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A dive into Audio Branding

Marble Music’s Pablo Wansbrough explores the importance of audio branding within marketing, and how an audio identity is just as impactful as its visual counterpart when creating a brand identity.

A dive into Audio Branding

Since the dawn of branding, visual marketing has led the way in creating a brands identity. A strong visual presence can be extremely powerful, and it’s hard to imagine a brand ever existing without a graphic. We interpret this visual representation of a brand as a necessity, but recent studies have shown that the more subtle impact of a strong audio strategy can be just as powerful. So why isn’t an audio identity held in the same regard as a visual one? After all it is now proven to be an extremely effective tool in creating excitement and value beyond a brands original proposition.

There are now a vast number of studies, both scientific and descriptive, which prove how effective an audio strategy can be in marketing and advertising. A worldwide survey by the Havas media group explored how a relevant and meaningful music strategy can have a positive impact on a brands image; “73% of people think that music partnerships improve brand image, while 70% think it makes a brand stand out from its competitors”. An audio brand is a statement which signals a brand with a greater ambition, and which today’s consumers love to connect with. But how can a brand benefit further from this type of marketing?

A relevant audio strategy which is consistent throughout all of a brands consumer touchpoints (e.g. events, advertisements, social media content, retail stores, marketing campaigns etc.) can enrich a brands identity and trigger more frequent engagement by awakening associations. A study carried out by scientists at UC Davis using brain scans proved the power of music in triggering powerful recollections occurring in the medial prefrontal cortex of the brain. This part of the brain is one of the last to deteriorate, which explains why people who suffer from Alzheimer’s can still sing along to old tracks from their childhoods. In the world of branding, these associations can work in various ways, from a consumer who discovers a great track at a brand activation and is reminded of that brand every time they hear that track, to another consumer who might have been in a retail store and through that brands sound being so consistent, is reminded of that brand the next time they hear that particular style of music. The sound can tap into the subconscious and thus be incredibly subtle when taking effect. It’s a unique form of marketing that can generate emotions and recollections in a powerful manner. Furthermore, and in today’s society where consumers are so discriminating and evaluate brand messaging with a critical eye, it has become more important than ever to ensure every consumer touchpoint is representative of your brand and consistent, in order to strengthen your brand identity and create stronger bonds with your consumers.

In the last couple of decades, brands have also witnessed a culture shift where consumers expect them to stand for something more than the products they sell. This has resulted in meaningful music partnerships between brands and artists whose values are aligned. These types of partnerships began in the 80’s, most notably with Michael Jackson and Pepsi, when Pepsi rebranded itself to target the youth by coming across as a younger and cooler alternative to Coke.

More recently, these partnerships have become more long term and substantial than the one off advertising campaigns of the past, with brands such as Red Bull (Red Bull Music Academy) and Converse (Rubber Tracks) even building their own rosters of up-and-coming talent. These campaigns have been an incredible tool in offering brands the chance to reach coveted audiences, and have been particularly effective with young demographics of music lovers who have become fully invested in these brands. It can turn consumer loyalty into advocacy, and should not be overlooked.

To explore in more depth how a relevant audio strategy could strengthen your brand identity and enhance your marketing campaigns, read more about Marble Music.

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