Best Audio Brands 2020
Insights

Insights

In 2019, we introduced the best audio brands ranking to gain a better understanding of how brands are using sound. The ranking is designed to identify strong and weak audio performers, determine missed strategic opportunities, and provide actionable solutions to boost a brand‘s audio value and return on investment.

Here are some of the key learnings on how to build successful and holistic sonic branding strategy.

Today, brand performance is universally recognized as intrinsically linked to business performance.

When we think of brands,we think of logos, products, advertising and digital services. But the power of brands is also consciously and subconsciously driven by the music and sounds we associate with them.

Brands have become audible and we expect to hear them even more in the near future. Smart speakers, apps and digital service interfaces increasingly determine our experience of brands as good, bad, memorable or forgettable. In this environment, brands need a coherent Sonic Brand Identity. Not only does it build an emotional connection with consumers, but is also able to significantly shape the customer experience, building brand loyalty, recall and trust over time and by repetition.

Moving towards a future where screens will not always be the most prevalent medium, brands will find that a coherent audio strategy, which compliments their visual,social and cultural equity, is essential to establishing or maintaining their competitive advantage.

WHAT DOES A GREAT BRAND SOUND LIKE AND HOW DO YOU ACHIEVE IT?

To fill this knowledge gap, we have analyzed the performance of the world’s top brands to create a benchmark for Sonic Branding globally. amp’s Best Audio Brands ranking provides insights into the world’s best audio branding examples and identifies the opportunities for improvement. Our analysis embraces the full spectrum of audible touchpoints brands can employ: From music used in audio-visual productions to sound in physical brand spaces and voice interactions through smart devices.

BRAND LOYALTY INCREASES WHEN BRANDS CONSISTENTLY APPEAL TO MORE THAN ONE SENSE.

Sonic Branding uses sound strategically to shape brand experiences and communication. Simply put, a Sonic Identity is the acoustic equivalent of a visual identity. As such, a Sonic DNA takes into account the brand values, tone of voice (personality) and overall purpose to form a connected sonic brand identity.

Sound has the unique ability to break through the clutter and evoke emotions beyond the means of visual communication. To date, most brands have approached the creation of Sonic Assets on a short-term or tactical basis without exploring the opportunities and necessity for a strategic approach. Investment in Sonic Branding should be focused on the long-term objective of growing and building assets that can be used flexibly across all touchpoints along the customer journey.

CREATING A BRAND SONIC DNA

At amp, we are convinced that an integrated and flexible approach to Sonic Branding is key to tangible success and a strong return on investment.

We have developed a tried and tested approach to creating a truly multifaceted Sonic DNA. This strategy employs Sonic Watermarking to generate brand recall, while simultaneously providing the creative freedom to write and produce authentic branded audio assets. By continuously deriving Sonic Assets from a unique Sonic DNA, the brand’s core Sonic Identity is reflected across all audible touchpoints, from soundtracks to application sounds. Derivative elements are also created on-demand, in line with the brand’s objectives and needs for specific customer experiences. Imagine a piece of music that is used in many different ways, not just edited in length, but broken down into its components and recomposed to suit all scenarios of the brand experience. This approach creates both unity and diversity. A powerful, consistent, holistic sonic experience flexes and flows wherever people hear and encounter it.

LONGEVITY AND FLEXIBILITY

Last year, we already introduced the James Bond Sonic Identity: It has been more than 60 years since we heard the first James Bond soundtrack, but it still feels just as fresh and identifiable with each new interpretation. This is because the James Bond brand has invested heavily in its own Sonic Assets, creating a core Sonic DNA and adapting it to the zeitgeist with each film. Brand recall, memorability, and flexibility are powerful properties of this well-rounded Sound Identity.

By taking this approach, the James Bond brand has been able to ensure that every dollar invested in audio, is a dollar invested in building brand equity. As a result, it has been able to successfully communicate the brand for decades and scale the sonic brand across geographies, genres and time.

Often overlooked, sound also plays an important role in product design, considering its significant impact on the immersive customer experience it can help create.

This is particularly important when today’s sophisticated interfaces allow for more fluid and meaningful interaction between brand and consumer. We live in a world where technology is increasingly integrated into our daily lives, and voice interfaces are changing the way in which we interact with brands. In this environment, brands will need to identify and treat their audio blind spots, particularly when they cannot compensate with their visual identity. For tomorrow’s consumer, audio is no longer a “nice to have” but an essential brand asset. Sonic DNA-based Sonic Branding can help brands create a cohesive audio environment in which voice and music are powerful tools to drive the customer experience and engagement.

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