“Sound design is the new packaging”

Audio marketing insights from VoiceCon 2018

Brand voice and audio marketing is all the range. Whilst it’s been around for decades through traditional advertising and customer interactions, new consumer technology like smart speakers and digital podcasts have brought it to the forefront of marketing trends. “You have a brand identity. Think about how to create it for an audio-first world,” said Claire Mitchell, director of VaynerSmart. “Sonic branding will play a role in differentiating you. Sound design is the new packaging.”

Mitchell’s comments came from VoiceCon in New York last week, which was hosted by VaynerMedia. The one-day discussion was dedicated to the union of voice and digital media, and the subsequent audio marketing and branding opportunities that arise. Speakers included representatives from Speakers included representatives from technology companies such as Google, Amazon, and Panoply.

Insight 1: Define your space

Mitchell stressed that not every application or touchpoint is appropriate for every brand. “You have to think about what space your brand has the credibility to occupy, what value you bring,” she explained. When it comes to audio and voice, brands should carefully consider which mediums allow them to provide their customers with the best service – whether that’s utility or entertainment.

“We understand where we fit in and where we don’t fit in,” said Devin Nagy, director of technology and emerging platforms at Diageo, of their new audio marketing campaigns, such as the Jonny Walker guided whisky tasting.

Insight 2: A case of identity

The concept of brand as personality is nothing new but, when it comes to voice, this analogy is particularly relevant. Naomi Makofsky, head of global partnerships for Google Assistant, stressed: “The concept of the brand being assessed as a person comes with the fact that there is a one-to-one conversation taking place.”

To bring a brand to life, marketers must carefully craft their sonic assets. Makofsky explained how even the difference between using “thanks” instead of saying “thank you” could disengage your audience.

Insight 3: Make it tolerable

Panelists also stressed the importance of using voices that can speak to diverse audiences over long periods of time. “The voice, whether it’s literal or the overall feel, is super important because you want to have something that people feel comfortable spending time with,” said Phillip Hunter of Pulse Labs.

“It’s a big consideration.  Think about the time element and how much people are going to spend with that voice and if that is something they can tolerate or something they can enjoy.”

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