Brand identity - amplified

Brand identity: Amplified

Mar 10, 2020
Advertising was born as a purely visual medium – and to this day, many consider it as a practice devoted to the eye. While colors, logos and images are all important to a brand identity, they are somewhat one dimensional. Audio branding on the other hand, delivers on three distinct levels to triple marketing power. Individually, music, voice and copy convey key elements of a business’ personality. And altogether, they leave a lasting impression that stays in the memory for far longer than a mere image.

Copy: conveying your message
The first consideration with copy is to get the information across – whether this be more practical details about new products, services or consumer resources, or an overarching brand mission or message. But going beyond the informational transaction, it’s the style and tone of this copy that really reveals what a business is all about. Language choices mark you out as a brand that’s traditional or forward-thinking… a trusted friend or a professional advisor… a quirky challenger or an established stalwart… or anything in-between. We can see this strengthening of identity through copywriting in one of Nike’s recent features – ‘Mamba Forever’, the brand’s touching tribute to late basketball star Kobe Bryant. In the ad, the word ‘forever’ stays on the blank black screen the whole time, while other words encompassing aspects of the star’s life and work fade in and out – all accompanied by audio of media coverage spanning his career. Hugely simple yet incredibly effective, this words-first feature uses language patterning to honor the star with the respect he deserves – and reinforces the brand’s simple, direct style as seen in their signature slogan ‘Just Do It’. And while these words were meant to be seen onscreen, writing for audio is received by the ear alone – so brevity, impact and focus are of utmost importance to make sure the message is received and understood. The key to writing effectively in this unique medium is to balance creativity with conciseness – alongside the nuances of the individual company’s tone – ensuring message, identity and understanding are all delivered effectively.

Voice: a human identity
Another important aspect of writing for audio is that the words don’t exist on the page. They’re brought to life through the unique talent of a voice artist, and the selection of this speaker is key in showcasing brand identity. This individual needs vocal qualities that reflect the personality of their business – with maturity, accent, tone, and delivery style all influencing the perception of the speaker, and therefore the business. Leading-name brands also take celebrity as a factor in this decision-making process to draw on notoriety as well as vocal quality – as seen in the current campaign from PepsiCo’s Pure Leaf Tea. Comedy actress Amy Poehler takes center stage, reading a reworked version of classic fairy tale ‘The Princess and the Pea’ as part of a campaign encouraging people to say ‘no’ to trivial things. Her quirky, dry delivery perfectly matched the twisted fairy tale content and the female-focused brand as a whole, with her voice as much as her persona working to reinforce this identity. And while not every company has access to a celebrity speaker, a professional voice artist with brand-congruent qualities has the ability to add real humanity and relatable personality to every business.

Music: memorability and emotion
The final element of an effective audio brand is music – which is arguably the most powerful of all. Businesses that use brand-congruent music as part of their marketing are 96% more likely to be recalled (Leicester University), while more than half of consumers said that they felt more connected to brands who use music (PHMG and TNS Global) – illustrating marketing enhancement in the two key areas of memorability and loyalty. There are two avenues to explore when selecting music for a brand: an existing track, or an exclusive composition. We can hear examples of both in current campaigns – Burger King featured ‘What a Difference A Day Makes’ by Aretha Franklin as the backdrop to a molding burger (promoting the fact that they use no artificial preservatives in their food); while the UK’s Department for Transport created an original song especially for their ad encouraging people to be considerate on public transport. This worked perfectly for the friendly, offbeat style of this ad – and also illustrates a more effective approach to musical branding. Established tracks always carry the risk of carrying negative preconceptions in the minds of the audience, which are easily transferred to the brand. An exclusive piece of music is written to perfectly capture the identity of a business – becoming increasingly synonymous with the brand with every play. In time, the track comes to act as a sonic trigger of a company’s first-class product and service – cultivating only positive associations of a business a consumer can trust.

United in sound:
In combining these distinct elements of copy, voice and music, an audio branding production works on a three-dimensional level to amplify business identity. At PHMG, we entrust each of these elements to the industry’s finest talent: ingenious copywriters, voice artists of stage and screen, and composers who’ve worked with the likes of Ed Sheeran, the 1975 and Beyonce. Not only this, we bring the three together in perfect harmony through precision production and expert consultancy – tripling the power of sound for 36,000 clients across the globe.