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Uncovering What Makes an Effective Sonic Brand

A new study analyzes how memorable an audio logo is and what emotional resonance it carries for a listener

Veritonic, radio advertising, brand identificationWe all know that there’s power in a melody. But how closely do listeners actually associate a melody with a brand?

A recent study conducted by one audio company set to find out. The 2021 Audio Logo Index survey gathered responses of 3,700 consumers in the U.S. and U.K. to evaluate more than 100 consumer brands’ audio logos. The survey found that consumers were more consistently able to identify a brand when the name of that brand was tied to an audio melody.

According to the audio intelligence company Veritonic, which conducted the survey, two strong features work best to define a strong sonic brand: one, the audio logo has to say the name of the brand and two, the logo must have a melody to it.

[Read: Survey Says U.S. Radio Listeners Engaged and Receptive to Ads]

The study specifically analyzed how memorable an audio logo was and what emotional resonance it held for a listener. The survey measured and scored all types of audio content including voices, music, ads and audio logos.

For example, the survey found that those with a combined audio feature that mentions the brand name and have a melody led to higher scores. Those with both a melody and a brand name mention scored an average 78 Veritonic Audio Score. Those without scored a 54 average.

The survey also asked respondents to name the company that came to mind when they heard an audio logo. Topping the list of brands that have the strongest degree of association: State Farm, followed by Arby’s, Ace Hardware and AutoZone. Insurance firms in particular seem to understand the power of putting a brand name into the sonic brand: three of the top 10 strongest audio logos with brand association are State Farm, Farmers and Liberty Mutual.

The study also found a weak brand association for those audio logos that do not say the brand name or have a melody. Less than 2% of respondents were able to correctly associate the audio logo belonging to mainstream brands like Southwest, T-Mobile or Amazon.

Another weak brand association: those audio logos that have a melody but don’t mention the name itself. Despite investment in its long-standing sonic brand, only 13% of respondents could correctly associate the specific audio “ding” belonging to the technology company Intel. The same issues arose with the audio logo for Mastercard; upon hearing the Mastercard logo, none of the respondents could associate it with the brand.

Mastercard isn’t the only major company with a sonic brand no one can associate with the company. Honda, Audi, Nissan and Sprint share that same fate, the survey found.

So how can companies grow association of their audio logo with their brands? In a blog post, Pierre Bouvard, chief Insights Officer at Cumulus Media/Westwood One, “they should take a page from State Farm’s resurgence of brand association and introduce the brand name into the audio logo.”

Other findings revealed by the study found that:

  • Audio logos that mention the brand scored a Veritonic Audio Score of 69 on average. Audio logos that did not mention the brand scored significantly lower with an average 55 Veritonic Audio Score.
  • Audio logos that included a melody saw a 77 average Veritonic Audio Score compared to those without a melody at an average of 60.

More information is available at the 2021 Audio Logo Index.

 

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