Sonic Marketing and Engaging With Your Target Audience Through Sound

Marketing is growing into a vast element of science. Challenges loom over marketers as more businesses battle for attention. We have all heard of data-driven marketing and some of us have put it into practice. We also assessed the impact of static over dynamic imagery. Yet, few of us considered the impact that sonic marketing has on our strategy.

Sound – in the marketing realm, sometimes referred to as sonic branding is such a powerful tool. It is a brand’s signature tune. It has become one of the most effective forms of advertising for businesses of all sizes. Sound affects our brain waves and evokes human emotions.

Certain frequencies create an emotional response that is almost impossible not to feel. People naturally prefer the sound of their favorite tunes over others. It is by playing the right harmonies, you are able to get your point across more effectively.

sonic marketing, sonic brandingThe Evolution of Sound in Marketing

For thousands of years, people have been using sounds for various reasons. Human tribes would call for support using animal horns. Men would use vocal roars to scare away predators. Women would hum soft tunes, soothing their weeping youngsters.

In ancient China, for example, existed a sound system called the Five Elements System. It consists of only five notes called Gong, Shang, Jiao, Zhi, and Yu. Like Do, Re, Mi, So, La, the Chinese believed each sound affects the five elements of nature (metal, wood, water, fire, earth).

During the Renaissance Era, polyphonic sounds were introduced to promote the rise of new ideas, instruments, rhythms, and music. Centuries later, the cereal brand ‘Wheaties’ created a short memorable tune. It was later played on the radio during Christmas 1926.

Since then, marketers began studying the true connection between sound and advertising.

What Is Sonic Marketing?

It’s no secret that sound is important when it comes to marketing. From the way your car engine roars to the music you listen to, sound enables the sale of products.

Sonic branding uses sound to create brand awareness. As you drive by a billboard, you’re subconsciously aware of the message behind the ad. The same thing happens when you hear a song on the radio or a jingle on a visual social post.

Sonic marketing has evolved to include components like music, podcasts, audiobooks, and melodies. When you turn on an Apple macOS, you’re immediately welcomed by the iconic startup chime. Similarly, within a few seconds of a new podcast, you associate the intro to On Purpose with Jay Shetty.

Sonic Marketing at Nordstrom

Sonic marketing establishes an immersive relationship between customers and your product. However, much of it exists without thought. Playing even genres of music while customers shop can be a form of sonic marketing. In 2021, Nordstrom commissioned a signature song that remixed “Never Be Another You”. The song was first published by Lee Fields and The Expressions. Covered by Seattle’s emerging artist Shaina Shepherd, the company sought to inspire togetherness. This initiative grew a connection between the brand and their shoppers.

When using sound to build awareness, marketers must consider choosing the right tones. Your sounds must align with your target audience. For instance, if your customers are casual, you want to think about casual tunes. Likewise, if they are formal, or analytical.

Another thing marketers must consider is sound consistency. Your sounds must be consistent throughout all your audio-related marketing messages. This includes using the same or similar sounds at your place of business. It must also remain constant on your TV ads and across your audio-visual content pieces.

After all, studies have shown that people enjoy shopping at stores where good tunes live.

Aligning Your Customers with Sonic Marketing

Today, sonic marketing combines unique sounds with artificial intelligence. Sounds are then circulated across mediums like video, animation, and smart home devices. Improvements to consumer shopping experiences have also been linked to smart sound communications.

We’ve witnessed marketing transform over the years. Keeping up with change is what makes our industry incredibly worthwhile. As you design your audio strategy, be sure to focus on pinpointing your customers. Only then should you budget for the right kinds of sounds that align with your shoppers. It should represent uniqueness and consistency with your brand.

In the end, your customers will remember who you are – all thanks to your signature tune.

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