Harness the power of sound for your brand
Take a moment to think of a sound that always makes you smile. Maybe it’s your favorite song, the sound of someone you love laughing, or the opening theme of your latest binge-watch.
Now take a moment to think of a sound that makes you angry. Maybe it’s a fire alarm, a baby crying on a crowded plane, or the voice of a politician you despise.
Sounds have the power to directly influence emotions. This power is universal. Sounds even have the power to impact health. Sound therapy is used to help relieve migraines, relieve stress, improve concentration, boost energy, decrease nausea, decrease symptoms of epilepsy, mental health including depression, decrease pain, improve sleep and much more.
There are many resources dedicated to using sound to benefit health, including meditation apps. Walter Werzowa, the creator of Intel’s “bong” sound and a member of the team that used AI to complete Beethoven’s 10th Symphony, has launched Health Tunes, an audio app specifically dedicated to improving health . He spoke with CMI Media Group during a panel at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity and cited studies in which patients with Alzheimer’s disease experienced improved neurological function with sound therapy. And that impact starts early – audio has been used in the NICU to help reduce high heart rates in newborns.
sound in marketing
Advertisers have the opportunity to leverage the incredible power of sound for their brands. But surprisingly, that doesn’t happen often. Consider these stats from iHeartMedia:
- Consumers spend 31% of their time using audio, whether it’s streaming audio, podcasts or other audio entertainment.
- Wireless speakers continue to top the list of electronics purchases, and smart speakers are found in 60% of US homes.
- 61% of podcast listeners listen daily.
- Radio broadcast reaches 9 out of 10 in the United States
But audio branding represents on average only 9% of brand budgets. And a recent study found that audio accounts for just 1% of digital impressions, despite being the most consumed channel.
There are a few exceptions. Insurance companies do a great job of building their sound identities. Think of companies like Farmers Insurance or State Farm and chances are you’ve just sung the jingle in your head. McDonald’s has won awards for its simple but effective “I’m Lovin’ It” campaign. But still, these exceptions are few and far between.
Developing a sound identity for your brand can provide a huge return on investment. Digital audio offers a 120% to-brand conversion rate compared to digital signage, which offers 5%.
Audio advertising can also help brands connect on a deeper, more inclusive level with their audience. Suppose a podcast ad mentions the word “house”. It leads the listener to imagine what home means to them. They immediately have the image in mind, and it is personalized to them. This is more difficult to achieve in visual advertising, because a house is different for everyone.
Things to know to get started
Maximizing the impact of audio in your campaigns is a multi-step process.
Custom creation is a must. A brand cannot simply extract sound from a TV commercial. Not only will it seem out of context, but there will be a missed opportunity that comes from leveraging creation specifically for audio, including music, carefully chosen language, and even ASMR.
Get to know the offers. It’s not all 15 or 30 second radio ads. In fact, longer formats are gaining ground, ranging from 75 to 90 seconds. Beyond that, streaming platforms continue to roll out innovative new ad units such as Pandora’s Interactive Voice Ads, which are ads you can actually talk to, and iHeart’s immersive 360 audio formats. Podcasts open up an entirely different set of options, including host-read ads and endorsement spots. Many streaming platforms also offer visual components such as accompanying banners or video assets for people streaming audio on laptops or iPads.