We’re at the cusp of a significant change in how we consume media and interact with technology. From the growth of podcasts, smart speakers and mobile phone users, audiences are spending less time typing and watching, and more time listening and speaking.
Accelerated by Covid-19, more consumers than ever are purchasing items online, from groceries to luxury items. The ubiquity of digital media and screenless interfaces – alongside the growing requirements of the instant-gratification consumer – means brands must implement an overarching strategy for their brand sound, and leverage auditory channels to maximise their customer experience.
A strategic application of audio cultivates an immersive experience for consumers.
A factor determining consumer purchases is trust. Although the average household has more than two smart speakers, and 60% of smart speaker owners have already purchased something with their device, there is still hesitance to utilise the new channel to buy items with a report by Microsoft revealing 41% of users are concerned about their privacy. Brands need to generate an emotional connection to instil confidence with the customer, and sonic branding is an increasingly popular (and effective) way of doing so.
A strategic application of audio cultivates an immersive experience for consumers, from the early days of overhead music in stores comforting shoppers from one aisle to the next, to the bleep of a card machine when you make a successful purchase. While the act of handing over cash in return for an item used to be a reassuring physical act, sound cues need to replace this in places with less certainty. The ‘ding’ of a banking app processing a transaction is part of a wider sonic strategy that tells a customer your brand is there, without actually being there.
Product sounds, jingles, sonic logos and a brand’s go-to song that make them instantly recognisable need to move further up the production line, in order to dedicate the time needed to identify every opportunity where your brand could be ‘heard’. The developments in voice-activated devices and hands-free functionality is unparallelled when it comes to convenient purchasing, but in order to maximise these functions, brands need to consider sonic branding just as important as visual recognisability if they want customers to be subconsciously connected to their products.