The Swoosh tick. The apple. The two golden arches. Many of the world’s most famous brands don’t really need an introduction. Just mentioning the famous red and white logo is enough to get people feeling thirsty. Up to now, brands have almost exclusively driven their success on image alone – but as the next, technology-driven generation starts to influence consumer behaviour, it sounds like there is set to be much more to marketing than meets the eye.
The brands that meet the eye:
The Brand Visibility Report analyses millions of images each year to uncover the world’s most visible brands – and after sorting through a batch of 40-million photos uploaded on Twitter, it was unsurprising to see household names like Nike, Adidas and Spotify make the top 10 for 2020. What was fascinating, however, was how few of these images actually featured the brand’s name.
These results showcase just how powerful a single logo can be when it comes to establishing brand awareness, the huge role visual marketing currently plays in advertising, and the industries using this information to their advantage.
Of the top 50 most visible brands in 2020, 12 were based in the sports sector, and a further eight in the fashion retail industry – which was also primarily made up of sports brands. These particular trends are especially impressive in light of the current global situation; while live games have been cancelled and a significant source of this sector’s exposure has been stripped, sport brands continue to dominate the visual playing field.
In third was entertainment – an industry most of us have recently been able to set more time aside for. Xbox, Spotify and MTV all featured in the Brand Visibility Report, but the Parental Advisory logo often found on the front of our favourite albums took second place; a prime spot that speaks volumes about the significant role audio plays in our everyday lives – and looking forward, it seems as though that’s only set to grow.
Many advertisers are now developing their strategies to appeal to the coming-of-age Generation Alpha; the most technologically literate age group to date. While many of us have navigated the arrival of laptops, tablets and smart phones at different ages, Generation Alpha arrived into an already very tech-focused world. They’re being brought up surrounded by artificial intelligence, and they interact with smart voice technology the same way they would another human being.
Now Alexa, Siri and Google Home are becoming part of the furniture – and TV ratings are on the decline – we’re seeing a shift from the visual to audio, and companies are starting to think about how other senses can be better targeted to enhance the customer experience.
MasterCard led this change by implementing a more holistic brand strategy last year. They hired a team of skilled musicians to create what’s now known as The Master Card Melody; a sonic identity that plays alongside TV ads, on-hold, and whenever customers make a payment. While Generation Alpha won’t be participating in financial transactions anytime soon, this early investment will likely give them a head start and lead to greater brand recognition.
If MasterCard’s evolution is anything to go by, more and more businesses will be experimenting with how sound can heighten their impact – and in the future, perhaps we can also expect to see an audibility rundown alongside the annual visibility reports.
As audio branding continues to assert itself as a key part of a marketing strategy, PHMG is focused on making sure businesses don’t just create ads that engage multiple senses, but develop a unique sonic identity that helps them sound out the competition.