16 May 2024

Sound Strategy: Enhancing Brand Presence Through Multilingual Audio

Guides & explainers
Multilingual Audio Branding is an intricate dance mastered by global giants like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s. Explore how culturally nuanced sound design and localized voiceovers can amplify your global presence while maintaining authenticity at a local level.

It starts with a sharp “hiss” at the release of pent-up carbonation…followed by a resonant “pop” when the tab flips open… and finally, that vibrant, effervescent fizz as liquid cascades from the can, hitting the ice with a crystalline clink before gurgling into a satisfying crescendo of bubbles…

The experience of cracking open a cold can of Coca-Cola on a hot summer day is universal – accompanied by a distinctive sequence of auditory cues that transcend language and cultural barriers with the anticipation of taking that first refreshing sip.

In 2016, Coca-Cola bottled this unique market position into their ‘One Brand’ marketing strategy – extending global equity and iconic appeal with the ‘Taste the Feeling’ campaign. Localised into various languages, ‘Taste the Feeling’ successfully used universal storytelling and everyday moments to connect with consumers around the world – celebrating the simple pleasure of drinking a Coca‑Cola with local nuance.

It’s a powerful example of how adeptly implemented multilingual strategies enhance international market presence and help brands reach consumers on a deeper level by adapting audio collateral like jingles, voiceovers and sound logos to various languages and contexts.

Driving business growth while retaining local loyalty can be a tricky balancing act – but by mastering multilingual audio branding, your brand can enhance overall market penetration without compromising engagement.

We’re in a digital renaissance of short-form content, as proved by the rising dominance of platforms like TikTok. However, the immediacy of the medium means more pressure to get it right straight away and succinctly, otherwise your audience will just keep scrolling.

Translating and transcreating your current communications is a great starting point – but audio localisation is what hits home with consumers. Consideration of dialect, pronunciation, tone, colloquialism and jargon must be taken to effectively leverage audio marketing across multiple countries because the slightest slip could result in lost meaning or a complete misinterpretation. For example, Pepsi’s slogan, “Come Alive with the Pepsi Generation”, was famously misinterpreted in China as “Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back to Life”.

As you can see, the intended cultural footprint must fit with the accepted cultural background. By implementing the highest quality localisation to account for quirks in phrasing and make your messaging more impactful, you can avoid going viral for the wrong reasons and focus instead on the many opportunities to capitalise on Multilingual Audio Branding.

How to enhance global engagement through multilingual audio branding

Localised Voiceovers

Companies are quickly tapping into the fact that localised voiceovers are more engaging to diverse audiences and that this naturally leads to higher interaction and prolonged interest. And it’s not just about accent or word choices – while a lively, upbeat voice might work best in one country, a calmer, more soothing voice could resonate more depending on cultural preferences.

It’s all about forging a stronger emotional connection with the audience, like how fast-food giant, McDonald’s, uses different voiceovers and adapts the “I’m Lovin’ It” jingle to match local conversation styles. This keeps their brand’s audio identity appealing and familiar on a more personal level – and once a solid audio branding framework is in place, it can be easily scaled and adapted to new markets.

Culturally Nuanced Sound Design

Consistent yet localised elements make your brand more recognisable in a way that goes beyond simple translation. A talented composer can weave cultural nuances into your audio strategy and evoke specific emotions with certain melodies or instruments that speak to a particular demographic. And as we’ve explored, this is where brands like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s excel, by adjusting their soundscapes to echo local sentiments and enhancing engagement.

Multilingual Sonic Logos

Did you know Netflix tailors its iconic ‘ta-dum’ sound logo for different regions? By altering its tonality to better suit local preferences, they’ve maintained a cohesive brand identity that’s still flexible enough for cross-culture appeal. Meanwhile, Intel’s famous four-note bong is used globally and often introduced by voiceovers in local languages during advertisements. These subtle tweaks reinforce brand recognition on multiple levels and offer a uniquely memorable experience.

Leveraging Advancements in Tech

Multilingual audio branding allows the flexibility to adapt marketing strategies in response to changing dynamics – and tech advancements can even be used to adjust audio elements in real time. Colossyan’s Text-to-Video Localisation campaign used AI creatively to transform text into video content featuring multilingual avatars, breaking down language barriers with content that resonated deeply with varying global audiences.

Of course, it’s no match for the proven optimisation in engagement you’ll get from using a real human voice, but it does show how valuable insights into customer preferences and behaviour can be implemented to achieve grassroots penetration.

Advertising that transcends language is an art some of the world’s most iconic names have mastered, and as businesses continue to embrace Multilingual Audio Branding, the connection between robust engagement and cultural relevance grows stronger.

To explore how PHMG delivers inclusive, globally resonant messages that enhance brand perception and extend your presence and appeal across international markets, visit the link below.

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