Category Archives: audio branding : application

is your brand making sense?

Brands are everywhere.

With the advent of transmedia, the battle for consumer attention is more than a fight for recognition and recall. Engagement has become the new parlance of brand design, driven by research demonstrating that successful consumer engagement doesn’t just change the way people think and feel: it shapes their behavior and changes the way they buy.23ebc6d4-0bf3-43ef-85b0-9e679d00d211

When it comes to creating deep, emotional connections, nothing is as powerful as an appeal to our senses. Enter, then, the world of sensory branding, where proven analytical techniques are used to create stronger brand preferences through sensory engagement. It’s a world where the brands that make the most sense win. Literally. Continue reading

the power of sound: audio drives award winning work at the 2013 cannes lions

IMG_2832When it comes to advertising awards, nothing matches the prestige (or the intensity) of  the Cannes Lions.

This year a record 35,765 entries from 92 countries were submitted to the Cannes Lions 60th International Festival of Creativity, making it the largest and most prestigious global awards event for creative advertising and communications.

You can certainly debate the relevance of award shows, but researchers Les Binet and Peter Field found that creatively-awarded campaigns are, on average, ten times more effective.

Knowing the power of sound to shape brand identity, enhance consumer engagement and increase brand awareness, it comes as no surprise that audio driven work (both strategically and creatively) takes home its share of “Lions.”  As technology continues to create new ways of closing the sonic gap between brands and their audience, we’re convinced that the strategic use of sound will play an increasingly important role in brand marketing.

We’re writing this post from Cannes, where we’re only a few days into the Festival. Already, we’re seeing the importance of sound as a key component of effective advertising. Here’s a sampling of five winners that we think stood out from the crowd:

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teaching an old dog new tricks : radio as an audio branding touch point


An audio brand is only as good as its implementation. For all the hours devoted to the strategy, research and testing that contribute to creating audio assets for a brand, it’s meaningless without a strategy focused on implementing the audio brand as consistently as possible, as often as possible and in as many contexts as possible.

The “contexts” part of that equation refers to what we call “touch points”: the medium or point of contact through which the audio brand is delivered. In the past, these touch points were usually limited to more traditional broadcast mediums, like television and radio. Today, technology is rapidly opening up new possibilities for the use of audio at point of sale, in sonically isolated environments, via mobile applications and immersive 3D soundscapes – just to name a few.

With the excitement that comes from seeing all these new audio touch points, it’s easy to dismiss the power that still remains in more traditional mediums. The fact is, technological advancements offer us an opportunity to explore new ways to engage consumers through classic touch points.

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technology, engagement and new frontiers in audio branding

Once upon a time, we “heard” a brand primarily though commercials that were broadcast via television and radio.

The advent of social media, coupled with technological advancements in recording and playback devices, has opened a whole new world of opportunities for the audio branding enthusiast.

It might have been a spoken phrase with a memorable rhyme that became a positioning line easily remembered. Or a jingle that stuck in your head and kept you humming a brand name through the day. Advertisers hoped that if they were catchy enough, these moments of audio branding would become messages spread by word of mouth, engaging an audience enough to join in a vocal chorus that moved beyond the confines of TV and radio.

That was then. This is now. Continue reading

oh, the places you’ll hear: the use of audio in destination branding

Over the last few years, there has been a growing interest in “destination branding” (called “community branding” in some instances) as communities, cities, states and even countries seek competitive advantages to attract tourists, talent, jobs and funding.

In practice, branding a place isn’t much different than branding a product. Those who specialize in destination branding work to understand the unique assets and values of a community “brand” and then create a strategy designed to build awareness and equity for that brand.

Product sound (or in this case, “place” sound) is certainly the domain of audio branding

As audio branding strategists, we’re always attempting to think outside the (boom)box. Which is probably why we find the idea of applying principles of strategic audio branding to the destination branding model an interesting proposition. Continue reading

audio branding ROI : there’s no app for that…

A survey conducted in 2008 by Heartbeats International revealed that of the 70 managers of global brands participating, 97% thought that music could strengthen their brand. In the same survey, when asked if music were an important tool for building a consistent and unique brand, 68% of the respondents answered in the affirmative.

Only 4 out of 10
brands have actually
identified how their
brand sounds. Only
2 out of 10 have
any type of audio logo.

But even with an overwhelming consensus that sound (in this case, music) in a branding context is perceived to be extremely valuable, the same survey found that only 4 out of 10 brands have actually identified how their brand sounds. Only 2 out of 10 have any type of audio logo.

Quite a discrepancy between “beliefs” and “actions.” Continue reading

life’s for audio branding

In my previous blog post, I presented an example of what can happen when you fail to consider the sonic space your brand occupies.

Telekom connects the sonic dots with an integrated strategy that serves as a good case study of audio branding best practices.

So what about an example of audio branding “done right?”

Recently, Telekom (the German equivalent of T-mobile) launched a new campaign for the German market: “Million Voices (7 seconds).” Telekom connects the sonic dots with an integrated strategy that serves as a good case study of audio branding best practices: enhancing equity, fostering customer engagement, integrating a variety of sonic touchpoints, aligning with brand values and conveying authenticity.

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sorry. i can’t hear you over my sunchips bag.

SunChips has been in the news this week. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been because consumers have been raving about their taste.

The Frito Lay brand of multi-grain chips has gone to great lengths to foster a brand image that reflects a commitment to a “healthier you” and a “healthier planet.” They’re manufactured at a solar powered plant in Modesto, California. They’re made with less salt and tout zero grams of trans-fat. The SunChips website and packaging reflect a color palate of warm yellows, sky blues and earthy greens. And in a move to be even more eco-friendly, the chips were recently repacked in 100% compostable bags.

Obviously, a great deal of attention was given to details that are designed to reflect the brand values consistently across a number of consumer touchpoints. But at the moment, consumers don’t associate SunChips with anything that they see or taste.

They associate SunChips with what they hear.

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