12 March 2021

Creativity abounds in audio: Why your business needs sonic branding

Expert comment
There are so many reasons for a business to develop an audio brand...

Its ability to cut through the clutter of the visual world… its accessibility in reaching us while we’re busy with so many other things… and the neurological links that mean sound is connected to so many of our formative experiences and memories.

But on top of all of this, it’s the inherent creativity in all elements of audio.

Long before the arrival of the moving image, music and the spoken word were thriving as vital mediums of creative expression. And today, this vitality can be cleverly harnessed by businesses who want to show their true identity and abilities to the world.


Look and listen

The best way to see the creative power of audio is by exploring a brand’s visual and audio adverts side by side, and for this, we look to Budweiser. A prolific advertiser, they promote across print, outdoor, video and digital, but one visual piece that stands out is 2019’s ‘Beer Against Climate Change.’ Showcasing the company’s commitment to using renewable energy, the image depicts bubble patterns within the brew echoing the shape of weather features.


At the same time, we take a listen to their recent radio advert, introducing us to the ‘ice-cold orchestra’. This 30-second slot showcases the brand’s coldest beverage using the instantly recognisable sound of shivering – blending this into a music track to create their orchestral piece.


On first glance, the print ad is very powerful – a clear, visually striking image that aligns the beer with the natural world, accompanied by a clear statement of commitment. While this works very effectively, one single idea and premise is conveyed, and it relies on the viewer to study and process to get the full impact. Yet in the radio ad, we have several elements that all reflect the brand in different, creative ways. Firstly, the sound of the shivering itself is not only immediately recognisable, it evokes an almost physical reaction in the listener – instantly making them feel as if the cold is creeping in. This effect contrasts dramatically with the voiceover’s line at the beginning which says ‘the sound of summer’ – a time associated with warmth, inviting intrigue by so drastically opposing the sound so associated with cold. The voice that speaks these words is rich, bold, and all-American, effectively representing the Budweiser identity. And all this is before you get to the real creative hook of the advert – the shivering mixed with background choral tones to showcase the idea of the ‘ice-cold orchestra.’ Voice artist, message, sound effect and music all bring an element of ingenuity to the table, so the overall impact and concept of the ad is elevated.


Creativity, to the power of three

As we’ve just identified, audio adverts have such impact because each distinct part brings its own levels of creativity – adding up to a multi-level, multi-connectional piece. While sound effects or production techniques are important, the three core elements are copy, music and voice. Starting with the words, the ideas flow here not just in what you say, but how you say it – with scripts telling the real story of a business, in a written tone entirely reflective of their personality. Voice brings the words right off the page, the artist’s delivery injecting life and vitality, while acting as the human representative of the brand identity. And finally, the music captures the heart and soul of a company in perhaps the most creative way of all – through melodies that stir emotion, conjure memories, and cement themselves firmly in the brain. What’s also remarkable about all these elements, is that they invite people to create their own picture in their mind, rather than merely showing them something. When given the chance to apply their own interpretation, listeners form a much stronger connection – which in a promotional setting, results in a much stronger attachment to the brand.


Inclusivity in audio

While we may have explored a radio ad from Budweiser, this doesn’t mean creativity in sound is confined to brands of this huge stature, or businesses who advertise over the airwaves. The caller experience is the perfect opportunity to introduce custom, creative audio productions, targeting consumers with a proven interest in the business, at a prime time for engagement. What’s more, it’s a medium that’s open and available to practically every company.

At PHMG, we work with thousands of clients in every sector of the global market – showing every single one how they can assert their identity through expert copywriting, voice artistry and composition. From manufacturing to automotive, real estate to retail, every industry has the capacity for real auditory creativity – and the chance to inspire their customers with the right sonic elements. Outside the caller experience, we’re also seeing more platforms for audio advertising through the continued popularity of streaming and podcasts, so it’s a medium that’s really open to every business.

The value of creative audio branding cannot be underestimated. In combining elements, offering opportunities for all businesses, and inviting listeners to build their own pictures, emotions, and connections, it becomes a multifaceted, inclusive medium that demands to be part of every marketing strategy.


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