The world of voice first and only voice is upon us. Intelligent voice assistants are now an integral part of our daily life. Interactions with smart speakers increasingly involve voice advertisements for an immersive conversation experience.
People are busy. They are constantly moving from place to place. Wireless and Bluetooth devices have enabled “active listening” that seamlessly continues their sound experiences wherever they go. Using the power of smart technology, they can interrupt listening in one place to continue the experience in another, all with minimal disruption.
We have devices to tell us how many steps we have taken in a day. We can change or turn off the sounds of our app notifications on our phone to stay as connected or disconnected as we want. Sound allows us to listen passively, retain information and go about our business. All sound requires of a listener is to listen. And unless you take a action cover their ears or turn off the sound source; you will be.
That being said, not all sounds are good sounds. In fact, there is a lot of noise there. It is not because there is an opportunity to insert sound into a brand that it should be done. There are confusing or out of context sounds and music, unbranded sounds and music, offensive sounds and music, and the list goes on.
So with all this “noise”, why bother? How can you justify taking the risk of making the wrong sound or creating the “wrong sound”?
Sound comes from vibrations that come from movement. As long as there is movement, there is sound. That being said, your brand is probably already making noise. So what does your brand look like?
Sonic branding is how you turn noise and / or chaos into strategic branding sound. The keyword here is ring. Sonic branding creates a unique sound for a brand or business that can then be incorporated into all of the brands’ audio touchpoints in one way or another. By not limiting the sonic mark to only music or only voiceover, you open yourself to immense creative possibilities. Realizing that sound is everywhere is like handing all the colors of the rainbow to your marketing team and saying ‘create something’. The freedom and the possibilities are limitless.
Sound marketing and sound branding are organized and tailor-made. It’s a premeditated thought on the part of the brand. It is a sound that is made on purpose. Any brand element should be seen as an extension of the brand’s personality and therefore, is developed specifically so that it can fit into all of the different elements of your audio touchpoints.
Have you ever used a song in an explainer video or in a product ad? Does someone “speak” for your brand at conferences or presentations? Do you have any sounds on your apps or websites? Who answers your phones? What type of music on hold is playing for your customers? What songs are your customers listening to (yes, I think that’s relevant)?
All of the above is carefully considered when creating the sound. It’s not just for (fill in the blank here). Good audio branding should be able to be manipulated across all kinds of branded audio touchpoints, including conversational AI and voice assistants.
Take Mastercard for example. With the help of Amp Sound Branding, Raja Rajamannar and his marketing team at Mastercard have spent a long time (18 months) developing and creating the “sound of Mastercard”. When you strip it down to its roots, you find a pretty simplistic mnemonic. But with this simplicity, Mastercard was able to modify and manipulate it to fit the use case when it became necessary. What you hear in its point of sale (POS) sound is different from what you hear in TV campaigns. However, there is one essence that remains the same.
By taking the time to understand and dissect their sound, Mastercard is now able to transform and rebuild the Sonic brand over time. This saves time and money on the backend. It also reinforces brand value through repetition and consistency, thereby creating brand loyalty and recognition. This ultimately turns into a healthy return on investment.
As sense creatures, we want connection. We want to be validated and understood. We want to align ourselves with others who are feeling what we are feeling. Sound engenders authenticity, sincerity and loyalty. It humanizes inanimate things, like brands or companies, and gives it personality. And with personality comes relativity – something everyone is looking for these days.
Jeanne Isham, is a composer, speaker, author and opinion leader in branding and sound strategy. His career in music and marketing has been a continuous journey of over 20 years and his research and authority spans many platforms and geographic locations. Founded in 2009, his company, Dreamer Productions, creates a sound brand image and advises on a sound branding strategy and message. Dreamr Productions merged with Stage Ham in 2017 to create Stage Ham Entertainment, LLC. Jeanna is co-founder, audio manager and producer.
Categories: Conversational intelligence, Intelligent assistants, Articles