Companies spend billions developing the look and feel of their brand but just as important – however sometimes overlooked – is audio branding.
Music has the ability to create strong emotional reactions in people, so defining a brand’s audio personality is critical because one wrong note could be the difference between a customer who is happy and engaged with a brand, and one who switches off.
The rise of voice-connected devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home is only going to push the importance of audio branding up the agenda. But there are many things to consider when it comes to finding the right sound.
Research by agency PHMG shows there is a vast difference between the emotions and brand values different instruments and pieces of music evoke. The agency played 1,000 people a range of different audio clips to gather their emotional response to each piece of music and their views of the impact of music generally.
The majority of consumers (60%) said they believe music used in marketing is more memorable than visuals. Nearly half (45%) believe the music used by a brand helps them better understand its personality, while 47% suggest it helps them feel more connected to a brand.
Strings playing short, sharp notes in a major key (listen above) have a largely positive impact, for example, with 90% of people suggesting they associate them with feelings of happiness and excitement.
However, a slight change to the key can have a big impact. Strings played with a shift from major to minor keys (listen above) provokes a completely different reaction, leaving 81% feeling a sense of sadness or melancholy.
Acoustic guitar, meanwhile, generates a fairly positive emotional response in people, particularly when played in a major key, with 91% finding the clip of music above to be caring, calm and sophisticated.
“Our hearing is a more powerful emotional sense than our sight so there is a clear opportunity for businesses,” says Daniel Lafferty, director of music and voice at PHMG.
“This study underlines the emotional power of music and its potential for conjuring a clear picture of an organisation’s values and ethos in the mind of the listener.”