Radio Bite: Audio Branding

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Radio is a powerful and often underused platform for advertisers. During these unprecedented times our Radio Bites series will give compelling reasons for brands to continue to be heard on the airwaves and why consumers will be listening.

Imagine an ad on a billboard, there is a picture of a burger and some chips, but otherwise it’s pretty non-descript. Now imagine another billboard, but this time the chips are encased in a bright red box with some golden arches printed on the front. Immediately you start to link what you’re seeing to a famous fast food brand. Without those visual prompts the ad could be for any brand.

Now imagine a radio ad, you hear the sound of lettuce being chopped and a burger sizzling on a grill. Once again, imagine an alternative ad – this time it contains the phrase “I’m loving it” and an instantly recognisable sonic jingle.

The use of colour, the logo, the catchphrase, the sonic jingle – these are all examples of brand assets, defined by Byron Sharp and Jenni Romaniuk of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute as ‘the non-brand name elements that trigger the brand into the memory of category buyers’.  In the same way a consumer would struggle to immediately link the billboard ad to McDonalds without the logo and colour, the same is true of the radio ad without the jingle or catchphrase.

But people often overlook the need for developing audio branding. However, a recent study from IPSOS The Power of You highlighted that while audio brand assets are 3x as effective as visual brand assets, only 8% of ads use them (vs. 92% for visual brand assets). Audio branding is really effective.

According to research from Radiocentre, consistent ads are effective ads. Using our own research as inspiration, we recently worked with audio experts Bounce to create the Radiocentre audio identity, (you may have already heard our sonic at the end of our recent ad campaign). We’re leveraging our audio brand assets consistently across our ads, podcasts, and events to improve the overall effectiveness of our marketing communications in terms of recognition, recall, and perceptions.

Not only are ads that use consistency in some way more effective, they are more engaging and even boost ROI. With 36 million people tuning into commercial radio each week – and wider commercial audio audiences growing – now is the perfect time to start thinking about the way your brand sounds. Find more inspiration here.

Would you like to learn more? 

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