HubSpot says video is the primary form of media used in content marketing. This is aligned with statistics from Cisco saying mobile video consumption has increased 17 times since 2012 and HubSpot’s data showing 54% of consumers want more video content from the brands or businesses they support.
Yes, video content is essential, and a lot has already been said about the importance of video content in marketing. However, the contribution of sound, audio or music production to marketing in general and video marketing, in particular, is often overlooked.
If you disagree, try watching a movie or commercial on mute. Then you will realise how less engaging or stirring visual media is when unaccompanied by a musical score or when it’s devoid of sound effects. Indeed, sounds profoundly influence how and what you feel about a film or a commercial on screen.
Below are a few of the core ways brands and businesses use sound in marketing.
- Sonic Branding
You know about logos. The swoosh means Nike, the golden arches signify McDonald’s, the half-eaten apple symbolises Apple, the interlocked back-to-back Cs denote Chanel, and the 3-pointed star bounded by a silver circle is Mercedes-Benz.
Businesses, however, should not limit themselves to visual branding. Why settle for being remembered only when people see your logo when people can also recall your brand when they hear a particular bit of audio?
This is the goal of sonic branding or audio branding, the process of coming up with a sound logo, a particular sound signature, that people would automatically associate with a brand.
Coca-Cola, particularly their “taste the feeling” audio, is one of the world’s most notable sonic branding examples. Coca-Cola was so successful you can’t help but think of it when you hear the series of sounds that tells you how this brand of soft drink moves you from a feeling of thirst to pleasurable satisfaction:
- The sound of the bottle cap coming off
- Another version of the sound of a bottle being opened
- The tinkle of the bottle cap falling and hitting something
- The clink of ice cubes
- The sound of pouring liquid
- The lingering fizz
- The “ahh” at the end
The Netflix audio logo is another sound you can’t mistake for something else. When you hear that Ta-Dum, you know you’re watching a Netflix movie or series.
Takeaway: If you can, create an audio logo for your brand. Pair it up with a visual (say, your logo, like Netflix does) to cement your identity in the minds of your target market. Or, like Coca-Cola, use it to tell a particularly memorable narrative.
Like your logo, there’s a process to sonic branding. For one, you must have a brand communication strategy to create a compelling audio logo.
Original Music Composition
Music has always been part of marketing, particularly in advertising.
There was a time when jingles, called earworms, were ubiquitous. Almost all brands had musical jingles that people could sing at the drop of a hat. Do you still recall the one that said the best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup?
Well, the jingles era is long past. In a survey of 1,279 30-second national ads in 1998, the American Association of Advertising Agencies counted 153 jingles. However, in 2011, their survey revealed only eight out of 306 commercials used jingles. That’s a decline from 12% in 1998 to 3% in 2011.
However, the death of musical jingles does not mean the end of music in advertising.
According to a Nielsen survey, 75% of Americans prefer music as their top form of entertainment. As such, marketers have started using popular songs in their adverts or collaborating with mainstream artists to create original compositions.
One example is the Playful 4 Life, an original song performed by rapper Wiz Khalifa as part of Oreo’s Stay Playful campaign. By the way, at the end of every video in this campaign, you will hear Oreo’s distinct audio logo, part of its sonic branding.
One other example of the successful collaboration between a musical artist and a brand is Expensify and 2 Chainz. The song “Expensify This” is incredibly catchy, the type one would download and listen to on Spotify. Its music video is equally captivating.
Takeaway: People like music. Consider creating an original composition for your brand to use with your video content or ads.
Getting a popular artist to perform your music can be a good strategy. However, be careful about finding an artist that reflects your brand and resonates with your target market. For your music to be persuasive, moreover, it must not only be engaging but also feel authentic.
Is radio still relevant? Although digital mobile radio may have replaced conventional analogue standards, radio broadcasting remains. According to Research and Markets, the global digital mobile radio market will expand to USD 7.2 billion by 2027, a 10% compound annual growth rate from 2021 to 2027.
Radio still has extensive reach. You can rely on it to be available in the farthest places, even where there might be no internet connectivity.
Indeed, radio advertising remains one of the most cost-efficient and cost-effective means of advertising for brands.
Then there’s podcasting. According to BCast FM, podcast listeners have increased by 29.5% from 2018 to 2021. Like radio programs, they provide only-audio content that people can download and listen to on-demand on their mobile phones. Thus, ads made for radio work perfectly as podcast ads, too.
Nowhere is the value of sounds to brands more apparent than radio broadcasting and podcasting. In a radio or podcast ad, your audience has no visual references, so you must convey your message using only sounds.
Therefore, the quality of radio production is crucial to creating impactful radio ads.
Takeaway: You can reach your audience through radio and podcast ads. Use high-quality audio ads that bring your story alive and take listeners on an engrossing journey.
Market With Sounds
Although often overlooked, audio is an essential component of marketing. Use it by creating an audio logo, an original music composition for a campaign, and audio-only ads for radio programs and podcasts.