Category Archives: audio branding : trends

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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two’s company. three’s a crowdsource : a look at audio branding through the crowdsourcing lens

Crowdsourcing has come along way since Jeff Howe coined the term in a 2006 Wired magazine article. It has grown from a problem solving technique to a bona fide business model, forming the foundation for a new breed of service providers who use the power of the internet to benefit from the creativity offered by a hive mind.

Crowdsourced audio assets may be part of an overall strategy. Brands should remember, though, that the goal isn’t to be part of the crowd – but to stand out from it.

The underlying assumption behind crowdsourcing is that by tapping into a virtually limitless pool of creativity, experience and diversity, brands can benefit from a wide variety of creative solutions often at a fraction of the traditional costs. Additionally,when run as an open competition, crowdsourcing offers an opportunity to create brand ambassadors and increase brand awareness by engaging consumers and fans in the act of directly shaping brand identity.
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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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