Branding is one of the top concerns of CEOs and CMOs, and smart firms are investing as much as ever on branding initiatives — even online. For instance, back in August, eMarketer reported that in the digital area alone, U.S. advertisers will spend approximately “$17.46 billion on branding, or 41.6% of total digital spend. By 2017, [the online] branding spend is expected to grow to $29.33 billion, or a 48.5% share.”
But with most B2B and B2C organizations using virtually the same branding tools, they’re arguably seeing less advantage as a result of their efforts — if they’re realizing any advantage at all.
To gain advantage on this leveled playing field, there’s one powerful branding tool that has been generally overlooked — or perhaps undervalued — by most marketers: sound. With of our increasingly audio-enabled media environment, the strategic use of sound can play an important role in positively differentiating a product or service, enhancing recall, creating preference, building trust, and even increasing sales.
Called audio branding, sonic branding, sound branding, or acoustic branding, cognitive studies show that relevant sounds and musical cues can truly influence people in ways marketers want. According to research presented at the 2012 Audio Branding Congress, congruent sound cues canincrease the speed of a visual search for products (a key for success in both online and retail settings), as well as improve the perceived taste of food and wine (PDF).