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Your audience is listening, are you?

A Tonal  Shift

There’s a major shift going in the world of branding and advertising, and it’s all about sound. Over the past decades, audio has become widely adopted as a highly influential, versatile way for brands to connect with audiences. Research shows that sonic cues are one of the most effective assets for gaining branded attention –  a recent Ipsos-study found that brand linkage and recall increase by over 8x when distinctive brand sounds are incorporated in ads. Allow us to elaborate:

The Audio Generation

Sound is one of the primary tools in audiovisual marketing, mostly because it operates at a subconscious level. Meaning that audio has the power to resonate and remain with the audience for a longer period of time than visuals alone. Audio has always been a large part of our daily lives, but there’s a growing percentage of the population that are living an increasing part of their lives with headphones on. This allows brands to communicate more directly than ever, wherever consumers might be.

The power of sound in brand marketing and communications is well documented and backed by various points of research and data. Recent studies even show that a large percentage of (young) adults feel more positively towards brands with a sonic identity than those without. Over one-third of adults under the age of 35 are more inclined to buy (or engage otherwise) from a brand that has a distinct sonic identity in line with brand values.

In the near future, Gen Z will be one of the most interesting consumer markets for brands by far. This generation has grown up with a much more extensive and constant stream of information than those before. A great example of this is the rise of TikTok and the changing landscape of social media.


It’s no secret that TikTok is here to stay. It’s the fastest growing social media platform that will inevitably drive interest in music from brands that seek to make a connection with their audience. The sovereignty of TikTok was clearly visible a couple of weeks ago when Meta overhauled their Facebook and Instagram interfaces to prioritize ‘Reels’. Though short-lived, (the changes were reversed after just two days due to backlash) the move itself is very revealing. The most interesting lesson to learn from the situation is that Gen Z is interested in sound; TikTok has put sound and music at the core of current marketing – a welcome strategy for both brands and artists.

The Future Of (Sonic) Branding

So what does this mean for sonic branding? As more companies create sonic brands/identities, they will learn and understand the true power of sound. It is only a matter of time before many brands will extend their newfound sonic knowledge to the assets they use in marketing. In fact, there’s a good opportunity for brands that prioritize sounds now to own the sonic space, thus gaining advantage over competitors.

Brands will get smarter about how they use their sonic assets as well. Delivering a branded sonic cue at the most appropriate consumer touchpoints is a highly effective approach to rapidly build a brand-audience connection. Think of the Netflix ‘Ta Dum’ delivered at the precise moment that the consumer is in a relaxed but hyper-receptive state, or an exaggerated version of that effect when an audience hears and sees the iconic MGM – lion roar in the cinema before. A similar effect is achieved with Mastercard adding their sonic logo at the exact moment a purchase is confirmed. But also the notification sound on your phone or laptop when you get a message are prime examples of well thought out sonic branding.

To make sure we can offer the best possible service when it comes to sonic branding, Clear Music closely monitors relevant developments and research when it comes to branding, advertising, and the role that audio plays in that realm. The way in which audiences connect with brands and media is always changing, we aim to change right along with them.

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