22 July 2021

Summer 2021: How are brands using audio right now?

Expert comment
The sun’s shining, the birds are singing… and as we slowly start to return to life as normal, the sounds of summer are beginning to come back into our lives with a bang.

And alongside the natural sounds that come with the season, there’s a newfound appreciation of our sensory surroundings.

The return of events has reinvigorated life as we know it, and between the recently completed Euros, the Olympics, music festivals and more, we’re on the cusp of an auditory renaissance. With it comes a few key sound-based players. So let’s take a look at how businesses can truly capture the sounds of summer.

 

Podcasts – Returning to work

Whether it was listening to the post-match chat the morning after a big game, tuning in to hear their favourite comedians tell life stories, or simply listening to intellectuals discuss the hot topics – there’s no denying that podcasts have been the undisputed champion of the last year. According to the latest Infinite Dial survey, 41% of American adults listen to a podcast at least once a month – up from 37% in 2020 – and one in eight people in the UK listen once a week (Ofcom).

That’s a lot of potential ears for your message – and brands like Trader Joe’s are already taking advantage to great effect. Another great example is the internal podcast Comms, Culture & Cocktails over at SocialChorus – offering employees updates on their own company with a humorous, personality-driven twist, and plenty of guests to keep things fresh and entertaining. When done properly, the internal podcast could work wonders for your company culture.

 

Smart speakers – This summer’s must-have

Smart speakers are really turning up the heat on consumer trends right now, seeing a massive uptake in adoption rate thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. Today, more than 38% of UK adults own a smart speaker, up from 30.7% in 2020 and indicating an adoption rate that’s more than tripled in that time. What this means for summer sounds is much more passive, relaxed listening during those long, hazy days – and if you can capitalise on the whopping 79% of time people spend consuming audio whilst engaged with other tasks, you’re onto a winner.

Take MasterCard for example, who’ve revamped their sonic identity with a chirpy, happy sonic logo that you’ll hear more and more often – ensuring every ice cream, paddling pool and sun hat purchase comes accompanied with the unmistakable sound of security.

 

Voice shopping – Drop, then shop

The big one. Over the course of this summer and the next, voice shopping is expected to go from a $2B industry to a $40B one across the US and UK. And as shopping attitudes continue to change – with fewer people wanting to go out to crowded shops – this is one you can’t afford to miss. The key here is taking advantage of audio ads, a medium Spotify for Brands reported were 24% more effective than visual ads in 2020.

With an effective advertising strategy that taps into bright new tech, consumer habits, and your customers’ need to have a summer they’ll truly never forget, you could make sure the sun never sets on your rising sales.

 

Experiential sound – Stepping into your message

Sound has the power to evoke all kinds of memories and emotions – but when you combine it with other senses like taste, smell and sight, you’re looking at a sensory marketing powerhouseEnter the Magnum Pleasure Sensorium.

Co-curated with food artist and anthropologist, Caroline Hobkinson, and sound experts Unusual Ingredients, the master ice-cream makers are helping customers escape the heat and discover their ‘Pleasure Profile’ – taking them on a 45-minute sensory adventure ranging sound, touch, smell and taste. The result is a personalized Magnum bar made by the customer, and a level of brand recognition you simply couldn’t achieve through traditional advertising methods. There’s also an online version of the experience, which is worth taking a look at as the experience has closed its doors after a sell-out weekend.

That word is what’s really important … recognition. How will you leverage the excitement of the season with the business nous and tech expertise you need to ensure your brand sticks in the memory? By ensuring you creating sounds, and sonic identity touchpoints, your audience simply can’t live without, you’re sure to rise above the rest and shine this summer.

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