Video by Red Hawk Films
On September 17, Ad Age partnered with Universal Music Group for a daylong conference that covered advertising’s “Revolution in Sound,” including audio branding, sonic logos and the latest music marketing strategies.
Here are some key takeaways from the music and marketing experts at the event:
1. Think big picture when considering an audio identity for your brand.
When Mastercard was looking for a sound to accompany the highly recognizable interlocking circles of its visual logo, Cheryl Guerin, executive VP of North America marketing and communications, said that the need for the company’s customers to hear and trust that their digital transaction went through was just as important as having an all-encompassing sonic logo—one that could be continually reimagined for different markets across the world.
Guerin was joined on a panel by Ad Age Editor Brian Braiker and Vinnie LoRusso, executive VP and executive creative director of Elias Arts, who discussed the audio agency’s two-year-long sonic branding project for Mastercard.
The main things brands will do wrong in this area? “Not stepping back far enough,” LoRusso said. Especially with some agency work, “they just want something quickly for whatever this next campaign is, without thinking, ‘Hey, if we took a breath here for a minute and looked at this, we could do something that doesn’t back us into a corner.’”
Taking the long view, the way Mastercard did, is key. “We operate in over 200 countries,” Guerin said, “and every country could version this [melody] so that it fits in beautifully with the culture of that setting.”
2. Sound is emotional, so don’t undervalue it.
“How can we use science to inform the creative process and actually help the designers, the composers and the voice talent understand a different way to inform their creative?” asked Steve Keller, sonic strategy director for Pandora’s Studio Resonate. Using data remains the go-to way to make these pricey business decisions, but Keller warned to not strategize too stringently. “How can we not, to paraphrase Matt Damon, ‘over-science the shit out of it,’ so that we remove the possibility for excitement and discovery?”
Rachel Lowenstein, a partner and associate director of invention at Mindshare, agreed. Her company uses rain science to see how sounds drive emotion, and while she said her clients are excited about the neuro lab and the insights Mindshare can glean from it (for example, how audio drives emotional connection better than visuals alone), she too counsels clients to remember to “take off your marketing hat and think like a human.”
3. Podcasts are here to stay.
Conal Byrne, president of iHeartMedia‘s podcast network, said that while podcasting has “blown up in volume and scale, the thing that has not changed is the engagement of the audiences.” Typically, when a medium explodes, engagement plummets, but with podcasts, Byrne says, those numbers remain consistent across the various analytics they track. “Eight or nine out of 10 listeners on a lot of our shows are subscribers, and we see completion rates of 80 …read more
Via:: Ad Age B to B