7 December 2020

Audio branding in 2020: the best bits

Uncategorized @ca
Expert comment
Despite the unpredictable nature of the last 12 months, one branding element, in particular, has emerged as a sure-fire way to capture the attention of an audience: audio.

Not only have we seen high-profile projects from globally recognised names like Netflix and CBS, but companies at of all sizes have put sound at the top of their agenda to foster stronger connections with consumers.


A sonic logo for the silver screen

Despite only lasting four seconds, Netflix’s sonic logo has become one of the most recognisable in the world – a ‘Ta-Dum’ that promises entertainment without limits, literally. But with a planned move into original cinematic releases, the streaming giant felt their sound could benefit from a Hollywood makeover – so they enlisted the help of Hollywood legend, Hans Zimmer.

In August, Netflix debuted the brand new 16-second production – a powerful, orchestral piece that rises with strings and percussion before settling into the familiar ‘Ta-Dum’ sound we’re all so accustomed to. The finished result became one of the most talked-about audio campaigns of the year – and showcases just how adaptable audio can be as a brand asset.


A captive audience

YouTube has historically been a predominantly visual platform, but this year, the brand noticed a rise in users listening to music while going about their daily lives. This growing audience is primed and ready to listen to advertisements – a trend YouTube is capitalising on with the introduction of audio ads in beta.

The audio soundtrack takes centre stage in delivering a brand’s message, alongside a still image or simple animation that’s almost been designed to stay unseen. And early reports show people are listening up, with Shutterfly – a tester of the campaign – reporting a 14% lift in ad recall and a 2% lift in favourability among its target audience.


We’ve seen how accessible audio has been this year, as people strive to take a break from the screen and consume content on the go, but we’ve also witnessed just how powerful audio can be in helping brands tell their story in an authentic voice.

National Public Radio (NPR) has amassed a loyal following of people searching for unbiased, fact-based journalism and programming – attracting 60 million more users per month than at the start of the year. NPR offers a platform for brands to tell stories of their own, with the spoken-word environment providing the perfect space for a company to speak conversationally and authentically, with a focus on the human aspects of technology.

A recent Chipotle campaign on NPR’s Soundscapes solution featured young farmers sharing the challenges they face as they carry on the tradition of their family business. The brand recognised how much more impactful and emotive these stories would be if they were delivered by real people, in their own words, right to the ears of the listener – and NPR provided the ideal vehicle for this. Not only was the campaign well-received by consumers (with a 25% click-through rate to the young farmers landing page), but it also allowed Chipotle to further their brand message of cultivating a better world.


Audio developments of our own

We pride ourselves on staying at the forefront of developments in the world of audio and technology – and 2020 proved to be a huge year in this area. This year, we uncovered how audio branding could be used to maximise the power of a cloud telephone system – and helped our clients around the world to create a more streamlined and engaging caller experience as a result.

Ramos Center, a highly-respected healthcare provider, was an early pioneer of this technology, with a cloud-based Ring Central system providing some of the greatest opportunities to perfect call handling processes. The PHMG team crafted engaging audio content to play at key touchpoints throughout the caller journey, replacing impersonal robotic greetings and putting callers instantly at ease. The finished result has greatly enhanced Ramos Center’s caller experience – allowing for increased support and efficiency throughout every interaction. With such a strong foundation to build upon, we look forward to helping many more brands use cloud technology to their advantage in 2021.

The past 12 months have proven that audio continues to be important to customers, making it an area companies should seriously consider investing in for the year ahead. With people looking for ways to spend more time away from the screen – while still consuming informative, engaging content – audio will only continue to grow as a key branding tool to appeal to customers.

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