Guest post by Mikko Matikka.
Audio branding is more important than you think
From the beginning of time, our sense of hearing has been essential to us humans. In fact, it is tied closely to our evolution. During our species’ early days, it was an evolutionary advantage to pay attention to sounds as indications of danger.
Today, sounds and music have become tools for enhancing our quality of life and reflecting on our inner feelings. We all know how a beautiful song can bring us to tears, or an energetic pop beat can inject an energy boost into our daily routines. Music has been and will continue to be a gateway to our moods and emotions.
Brands have a similar relationship with the abstract. The most legendary brands have managed to appeal to people by mastering intangible qualities like product efficiency, ease of use, CSR, company culture—the brand persona.
Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, once said:
“If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.”
Can you hear the difference? Yes, you can!
So, music and branding seem to have something in common. In fact, the interaction of audio and brand identity can open a world of opportunities for companies: A recent study revealed, that 75% of 18 to 24-year-olds and 62% of people under 45 say music helps them feel more connected to a brand. Audio, when carefully modeled to match a marketing strategy, can significantly impact visuals as well.
Ask Professor Charles Spence and his team from Oxford University. They will tell you that congruent sound can enhance the power of visual communication by over 1,100%. Leveraging audible assets into such strong customer interest doesn’t happen simply by selecting songs from stock music libraries on-the-go. It requires a consistent and analytical approach to the use of music and voice, which should be deep-seated into the marketing strategy.
This is the raison d’être for us at Audiodraft, a Helsinki-based global audio branding service.
Getting the sound right for brands
The logic behind our value creation stems from the realities of modern day working life. In today’s fast-paced, digitalized business world, the task lists of brand managers are subject to constant change and expansion. In order to cultivate brand growth, these professionals have to make sure their content is on point and present in a growing number of multimedia touchpoints.
“Not only do brands need to stand out in the crowded domain of videos and graphics, but they will also have to stay consistent in emerging audio-first platforms like podcasts and smart speakers,”
says Teemu Yli-Hollo, my boss and the CEO of Audiodraft.
“At the same time, making the right decisions for the brand is difficult with something as subjective as music.”
We’ve developed an online platform to ease brand people’s headache over sound by allowing them to analyze, create, and manage their audio brands in a centralized place. Our team starts the process by creating an overview of their client’s music usage, tracking various data points like genre, instrumentation, mood, and spoken word from the clients’ and their main competitors’
online media content.
The results provide hard data about our client’s use of music and voice in the market, helping them to choose music and voice content, which are unique and true to their brand identities. Furthermore, the data is used for creating audio branding guidelines for the long run.
“We’re not only looking into what is already there, but more importantly what is not there yet, and what we could bring to our clients’ tables,”
Creativity with market insight
Audiodraft is a unique company to work at—it’s rare that you get to work with things you care about passionately. In our ranks, we have a group of talented musicians, producers, developers, salespeople, and marketers from various nationalities spanning from native Finnish to Finnish-Swedish, French, Irish, and Hungarian. We share a mutual interest in music, tech, and marketing, and our individual skill sets seem to complement each other perfectly. Most importantly, they’re people I’m happy to call my friends.
In addition to our in-house team, the Audiodraft platform hosts over 20,000 professional musicians, voice actors, and audio experts from around the globe. Each audio branding case is matched with the best available talent, ensuring a perfect fit of creative skill and local market validation.
This combination of analytics, data, market insights, and the high level of creativity and musical skills on the platform often yields very interesting prospects for collaboration.
Award-winning Case: Kyrö Distillery Company
This was the case with our partnership with another Finnish business player, Kyrö Distillery Company. The teams worked closely to design a tasting experience at Slush Music 2017 to showcase the power of audio on our taste buds. Sadly, I wasn’t yet in the team around that time, but I was given the chance to try out the experiment later on at my job interview. The test experience opened my eyes and ears to the business potential of sound (and to the realization that people apparently drink liquor in interviews these days).
The results are a testament to multisensory brand experiences the influence of sound in our enjoyment of products. Eventually, the project triumphed at the 2018 International Sound Awards.
Right now, there seems to be a growing demand for such robust audio expertise in the world of marketing and branding. The latest trend reports from the biggest names in media and advertising, such as JWT Intelligence, Deloitte Insights, and IFPI, are forecasting sound to become a momentous medium for marketers.
As Ogilvy Consulting stated in their 2019 Trend analysis:
“For the first time, marketers will have no choice but to consider the audio characteristics of their brands.”
According to Yli-Hollo, this vista is in perfect harmony with Audiodraft’s approach.
“The first thing we like to ask our clients is: What do you sound like?”
Guest post by Mikko Matikka. Mikko Matikka is a marketing and content manager at Audiodraft, a global audio branding service, where he writes about the world of audio branding and how every brand generates a sound. He is a content producer by day and a drummer by night.