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The Power of Audio – What Makes Great Audio Branding

BY Jelli ON October 6, 2015 IN The Power of Audio

For marketers, audio advertising is uniquely effective. It reaches consumers at times and places that other media can’t. Studies have shown that audio moves us on a deep biological level, leading to greater memory encoding when compared to other mediums. To a marketer, this is a recipe for improved ROI on ad spend. To consumers, though, it goes beyond influencing decisions at the cash-register. The very best audio ads can become part of the fabric of life.

So what makes a great audio ad?

From a consumer’s perspective, smart humor and good music (of course) go a long way. Ads that are fun to listen to enrich and enliven. And consumers respond to that creativity, since the ad is providing value to them beyond product sales. Above all, it’s enjoyable. This award-winning ad for PopClik — which is both funny and catchy — is a great example of this principle at work.

Audio logos, a variation of this principle, maximally condense the result, yielding a branding message which is often only a handful of notes, phrases, or sounds. These logos are simple and short — just a second or two of clock-time — but to many, they are instantly recognizable. Intel’s four-note audio signature, the lion roar from MGM Studios, the NBC chimes are just a few examples. Technology companies ranging from Apple to Skype have learned the power of integrating branded sounds into the startup and UX of their devices and applications.

Then, of course, there’s the jingle, an extremely delicate balance of music and branding that, when it’s good, resonates virally. Marketers for Farmer’s Insurance, Oscar Meyer, Subway, and other companies have written music that have permeated the zeitgeist like hit pop songs, becoming a part of our cultural landscape. The secret? Linda Kaplan Thaler, who is responsible for the iconic Toys ‘R’ Us jingle “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up…,” observed: “A jingle is not successful if you listen to it once and like it. You have to listen to it and want to sing it. Essentially you become the advertiser for the brand.”

For marketers, this can lead to powerful changes. Because not only does it convince them to invest in audio advertising — it also inspires them to invest in their own creativity.

Stephen Dougherty