Sonic Branding Matters. More than Ever.

By Audacy Insights Team

If you’re an advertiser or a marketer, you’re surely hearing the ever present drumbeat proclaiming the benefits of sonic branding. And if it isn’t ringing clear, don’t worry – you’ve come to the right place. Let’s answer all your questions about the seismic focus on sonic branding, and why including this powerful approach in your brand toolkit will help you hit all the right notes. 

Why am I hearing so much about sonic branding?

Let’s start with what it is. Sonic branding is a unique sound that affects how consumers feel about, connect with, and make decisions about a brand or product. And as consumers watch ads on smaller screens, social scroll during TV commercials, and ditch the visual entirely with smart speakers, the way a brand sounds has never been more important. A consistent sound logo can reinforce a visual and verbal brand identity, enhance brand recall, and even influence intent to purchase. And when it comes to catching consumers’ elusive attention, the colors, the package shape, even the celebrities and characters don’t hold a candle to the resounding power of sonic branding.

What is included under the sonic branding umbrella? 

These three “sonic touchpoints” can help you create a winning sonic identity.

Audio logo: You might think of it as a jingle without words. A great brand signature, or identifier, becomes a powerful, instantly recognizable Audio souvenir complementing the visual logo. As soon as that “Like a good neighbor” tune starts playing, you know it’s State Farm.

Consistent music: Full-length music created for your brand – directly and emotionally connects with the target audience to share values and mission. Listeners may not even realize it’s playing, but it can shape their feelings about the brand or product, and even inspire them to consider buying something from that advertiser. Think about the last Home Depot commercial you heard – that peppy tune behind the narration just seems to invite you to pick up a hammer and DIY something at your house.

home depot

Tagline: Quick, simple, and memorable – it’s a brand description at the end of your ad. It’s tough to find a listener of any age who doesn’t know that Chuck E. Cheese is “Where a kid can be a kid.”

chuck e cheese

Does sonic branding work?

Indeed it does. In fact, sonic branding is the single most effective way for marketers to improve brand recognition and purchase. Done properly, consistent sonic branding bolsters verbal brand identity as well as brand recall and purchase intent.

All that and a bag of chips

The Tostitos brand dipped its chips into sonic branding, capitalizing on its fun and unique product line to reach consumers emotionally and bring them together. Its bite-sized sonic logo is a tasty 1.5 seconds of sounds, composed entirely of Tostitos products. And it also sounds like success – the brand’s Audio logo has beaten consumer packaged goods norms for ad recall by 20% and brand appeal by 13%, as measured by Audio analytics and research platform Veritonic.

Tostitos

Brands have always focused on perfecting their visual and verbal identity. And now, as we move to an era of screenless computing and voice-driven technology, the way a brand sounds – it’s sonic identity – has never been more important.

Paul Suchman
Chief Marketing Officer, Audacy

Advertising on the #1 reach media – Audio – will get you the most ears. But to keep them, our studies show that you need to invest in specific creative drivers, like sonic branding. How your brand sounds has a big impact – on our mood, emotion, memory, and even our actions related to a brand. For a marketer, sound has become a powerful tool to spark emotions, evoke brand recognition, and drive to purchase.

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SOURCES

Sound Creative: How to Build Winning Audio Ads, Audacy and Veritonic, February 2023

Methodology: We analyzed the content of 113 ads from OTA and podcast platforms, across entertainment, auto, consumer packaged goods, and financial service categories. The content analysis delved into 20 attributes, including voiceover gender, sonic branding type, and ad tone. We then ran a custom survey asking more than 330 consumers their opinions about the ads and the brands they represent.

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