Media Village

At its best, sonic branding generates a reaction from listeners and will send customers to a store or website to take action. In addition, recognizable audio signatures help a brand stand out, emphasize a brand's identity and drive engagement, according to a new column in MediaVillage, titled “Brands Need Signature Sounds.”

In her column “Alli On Audio” as originally published on MediaVillage on May 29, author Alli Romano muses, “When I hear an ad with a familiar voice-over or memorable theme song, it triggers a memory of a product or place. When I hear the theme song for my local mall, I'm transported to the food court and my favorite stores. Every time I drive past an O'Reilly Auto Parts store, their catchy jingle plays on a loop in my head.” These “sonic associations,” she says, “are both intimate and powerful. In a crowded ad market, they are also critical to helping brands stay top of mind.”

As marketers direct more ad dollars to audio to capitalize on radio, podcasts and streaming audio, it is more important than ever that brands create a consistent audio identity, Romano writes. “The idea is that ads employ a unique sound across platforms, so the tone becomes familiar and consumers associate it with a brand.”

Sonic branding is a time-honored tactic in radio ads, she adds. For decades, advertisers have used a consistent music bed to kick off their ads or the same individual to voice spots. And as listening grows across any number of formats and devices, “audio deserves its creative due,” she suggests.

“To harness audio's potential, marketers need to prioritize audio creative and sonic logos. A familiar sound increases brand recall and engagement, which are critical to converting listeners into customers,” Romano writes. “Ads are often heard, but not seen, which makes a consistent sound across platforms even more important.”

She adds that Nielsen data shows that radio spots have 35% higher awareness for companion TV ads compared to those who only watched a TV ad; while ads with an audio logo produce higher purchase intent than spots without one, according to Veritonic and Westwood One. And music makes ads even more memorable, with those spots generating 150% higher purchase intent than spots without any music.