30 April 2024

The Psychology of Sound: Understanding How Audio Influences Brand Perception

Research & analysis
From the familiar ring of a Teams call to the strategic use of soundscapes – dive into the neuroscience of sonic branding and how audio cues shape the way consumers perceive and remember you.

You start reading this article and a Teams call comes in. You know it’s Teams before you’ve even seen it, because a soft, synthesized melody greets your ears – capturing your attention, but not in an annoying way. You let it ring one more time because you’ve grown to like those rhythmic bloops.

It’s no industry secret that sound plays a pivotal role in our experience of a business and its brand – whether that’s in using a product or service, catching an advert, or phoning up and getting placed on-hold. But why is that? What’s happening in our brains when we hear these sonic cues, and more to the point, why should you care?

The Science Behind Sonic Branding

This is where we leave ‘branding’ as an abstract concept and move into concrete neuroscience – starting with your limbic system. It’s the part of your brain that registers sound. It’s also responsible for emotion and memory. And that connection is fundamental, even primal, to how we receive and process effective sonic branding.

It’s why certain sounds make your heart race, or your palms sweat, or put a smile on your face. We store those emotionally impactful cues in our head so our brain can react quickly and accordingly without having to ‘think’ about it. And we’ll react the same way next time.

Getting into the heads of your customers

Because sound is so closely linked to nostalgia and emotional connections, using it as a marketing tool is incredibly effective. In fact, compared to visual content, it’s far more likely to influence buying decisions and enhance the brand loyalty bond.

If they get to know your ‘voice’, they’ll subconsciously seek you out in a room full of others.

Using neural triggers to shape consumer perception:

  1. Speaking of Voice, using a consistent voiceover across your marketing campaigns is a sure-fire way to build brand recognition. In the UK, Dexter Fletcher has been the voice of McDonalds for over 10 years.
  2. Soundscapes. Spas are the classic example. You’re more likely to unwind to the backdrop of a zen-like rainforest than the traffic outside. Or here’s an interesting example from Naava – an indoor nature technology company from the Nordics, who wanted to recreate the sound of ‘fresh air’ in their branding.
  3. Music. Chart classic or custom made, when your customers hear that track they’ll remember you – and what it was like the last time they met your brand. Try not to sing the words “Did somebody say, Just Eat?” when ordering a takeaway!
  4. Sonic Logo. It only has to be a moment, but the right soundbite will go straight to the limbic system of your audience and say “Hey, us again”. Or ‘Tah-dum’, Netflix is starting.

To explore how you can use audio branding to get into the heads of your customers and form stronger emotional connections, use the link below.

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The Psychology of Sound: Understanding How Audio Influences Brand Perception

Research & analysis

The Psychology of Sound: Understanding How Audio Influences Brand Perception

From the familiar ring of a Teams call to the strategic use of soundscapes – dive into the neuroscience of sonic branding and how audio cues shape the way consumers perceive and remember you.