Audio branding has always been one of the critical marketing features, but people often think of it as a one-dimensional concept.
After all, studies proved that almost 80% of people feel happy or hungry when they hear McDonald's audio jingle.
Sights, sounds, and smells can all evoke emotionally charged memories because the same part of a brain that is in charge of processing our senses is also responsible, at least partially, for storing emotional memories.
It means that audio branding can influence our moods, feelings, and behaviour.
In this article, we will show you a brief introduction to audio branding.
How Sounds Impact People
There is a whole science behind sounds that explains their impact on the human brain.
It is a complex topic, but we can narrow it down and reveal three ways how sounds impact people.
Here they are:
1 – Sounds affect our moods
You've probably experienced it many times before because audio content quickly changes the way you feel.
While the sound of classical music makes you relaxed, nails scratching a chalkboard will probably creep you out.
In each case, audio content affects your mood directly and instantly.
2 – Sounds affect our behaviour
People tend to escape awkward tones, but they want to stay exposed to pleasant tunes.
Speaking of business, it means you can exploit audio effects to influence customers on a subconscious level, making them more shopping-prone.
3 – Sounds affect our productivity
What you hear can slow you down or give you an energy boost, thus influencing your productivity.
For instance, this is the reason why athletes often listen to high-tempo music while training.
The Benefits of Audio Branding
The purpose of audio branding is to make your marketing strategy more effective.
It is the only way to keep step with the most prominent competitors and sustain the long-term profitability of your business.
However, the main benefits of audio branding are these:
1 – Develop brand identity
A brand identity is not complete without the audio element.
This is another way to distinguish yourself from other brands and become memorable.
Creating a signature sound allows you to grab the attention of consumers even if they are not able to see your content.
2 – Make customers active
As we already mentioned, sounds can strongly affect the mood of an average customer.
It is imperative because you can exploit this fact and use music in the real-life environment to make customers more active and shopping-prone.
Research showed that the pace of ambient music has the most significant effect on shoppers.
The music is usually slow and relaxing because it calms down potential consumers and gives them more time to make impulsive purchases.
Therefore, audio branding will not only make you sound different than other companies, but it will also give you real sales boost in the long-term perspective.
3 – Inspire emotional reactions
Sounds do not just make the brand recognisable, but they also inspire emotional reactions.
In case of Viber or Skype, it is the feeling of anticipation and excitement when you hear there is a new message in the inbox.
You should seize every sense to keep the audience alert and ready to engage with your products or services.
To do this, you need to create a pleasant tune that is still unusual enough to breach the audio noise barrier successfully.
A sound like this leaves people curious to find out more about the brand and its activities, which is precisely what you want to achieve here.
4 – Increase brand loyalty
A lovely tune or a song can turn consumers into loyal fans and brand advocates.
It has to be catchy and able to win over the hearts of your audience.
For example, the “Friends” theme song has become a world-famous hit.
It is not only making the TV show more popular, but it is also reminding people to come back to it and watch old episodes once again.
This is what brand loyalty is all about – making your clients satisfied and willing to come back for more.
How to Create the Audio Branding Strategy?
Now that you have seen the audio branding essentials, you should learn how to design a successful audio branding strategy.
Bradley Griffin, a content creator at Careers Booster, claims it is all about composing a signature sound:
“The goal of your strategy is to design a tune that perfectly matches the style of your brand and the needs of your buyer persona”.
However, how exactly can you do that?
It is a 4-step process that requires careful analysis and analytical approach.
Let's check out each phase separately:
1 – Analyse target audience
As always, you start with your audience and analyse the traits of an average buyer.
Who is this person?
How old is he or she?
Where are they?
Where they hang out?
Besides the essential demographic features, you have to understand their core values and beliefs to create the corresponding audio content.
At the same time, you have to find out more about their education and income levels because these elements determine your branding style.
You will be able to define a buyer persona only once you gather all those information and combine them into a meaningful unit.
For instance, a retired 65-year old lady wants to hear a calm and relaxing sound, while a 16-year old teenager probably needs something more dynamic and entertaining.
You should keep this in mind and do the audio branding that fits the preferences of your target customers.
2 – Keep it aligned with visual elements
You cannot consider audio branding as an isolated concept and make it completely different than other branding elements.
On the contrary, you need to respect the overall branding strategy and compose sounds that correspond primarily with visual identity components.
For instance, brands that use a lot of red and yellow demand powerful and energetic music, while blue or grey go well with classical and trustworthy sounds.
It all depends on your target audience.
People who are data-driven want to hear high-quality and convincing sounds, while teenage rebels will be glad to hear punk music.
The same goes for the colours.
They give a special dimension to the brand – from serenity, competence, and excitement to sophistication and ruggedness.
Your task is to create a synergy of these two components to increase the impact of branding.
3 – Choose the right emotion and style
You will address consumers in different situations, and your audio brand must correspond to each one of these occasions.
Although an average buyer has a more or less stable set of traits, it does not mean that local environment or people around them do not affect their mood or behaviour.
On the contrary, these are critical factors that you must take into the calculation.
Retail shopping is one thing, while customer service is entirely different.
In case of physical stores, you will choose slow tunes to calm down shoppers.
On the other hand, more than 70% of people want to hear something else than beeps or silence on-hold.
This means you have to provide them with something amusing to evoke positive feelings and make them more relaxed for the conversation with a customer service agent.
In each case, audio branding has a specific role and mission, so you have to be aware of this fact before composing any tunes.
4 – Maintain consistency
Once you have done with the audio branding design, you should try to apply it consistently.
Don't change signature sounds every once in a while because it will confuse loyal customers and chase them away from you.
The principle is the same as visual branding – if you change colours or logo design too often, no one will be able to recognise your brand in the long run.
You should look at it from the long-term perspective and choose one theme that perfectly resonates with style and values of the target audience.
After that, you will only make slight changes or improvements over time to adapt audio branding for individual campaigns.
Choosing a tune to represent your brand for a more extended period may sound like a mission impossible, but it will save you a lot of time and nerves.
The first benefit is that you will not have to repeat the selection process over and over again, while the second advantage is that you will get a signature sound that everyone can easily relate to your brand.
A Conclusion on Audio Branding
Audio branding is as essential for your marketing strategy as visual branding.
Therefore, you need to dedicate enough time to create audio content that suits the overall appearance of your brand.
In this post, we showed you a brief introduction to audio branding.
Do you already have an audio branding plan?
What do you think is the most critical feature in this field?
Don't hesitate to share your thoughts in comments and we will be glad to discuss this topic with you!
Inkbot Design is a Creative Branding Agency that is passionate about effective Graphic Design, Brand Identity, Logos and Web Design.