You’ve spent hours deliberating the font on your business cards. You’ve lost days paining over the design of your website and you’ve had full-blown arguments in the office over the shade of blue your logo should be… but have you ever considered what your brand SOUNDS LIKE?
The idea of an “audio identity” for your brand is certainly not a new one. McDonald’s have a sonic logo you can probably whistle from memory and Intel have had a certain 5 music notes intrinsically linked to their brand for over 23 years but with the rise of “Voice First” technology its time to think of audio branding as more than a “theme song” and its something everyone needs to consider.
The good news is: Get it right and you have a VERY powerful marketing tool at your disposal. Mark Heine, Creative Director at Quarry says that “Great Brand Communication is Great Storytelling” and when it comes to telling stories, there is no better medium that audio. Great audio can trigger emotions like no other medium. It has the power to engage with its audience by creating subconscious interaction, forcing its audience to ‘fill in the blanks’ and generate mental images in the way that video does not. This presents a great opportunity.
Research published by the Harvard Business Review in 2012 showed that audio can have a drastic effect on peoples perception. The right music played in a restaurant can even make food and drink more enjoyable. Likewise, relevant sounds, when used in a marketing environment can influence people in certain ways triggering brand recognition, product recall, building trust and even creating sales.
Whereas many brands spend incredible amounts of time and money on their appearance, sound is often largely overlooked (or maybe even undervalued). Not only can a strategic use of sound play an important role in setting you apart from your opponents but as we move more to a screen-less, voice-activated world it could soon become a key way to communicate your core values and company image.
“One of the benefits of keeping your sound consistent with your brand’s personality is that customers will instantly recognise you across a multitude of mediums.”
Toni Reid, Voice President of Alexa Experience and Echo Devices at Amazon.
So how do you communicate your brand via sound? Nowadays we are talking about more than a Sonic Logo, we are talking about an “audio personality”. When creating your brand’s presence on devices such as Alexa and Google Home many different elements must be considered. From the voice used to interact with a potential customer to the language used in that communication. For example, a young, cool, clothing brand should present itself in a completely different way to a modern, sleek electronics company. Interaction with each should “Feel” different and reflect that brands core beliefs and values – as well as considering what your Skill, App or Action should do, you must also consider how it will sound.
We can all think of company logos that perfectly represent their brand in a visual world and now the same consideration must be applied when it comes to “Audio Branding” that is reflective across all platforms (not just on your Smart Speaker App). The time to get started is now, the earlier you begin work in this area the sooner customers will begin to recognise your sound and that will pay benefits for years to come.