How Can Audio Branding Help Your Podcast or Company?
According to Harvard Business Review , Audio Branding is “the strategic use of sound … in positively differentiating a product or service, enhancing recall, creating preference, building trust, and even increasing sales.” So ultimately, think of it as a brand or podcast’s emotional short hand – the quickest way to your listener’s heart. How do you want them to feel when they hear you? And how does it help your podcast or company to reach your audience FASTER and on a deeper level? If you think about this, it’s pretty important – and here’s why:
This part is pretty self-explanatory. Having professional audio shows that you’re a professional. It makes it clear that you invest in your endeavor and take it seriously. When it comes to podcasts, I do understand that there are productions that prefer not to be “produced”. They can be a true expression of your own authentic self. And as such, sometimes, it’s just fine for you to talk in front of a microphone and leave it at that. But if your podcast is a reflection of your brand? Or your company? It needs some professional panache.
It’s hard to ignore the musical trill that Intel uses at the end of every tech commercial you’ve experienced in the last many years (even on the radio where there are no visuals!). The consistent use of that sound along with the promise of quality in the visuals, has made the two ideas forever intertwined in our minds. You don’t need to see that promise anymore. All you need to do is hear it. Mazda uses the playful whisper of a child saying “zoom zoom” to convey both a sense of power and a sense of wonder. Not a bad image for a car! And I know you’ve heard and can easily recall the three notes played when NBC comes on the television. What kind of emotion does that create in you? (It probably depends on the shows they air and how much you love them.) Anticipation? Nostalgia? Something else?
This kind of powerful memory response triggered by a sound can also work with something as simple as only one tone—like the Taco Bell sonic logo (or what used to be called an “earcon” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earcon). My blog about Advertising At Cannes talks about this in more detail. What happens when an advertising campaign replaces the distinctive sound of Big Ben in London with the Taco Bell bell? You definitely get a media explosion, that’s what!
Sound can very closely be associated with a company and their brand, but only if it’s consistent. And persistent. If the audio of a brand changes too often, it can become jarring or confusing to those you’re trying to reach. Changing a company’s sound capriciously can actually damage a brand.
Also, keep in mind that you might get tired of your audio branding. Believe it or not, your boredom isn’t a good reason to change it. Keep it until your accountant says it’s no longer working.
Are sales dropping? Are clients no longer contacting you? Maybe then it’s time to re-examine your brand’s image—both its visuals and the way it sounds. And keep in mind that if those two things don’t match one another, your clients and customers will turn away without being aware of exactly why. It’s unconscious. Make sure your audio is consistent with the “tone of voice” of your brand image. Sight and sound should work together. When it does? It’s magic.
Audio is such an effective advertising and marketing tool for many reasons. Here are just a few.
• Sound touches us immediately. It goes right to our hearts. People buy based on emotions and then justify it with logic, so touching your listeners’ emotions makes it much more likely they’ll remember you. Be intentional with how you want them to feel when they see and hear your brand.
• The world is full of visual distraction, especially now. (I don’t know about you, but I’m constantly overloaded with branding images and advertising every time I go online! It’s tiring!) Sound cuts through the noise. It reaches us on a deeply personal level. If you want to be noticed, you need to be heard.
• Music is a universal language. The instruments and tonal structure may change, but essentially, you can communicate emotion to a global audience without needing to know the language they speak. That means that if you invest in an effective audio brand, you can reach your intended audience on an emotional level, FAST—anywhere they might be listening. It doesn’t matter what your native language is if people can relate to the sound.
I totally understand that sometimes it’s hard to know where to start with this stuff. But figuring out an audio brand to match your visual brand, isn’t as difficult as you think it is. I’ve created a worksheet that will give you a hand with this and you can download it at https://voiceoversandvocals.com/resources/ , if you’re interested.
And I hope you stay safe and healthy! Take care of yourself, ok?