Want To Break Through The Noise? Songsmth Your Brand

As the adoption of smart speakers like Amazon's Alexa continues to grow, brands are being forced into a 'voice first' era, making it a perfect time for brands to develop their sonic identities

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Massive advances in voice-enabled technologies are fueling dramatic changes in the way people interact in the digital world. As the adoption of smart speakers like Amazon's Alexa continues to grow, brands are being forced into a "voice-first" era, making it a perfect time for brands to develop their sonic identities and their larger sonic branding strategies. So, what is sonic branding?

Sonic branding is the strategic use of music and sound to help reinforce brand recognition to enhance the consumer experience. Consider the idea that every customer no matter what will have a multi-sensory experience when they buy your product or service. Many top brands have recognized this shifting environment, and have been early adopters to sonic branding. From Intel's iconic "bong" sound to McDonald's "ba da ba ba ba, I'm lovin' it" jingle, sonic branding is becoming an ever more critical aspect to the customer identification experience. If a company strategically layers their sonic tag alongside advertisements or content that match their brand's positioning, eventually that audio tag by itself will conjure up the intended feelings associated with that brand. This intense focus around sonic branding can elevate brands to new heights, and help them engage in a world that is moving more towards voice assistants and sonic touchpoints. To develop the groundwork of a sonic identity, brands should consider investing in original music and developing fluid playlisting strategies to tap into the smart speaker and sonic first market.

Invest in Original Music That Matches Your Brand's Ethos

Great sonic branding identities immediately tell an audience who you are and what you stand for. It's one of the most powerful ways to attract an audience and invite them along as your brand evolves. This strategy can be so powerful, that studies have shown that brands that use music are 96 per cent more likely to be remembered by the consumer, versus brands that use "unfit" music or no music at all. That is why in today's competitive market, creative use of original music to connect with a consumer needs to be a top of mind touchpoint for every brand's product or service. One recent example of innovative sonic branding was with Formula 1 who partnered with electronic duo The Chemical Brothers to develop their new sonic logo by speeding up their track "We've Got to Try" off of their upcoming album, No Geography. The song was remixed and sped up to 15,000 beats per minute—to match a Formula 1 car's engine speed of 15,000 revolutions per minute. The new sonic brand was also accompanied by a brand-inspired video that tells the story of Girl, a dog who trains diligently to pilot an F1 race car—and then a rocket ship. These multilayered content programs aren't just about garnering short-term press, but are long-term strategies for consumers to engage with a brand's content in a totally new way. Strategies like this allow a brand to reach new publics, increasing the possibility of a new fan or product adoption.

Focus On A Playlisting Strategy That Tells A Brand's Story

In 2018, there were over 900 billion streams across all the major streaming platforms for music, according to Nielsen soundscan. This is almost a 35 per cent growth in consumption globally, as per a recent PwC report. With those facts in mind, brands can tap into this growth by being a curator of culture through playlist development.

Playlists are also being heavily used in the more general consumer markets. One brand that has taken this to heart is Coca-Cola, which has not only one playlist but over 25 active playlists on its profile. Their commitment to playlists garnered their page over a million-plus followers by tapping into "moments" that drive the Coca-Cola brand. Brands like this understand that creative playlisting can create a powerful touchpoint that increases brand consideration and purchase conversions. It also allows brands to deepen a connection during the micro-moments that turn customers from casual users to brand ambassadors.

Developing these strategies for the long-term can be a powerful first step to building a brand's sonic identity. The more authentic and unique a brand's sonic strategy becomes, the more it can participate and penetrate the global smart speaker market. Commitment to sound, music, and sonic sounds shouldn't be an afterthought. Today, brands need to make a long-term plan that builds sonics into the larger marketing mix.