26 January 2022

How to incorporate audio into your marketing plan for 2022

Guides & explainers
It’s planning season, and we’re having fruitful conversations with our clients about how we can support their business growth in 2022.

As the experts in all things audio, we know where and how to use audio to benefit your business.

Whether yours is a big business with a seven-figure marketing budget or something much smaller, we’ve put together this guide to get you thinking about where and how to integrate audio into your marketing this year. It’s a five-step process. Ready?

 

Step 1 – Decide what you want to achieve

Depending on your business’s size and maturity, your marketing goals can vary wildly: from hard-and-fast targets (like an increase in enquiries) to more subtle changes in consumer behaviour, or increased positive sentiment about your business.

And it’s not just new business that can benefit from audio branding. You can also communicate:

  • Promotions/offers – Cross-promote additional services and encourage additional spend with bundle deals.
  • Service levels – Let people know if you’re varying your opening hours because of public holidays or staffing availability, and set expectations about things like delivery timescales.
  • Job opportunities – Hiring? You never know who’s listening. Take every chance to announce your opening and (crucially) why someone should join your business.
  • Changes and developments in your industry – Is technology or legislation affecting how your business operates, or the service your customer receives? Make sure they know how they’ll be affected.
  • Sustainability and social responsibility – Consumers are ever-more socially conscious, so if you’re taking steps to become more sustainable, reduce your carbon footprint, or support good causes, shout about it!.
  • Brand values – Consumers are more likely to do business with you if they believe your values align with theirs. You might not announce your business’s values directly, but instead hint at them through the way you conduct yourself.

 

Step 2 – Plan when you need to deliver those messages

Look at your calendar and begin plotting in activities that you’ve got planned for the year, including new product releases and the dates that any new legislation takes effect.

Remember to include:

  • Company events – Announce dates, encourage attendance, and communicate important information like COVID protocols.
  • Public holidays – Ask yourself what you need to communicate about these: Are you closing earlier? Do you have special offers or services to promote? Get them written down!
  • World events – Tap into the public consciousness by thinking about how your brand can align to things like sporting events, awards, and landmark TV and film releases. Even the changing of the seasons might trigger some kind of marketing activity for you.

 

Step 3 – Think about where audio integrates with your marketing channels

There are more opportunities to introduce branded audio to your marketing than you might realise.

  • Telephone system – You can use the time that people are queueing, holding or transferring to communicate important news and information.
  • Public address systems – You can use the speaker system in your locations to set the mood, zone specific areas, make important announcements and more.
  • Ambient media – By which we mean those places where sound adds an extra element to something else – a very simple example is the confirmatory ‘beep’ that some card machines emit when you make a contactless payment.
  • Broadcast media – Audio, and music in particular, is proven to help with memory – and brand recall is mission-critical for any broadcast campaign. If you’re planning on advertising on radio, TV or on-demand services, the soundtrack and voice artistry will be key.
  • Smart speakers – More and more of us have them; think about how your customers can interact with your product or service through their smart speaker.
  • Streaming services – Whether they’re a devotee of Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Deezer or another service, ask yourself how you can make yourself part of your customers’ commute, workout or working day.
  • Social media – Some social media channels, like YouTube and TikTok, are distinctly ‘sound-on’, so success on these channels will depend on getting the audio right.
  • Website – Most modern websites include some video. Whether yours is live-action, motion-graphic or old-school animation, audio is the all-important fourth dimension that can dictate how professional your business looks.
  • Out-of-Home – Some of today’s digital billboards incorporate speaker systems – how could sound add an extra dimension to your poster campaign?
  • Learning and development platforms – Use audio to amplify the success of your staff training. We don’t all learn by reading or in a classroom-style environment, so think about where audio could help your team learn.

Step 4 – Think about how you might communicate those messages

There are loads of different audio formats you could use:

  • Exclusive music – Licencing a popular song to use in your marketing can be prohibitively expensive, and runs the risk that your audience has a pre-existing attitude to that track or its performer; use an exclusive song and you skirt all of those issues, all while subtly communicating your brand’s personality and values.
  • Smart speaker skill – If your business creates a physical product, ask yourself about how it might interact with a smart speaker. If your product is a connected device, your skill could incorporate numerous commands that control it; if it’s not a connected device, how could your skill guide its use? Lego, for example, have created immersive soundscapes for children that inspire play without the distraction of a screen.
  • Playlists – Playlists can be a great way to demonstrate how you ‘get’ your customers’ world. If students are a key audience for you, maybe create some ‘revision’ playlists of instrumental songs free of distracting vocals; if your brand is aimed at parents of young children, perhaps create a ‘bedtime’ playlist of soothing lullabies. Think laterally!
  • Podcast – If you have lots of talk about, consider launching a podcast. For instance, sports nutrition brand MyProtein created its podcast, The Scoop, to debate issues in health and fitness; your podcast could be ongoing or a short series.
  • Voice announcements – Whether you’re announcing your brand messages over your phone system or public address system, the script (and the artist you choose to voice it) can subtly reinforce its personality and qualities. If your brand’s personality is youthful and upbeat (for example), the script’s vocabulary, and the tone of your chosen voice, should both reflect that.
  • Sonic logo – Just like with your visual logo, with time and repeated exposure, your sonic logo can become just as iconic and recognisable. It can become especially useful in circumstances when there’s no opportunity to show a visual logo, like on radio. Low-cost airline Southwest’s sonic logo combines hand claps and a fasten-seatbelt chime.
  • ASMR – ASMR is to audio as a macro lens is to photography: tiny details (like the sound of soda pop bubbles bursting, or rain hitting a window) amplified to massive size. It supposedly triggers a pleasurable response, a bit like the hairs on the back of your neck standing on end. It’s a huge trend on social media; how could your product or service tap into this?
  • Role play – Improve the quality and effectiveness of your staff training by demonstrating examples of how to conduct phone calls or handle complaints.

The opportunities are practically endless; audio can provoke all sorts of reactions, from psychological to physical.

Some brands have captured ambient sounds from around their business to craft soothing soundscapes that help people wind down before bedtime. And, after learning that low-frequency sound waves can alter the perception of bitter flavours (we’re not kidding), German beer brand Becks used this to get consumers in Brazil used to the flavour of its lager. We recently wrote about this and other great examples of audio in action.

 

Step 5 – Ask yourself who can support with this

Very few businesses’ have a marketing team with the time or skillset to craft their own music, pen voiceover scripts, source voice talent, edit sound clips and distribute the finished clips everywhere that they need to go.

If that sounds like you, get in touch and our experts will look at how we help you achieve your business growth goals in 2022 through the power of audio.

Contact

Related insights

Why Alexa isn’t coming for your job – yet

Expert comment

Why Alexa isn’t coming for your job – yet

Pre-pandemic predictions of the proliferation of digital assistants at work haven’t come to fruition — and there’s good reason why.

How brands got us hooked on our phones

Guides & explainers

How brands got us hooked on our phones

A look at how society has become accustomed to sonic logos and their effect on the minds of consumers.

The changing role of sound in electric cars – and how leading brands are responding

Expert comment

The changing role of sound in electric cars – and how leading brands are responding

Electric cars are here, and will be the default choice in years to come. What does the switch to silent-running mean, and how are big names responding?