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WARC, a company uncovering insight for global marketers since 1985, told AMEinfo that audio channel growth enables an increasing opportunity for creativity with music

Visa has created a sound logo as part of its brand assets to reinforce its presence at mobile points of sale Mastercard has topped the annual Best Audio Brands Ranking 2020, moving up from position 72 in 2019 Around 66% of consumers believe music used in marketing is more memorable than visuals

WARC, a company uncovering insight for global marketers since 1985, told AMEinfo that audio channel growth enables an increasing opportunity for creativity with music.

It said musical and sonic brand assets are an under-utilized opportunity in advertising.

WARC said research company IPSOS conducted a meta-analysis of over 2,000 (US) pieces of video creative and found that audio assets appeared in only 8% of the video ads, 3% using music, and 6% using sonic brand cues.

Payments company Visa has created a sound logo as part of its brand assets to reinforce its presence at mobile points of sale. And Mastercard was named the top-ranked brand in sonic branding agency amp’s 2020 Best Audio Brands Ranking.

WARC calculates that while 86% of brands have visual guidelines, only 17% have comparable audio ones and said that running ads with the same creative in a consumer’s bespoke music feed boosted performance by 49% versus traditional radio, 36% versus TV, and 29% versus mobile videos.

Research by subscription-based music streaming service pandora also found that music in ads could help evoke emotion and generate ‘long clicks’ or more time spent within the advertiser’s environment.

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Etihad Airways’ sonic identity video 

Etihad Airways has recently unveiled a new safety video, filmed on location at Louvre Abu Dhabi, to give passengers across the globe, a glimpse of what attractions the capital has to offer.

Terry Daly, executive director of guest experience brand and marketing, Etihad Airways said: “This new video goes beyond its main purpose of educating guests about essential safety information, it also reflects our brand and personality, while leveraging the very best of our beautiful home, Abu Dhabi.”

The video is set at Louvre Abu Dhabi, with Etihad’s very own cabin crew demonstrating safety features of the aircraft and other Etihad employees acting as guests.

Emirati voiceover artists are used and speak in English and Arabic. The accompanying music is part of Etihad’s new signature sound collection, which is used across the airline for a variety of touchpoints. The sonic branding is inspired by Abu Dhabi and is an eclectic mix of Emirati and international instrumentation and arrangements, played by musicians from the UAE and around the world.

Sonic branding winners 2020

Global sonic branding agency amp revealed that Mastercard has topped its annual Best Audio Brands Ranking 2020 (BAB 2020), moving up from position 72 in 2019 and dethroning last year’s winner McDonald’s to take the top spot.

Introduced in 2019, the Best Audio Brands Ranking is the first of its kind study, measuring how effective brands are in using sound.

The analysis details how brands are extending their audio presence beyond a single sonic asset, such as a sonic logo,  to adapt to the changing landscape of digital consumer touchpoints where audio enhances brand recognition, engagement, and findability. It also calculates audio brand efficiency – the estimated return on investment in sonic assets.

The Best Audio Brands Ranking 2020 reveals Shell being the only brand to retain its position in the top five. McDonald’s, Disney, Intel, and Coca-Cola have been superseded by Mastercard, Apple, Google, and Amazon in the top spots.

Both Mastercard and Shell have created and successfully deployed a holistic sonic identity, that is recognizable and adaptable across all digital and physical consumer touchpoints.

Apple, Google, and Amazon, on the other hand, have earned their spot at the top due to the strength of their product sounds, use of brand voice, and voice technologies.  

Why Sonic?

A sonic identity is essentially an audio logo, a soundbite no more than a few seconds long, that can either complement a visual logo, enhancing overall brand recognition, or work in isolation on audio-only media such as podcasts, streaming platforms, radio or even apps. 

Around 66% of consumers believe music used in marketing is more memorable than visuals. Recent research by DLMDD and YouGov uncovered that one in three adults under the age of 35 (33%) feels more favorable towards brands with a sonic identity than those without. 

Consumers’ affinity towards brands that utilize sound is no coincidence; it’s based on science. People react faster to audio than any other stimulus. In fact, it only takes 0.146 seconds for a human to react to sound. On top of this, music has the ability to evoke powerful emotional responses in listeners spanning from chills all the way through to thrills

 Focusing on audio is also an opportunity to have some fun as a brand and experiment creatively towards boosting consumer engagement. 

As technology evolves and humans become increasingly plugged into it, sound design is going to become a huge part of creating authentic media experiences. As this shift takes place it is vital that branding is viewed as a multi-sensory platform that appeals to consumers in a multitude of different ways. Brands that embrace this approach and invest in audio will find themselves center stage, with an audience that wants to listen.