Category Archives: audio branding : general discussions

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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sound knowledge: an audio branding reading list

When it comes to harnessing the power of sound, a working knowledge of the fundamentals of audio science and design is vital. An aptitude for composition/production certainly yields creative results, but it’s only one part of the audio branding equation. Research is necessary to balance out our instincts with demonstrable facts, helping us shape the creation of audio assets and manage their implementation as well.

Fortunately, there’s a wealth of information available. New studies are continually being published in academic journals and agency/brand white papers. Emerging technologies offer new audio touch points for brands to explore. Keeping up on the latest trends and best practices in our discipline is a full time job!

If you’re interested in the latest news, you might want to follow our iV audio branding daily and our audio branding scoop.it page where we’re constantly curating new content relevant to the industry.

Additionally, we thought it might be helpful to supply you with a “must read” list – a bibliography for the serious audio branding enthusiast. So we went to our book shelves and pulled what we thought were a few of the essential titles of the moment. We’ve listed them for you here, with easy amazon links (just select the title) and a short description. There’s a wide variety of thought represented here – everything from branding to neuromarketing to the role of silence in a noisy world.

We offer these with hopes that they’ll expand your knowledge – and with it allow for more informed discussions. If there’s a work that’s been influential in your approach to audio branding that we’ve not included in our list, feel free to leave a comment and let us know. We always enjoy adding to our library.

Happy reading!

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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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five measurable parameters for successful audio branding

One of the fundamental questions to consider when you’re standing at the intersection of audio and advertising is this: What criteria do I use to inform and guide my audio choices?

Traditionally, agencies and brands have considered audio the realm of “the creatives.” Voice over talent is auditioned, music tracks are selected, creative briefs for composers are written and editors begin editing in post production. As a result, choices are often driven by how well the audio supports the creative vision of a particular campaign, rather than how the audio is communicating the essence of a brand identity.

Audio that supports campaign creative and audio that communicates brand essence need not be mutually exclusive, but both are better served if decisions can be moved away from simply trusting our instincts, and towards developing a more objective set of criteria to guide our choices.  Continue reading

tooting our own audio branding horn…

Typically, we steer away from talking too much about the work iV is doing to change the conversation about audio branding. From the use of social media like this blog, twitter and facebook to more personal approaches like iV academy and speaking engagements, we do our best to share our passion and knowledge about audio branding with the rest of the world.

Recently, advertising information resource sourceEcreative turned their spotlight on iV. In a special feature on music and sound, Anthony Vagnoni does a wonderful job of capturing our story. So wonderful, in fact, that we wanted to share it with you.

Thanks, as always, for listening!

audio branding: a discipline

Recently, a graduate student in pursuit of her Ph.D. in Psychology of Music contacted me for an interview. As we spoke, I referred to the development of audio branding as a “discipline.” When we circled back around for more questions, Alison inquired about my choice of words.

We are understanding more and more the importance of “using our heads” – looking to science to help us move towards more predictable results from the sonic connections we seek to make between brands and brand users.

“What do you mean by ‘discipline’?” she asked.

I replied that, from my perspective, the development of audio branding over the last ten years resembles the evolution of Psychology. Originally the domain of philosophers, Psychology would eventually come into its own as an accepted “discipline” – a branch of instruction and learning with clearly defined systems, paradigms and best practices.

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audio branding : everybody’s doin’ it (part one)

Experiential marketing strategies operate from the premise that a brand is defined by the experiences associated with it. With all the experiential touchpoints available to engage consumers in today’s marketplace, managing a brand can involve an increasingly dizzying array of possibilities and pitfalls. Marketers realize more than ever the importance of making careful, intentional choices as they develop and manage their precious brand assets.

Whether we realize it or not, every sound that touches a brand has the potential to define and communicate that brand’s attributes.

From where I sit, one of those intentional choices should be a focus on how a brand sounds. Whether we realize it or not, every sound that touches a brand has the potential to define and communicate that brand’s attributes. We select a piece of music to provide the soundtrack to a brand commercial. We choose a voice to read a script. We create sound design that adds to the atmosphere around the brand. And in the end, every music bed, every song, every voiceover, every sound associated with an experience of the brand is, at some level, contributing to its audio branding.

And that brings me to the point of this post: when it comes to audio branding, everybody’s doing it.

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welcome to iV interactive!

This first post marks the beginning of our new blog initiative. We envision it as a place where Music City and marketing meet, where our friends and associates gather for some interesting conversations about audio branding, music, sound design, marketing and anything else we feel compelled to explore.

In the posts ahead, we’ll consider everything from trending topics in the field of audio branding to past research to how the same technology that has leveled the music business has also shifted marketing paradigms in the advertising industry.

We’ve also been traveling around the world, conducting a series of interviews with some of the most talented professionals in the field of marketing today. We’ll share their thoughts on music, advertising, audio branding and the future of marketing with you as another way of stimulating the conversation.

iV is built around the ideals of community, collaboration and communication. So pull up a chair, share your perspectives and let’s explore the conversation together.