How Do Sights and Sounds Interact in Advertising?
Larry Minsky, VP of Strategy for I Imagine, and Colleen Fahey, US Managing Director for Sixieme Son, teamed up to write about the link between sound and visual imagery on the Data-Driven Marketing Network. Within the article, they suggest that brands should be making a more concerted effort to utilize sound in their branding techniques.
Minsky and Fahey cited a study that was published by Medical News Today in May, which detailed how a team at Edinburgh University found that the same part of the brain that processes information received from the eyes processes sound as well.
What does this all mean in the world of advertising? Sound draws the attention of consumers and makes your brand more quickly recognizable—even before a consumer has seen your logo.
If you’re thinking, ‘this isn’t a new concept,’ you’re right. While sound logos have been used to reinforce brand identity for years—Intel’s musical jingle, 20th Century FOX’s fanfare, and NBC’s iconic chimes—consumers’ attention spans have been falling gradually over time (from 12 seconds at the turn of the millennium to eight seconds in 2013, according to the National Center of Biotechnology Information).
The lack of attention has made it increasingly important for brands to get their message across quicker. The use of sounds helps counteract consumers’ messaging ADD, because once you hear a sound logo, your mind instantly recognizes the associated brand.
“A good sound for a brand is one that makes the character of that brand very clear,” Minsky says. “It might be happy, lighthearted, and surprising for one brand and steady, trustworthy, and deep for another. In other words, a good sound should convey the essence for the brand.”
For example, McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it” sound logo is immediately recognizable by consumers. The reason why the logo works, apart from Justin Timberlake’s catchy vocals, is that the target audience includes all nationalities and races. It also doesn’t target a specific product, but the company as a whole. It’s all-inclusive in every possible way.
There are many different types of sounds a brand can have. It can be an unexpected rhythm, an instrument, or a sound effect. However, the specific sounds should be informed by the brand essence and clarify the brand.
“Children’s laughter, birdsong, and electronically generated beeps—if appropriate to the essence—can all help the brand be recognized for what it is,” Minsky says. “There should be a surprising, startling, or even a grating element in a brand’s audio identity to make it stand apart from the background and stick in your mind.”
In their piece, Minsky and Fahey argue that if your brand successfully communicates a consistent audio universe, you’ll see a compelling effect across all marketing touchpoints, too.
- At tradeshows: Your booth will be the first to be sighted.
- At events: Your sampling will be quickly noticed.
- On television: Your logo will be recognized before the text jumps onto the screen.
- Online: Your banner will convey your brand in a nanosecond before someone clicks away.
Ultimately, adding an audio logo to a brand can inject additional meaning to a visual logo. That’ll go a long way in increasing brand awareness.