and can increase or decrease a person's willingness to engage with a brand by upto 86%*. A recent report from Advertising Week states that “when added to broadcast advertising, a sonic logo can boost brand recall and appeal with recent results showing a lift by nearly 40%. As per IPSOS 2020 report, ads containing sonic brand cues tested 8.53 times more  effective than those with only visual assets. 

Similar to any developing marketing approach, there lie both challenges and opportunities on the horizon. For example  there are approximately 4 billion voice-enabled devices in use as of 2023. Given the focus of a marketing plan has been to maximise the  “opportunity to see” it is now equally important to evaluate ‘opportunities to hear” . The spectrum of possibilities includes the brand sound being able to integrate at various earpoints (audio touchpoints) like retail outlets, showrooms, social media communication, brand TVC’s, playlists, artist activations, employee branding and many more. 

Similar to the importance of visual branding, establishing a distinctive audio brand allows your audience to associate specific sounds with your brand. According to recent research, there has been a 30% upswing in user engagement when brands integrate personalised sonic elements.

For marketers who are find it challenging to create consumer engagement, differentiation and recall, Sonic branding can be leveraged to address these challenges. The average consumer attention span is 8 seconds, Brands need to make their content count. The average person is estimated to be bombarded with between 6,000 to 10,000 ads daily, but the human ear is 20X faster than the eye, at Brandmusiq we believe the quickest way to your customer’s heart is through the ears

In 2024, the optimization of audio marketing extends beyond merely catchy tunes; it involves crafting immersive, personalised, and unforgettable sonic experiences.  Its is a misconception that Sonic branding or audio branding is most relevant for brands that rely heavily on television . Zomato for instance uses their sonic identity to punctuate the riders journey. HDFC bank was one of the 1st brands to integrate their Sonic identity into their ATMS as a successful transaction notification, Air India Express have created versions of the sonic identity for the inflight music, IVR hold tune and even on their chat bot “Tia”. Creating the sonic identity for the global tech giant Infosys marks one of the first instances of a B2B company establishing a sonic identity. So the opportunities are growing so are the earpoints for them to be heard. 

The fact is that that brands should start viewing sonic branding not just as a ‘nice-to-have’ but a ‘must have’

Brands, armed with these insights into trend of sonic branding can confidently navigate this auditory landscape, ensuring their presence is unmistakably resonant in the ears of their consumers.. Going forward, we see brands investing in the creation of sonic engagements, sonic activation and sonic experiences which bring alive the sonic identity and forge deeper brand connections.

This article is penned by Rajeev Raja, Founder, BrandMusiq.

Disclaimer: The article features the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the stance of the publication.

music marketing sonic branding audio marketing optimisation