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The latest trends and insights from our team.
insight & trends
18 November 2020

what do brands sound like?.

Brands and businesses spend a lot of time, resources and effort perfecting the visual identity of their brand. But, today technology requires brand-consumer interactions to be active – they are now two-way conversations. Which has made us ask the question, what does a brand sound like?

With over 300 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every minute and almost 5 billion videos being watched every day – people have started migrating to the next big thing – podcasts.

People aren’t just tuning into podcasts once in a while; in fact, 82% of podcast listeners spend more than seven hours a week listening to podcasts. Pair that with a surge of IoT (Internet of Things) like Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa – we are spending an increasing amount of time using voice search.

“In the one dimensional days when communication fed only from brand-to-consumer, marketers put a lot of weight on brand sound in connection to television commercials and radio spots. As the market changed, sound took a back seat to visual design. The perception was that brands were seen more than they were heard, so much more rigor and care was put into perfecting the brand’s look and feel was consistent, leaving sound in limited roles like jingles and spokespeople.” Rob Davis

Today, sound is back in the forefront. How a brand sounds doesn’t merely deserve the level of attention and detail given to visual branding. It demands it.

A successful brand voice makes a brand not only stand out but humanize it. But a brand voice is more than just its tonality on social platforms – it is looking to what a brand would sound like on a podcast. It is imagining more than a brand conversation on a Facebook post – it is imagining what it sounds like IRL (in real life) and could potentially extend to what the brand would listen to (musically). This all falls under a new term called a ‘sonic branding strategy’.

The power of a voice is undeniable – it makes us (and brands) individuals and may be more of a defining personality than what we wear or in brand terms, ‘the visual identity’.

Few brands have forged a unique sonic signature with the same degree of attention and precision that they bring to their images. The opportunity and potential it allows is too big to ignore.

It will be interesting to see if advertisers integrate music into a brands marketing mix in a more meaningful way in future. For now, it’s an approach that others could learn from and build upon. For brand’s, creating a sonic strategy that’s less fad-like and more deeply rooted in their core values is a powerful way to connect with consumers, from their shows, to their stores, to streaming audio content that is becoming a bigger part of our lives.
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